Como surgiu o Dia da Terra? – Earth Day 2012

Olá, gente! Dia 22, domingo, é comemorado no mundo todo o Dia Mundial da Terra, Earth Day, em inglês. Nesse artigo, vamos conhecer um pouco da história dessa data e sua importância para os americanos.

globo terrestre
Você sabe a origem do Dia da Terra?

O criador do Dia da Terra (Earth Day) – Gaylord Nelson

Como não sou historiador, não teria base sólida para falar da história do surgimento do Dia da Terra (Earth Day). Para explicar sobre a criação do Dia da Terra, pensei: por que não ir direto na fonte? O melhor a ser feito é perguntar diretamente ao criador o motivo da criação e também detalhes do surgimento do Earth Day.

Para quem ainda não o conhecia, o criador do Dia da Terra foi o Senador Gaylord Nelson. Para mais informações sobre o idealizador da data, veja algumas informações nesse artigo (em inglês).

O Surgimento do Dia da Terra

Nelson concedeu uma entrevista a revista “American Heritage Magazine” em outubro de 1993 sobre o surgimento do Dia da Terra. Embora a entrevista tenha sido há 19 anos atrás, nela Nelson explica com detalhes o surgimento da data e também fala das dificuldades que teve em convencer o governo americano da importância do meio ambiente nas relações políticas.

Abaixo você lerá na íntegra a transcrição da entrevista em inglês dada para a revista. Se você está começando agora a aprender inglês e não consegue entender muito do texto abaixo, não se preocupe, você pode ler a a versão da Wikipédia em português sobre o Dia da Terra.

Deseja saber mais detalhes sobre o surgimento do Dia da Terra? Continue lendo a entrevista abaixo. =)

American Heritage Magazine – What was the purpose of Earth Day? How did it start?

Senator Gaylord Nelson – Actually, the idea for Earth Day evolved over a period of seven years starting in 1962. For several years, it had been troubling me that the state of our environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the country. Finally, in November 1962, an idea occurred to me that was, I thought, a virtual cinch to put the environment into the political “limelight” once and for all.

The idea was to persuade President Kennedy to give visibility to this issue by going on a national conservation tour. I flew to Washington to discuss the proposal with Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who liked the idea. So did the President. The President began his five-day, eleven-state conservation tour in September 1963. For many reasons the tour did not succeed in putting the issue onto the national political agenda. However, it was the germ of the idea that ultimately flowered into Earth Day.

AHM – After that, what did you do?

S. GN – After that I continued to speak on environmental issues to a variety of audiences in some twenty-five states. All across the country, evidence of environmental degradation was appearing everywhere, and everyone noticed except the political establishment. The environmental issue simply was not to be found on the nation’s political agenda. The people were concerned, but the politicians were not.

AHM – Had you still have hope?

S. GN – Yeah, I had. After President Kennedy’s tour, I still hoped for some idea that would thrust the environment into the political mainstream. Six years would pass before the idea that became Earth Day occurred to me while on a conservation speaking tour out West in the summer of 1969. At the time, anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, called “teach-ins,” had spread to college campuses all across the nation. Suddenly, the idea occurred to me – why not organize a huge grassroots protest over what was happening to our environment?

I was satisfied that if we could tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy into the environmental cause, we could generate a demonstration that would force this issue onto the political agenda. It was a big gamble, but worth a try.

AHM -And how did you make it possible?

S. GN – At a conference in Seattle in September 1969, I announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to participate. The wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters, and telephone inquiries poured in from all across the country. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes, and air – and they did so with spectacular exuberance. For the next four months, two members of my Senate staff, Linda Billings and John Heritage, managed Earth Day affairs out of my Senate office.

AHM – And what happened after this great start?

S. GN – Five months before Earth Day, on Sunday, November 30, 1969, The New York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on the astonishing proliferation of environmental events:

“Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation’s campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam…a national day of observance of environmental problems…is being planned for next spring…when a nationwide environmental ‘teach-in’…coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned….”

It was obvious that we were headed for a spectacular success on Earth Day. It was also obvious that grassroots activities had ballooned beyond the capacity of my U.S. Senate office staff to keep up with the telephone calls, paper work, inquiries, etc. In mid-January, three months before Earth Day, John Gardner, Founder of Common Cause, provided temporary space for a Washington, D.C. headquarters. I staffed the office with college students and selected Denis Hayes as coordinator of activities.

AHM – Is there anything peculiar that made “Earth Day” possible?

S. GN – Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.

Informações importantes:

A transcrição da entrevista acima foi adaptada para o Inglês na Rede. Para mais informações sobre o surgimento do Dia da Terra, recomendo os artigos abaixo (todos em inglês):

Por hoje é só. Espero que tenha conhecido um pouco mais sobre o Dia da Terra e praticado um pouco seu inglês no processo. Cya folks, and happy Earth Day! =)

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