April is an exciting month for space-related history. Find out about the origins of Earth Day and how Earth Day is related to space travel. Plus, learn about a historic space event that happened in April, and the best way to celebrate Earth Day 2023 in Vancouver!
Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22 to commemorate the start of an important phase of the environmental movement in the United States in 1970. Earth Day 2023 is on Saturday, April 22 and the theme is Invest in Our Planet.
The origins of Earth Day are rooted in the desire to protect the environment. Several events leading up to 1970 contributed to a growing public awareness about environmental pollution and its impact on biodiversity and public health. Air and water pollution were increasing due to rapid industrialization and lax regulations in previous decades.
The release of Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, in 1962 helped increase global awareness about the negative impacts of pollution and the importance of protecting the environment. After a massive oil spill killed thousands of marine animals and birds in California in 1969, concerned government representatives collaborated with activists to organize teach-ins about environmental issues at university campuses on April 22, 1970.
Recognizing its potential to shine a spotlight on the need for environmental protection, they named this occasion Earth Day, and it succeeded in inspiring the masses! Rallies and demonstrations that focused on the deterioration of the environment cropped up all over the country.
Since the initial Earth Day in 1970, it has evolved into a global event that keeps environmental issues at the forefront of national agendas and offers each of us a chance to reflect on what we can do to protect our planet.
As concern for the environment grew in the 60s, space exploration was also providing a new perspective on our precious planet. The iconic image of the Earth taken by the Apollo 8 crew in 1968, known as Earthrise, highlighted both the beauty and fragility of our planet as people saw it for the first time from space.
This photo and other images taken later, including the famous The Blue Marble taken by the Apollo 17 crew in 1972, have helped increase the momentum of the environmental movement, including Earth Day activism and celebrations. Speaking of space travel, there’s another historic event celebrated in April…
Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet citizen, was the first human to undertake space flight on April 12, 1961. To commemorate this huge advance for humankind, April 12 is now recognized as the International Day of Human Space Flight, also known as Yuri’s Day. Humans visiting space has helped us realize that our planet is just one among many in a vast solar system and that we need to work together to protect it.
Space exploration inspires wonder and encourages international cooperation for the advancement of science. What better way to celebrate Earth Day 2023 than to visit the H.R. Macmillan Space Centre to learn more about our planet and space exploration? Check out our upcoming events and plan your visit or online experience today!