International Earth Day/Keep America Beautiful Month

By Sharon Schweitzer


John McConnell, of Davis City, Iowa founded International Earth Day. It was initiated to make the inhabitants of our planet aware of their responsibility to care for the planet. This care includes environmental and natural resources. Everyone needs to take an active role, big or small, in preserving the earth and its resources. In September 1969, he proposed the establishment of Earth Day to the San Francisco, California Board of Supervisors. After approval, he gained support from many others, including then UN General Secretary, U Thant.

In 1970, McConnell wrote an Earth Day Proclamation which was ultimately signed by UN Secretary-General U Thant on March 21, 1971. This day is also called Sun-Earth Day. Rallies took place across the country and, by the end of the year, the U.S. government had created the Environmental Protection Agency. By 1990, Earth Day was an event celebrated by more than 140 countries around the globe.

The theme of Earth Day this year is ‘Planet vs. Plastics’ – campaigners are calling for a 60% reduction in the production of plastics by 2040. From April 23rd-29th 2024, governments and NGOs from around the world will gather in Ottawa to continue negotiating the terms of the United Nations Global Plastic Treaty.

Additionally, also in 1971, the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America in conjunction with Keep America Beautiful, Inc. founded Keep America Beautiful Day. A week of activities followed in 1982, where cities celebrated with beautification events, school contests, and educational committees. By 1984, city officials across the country proclaimed Keep America Beautiful Month and planned expanded events and programs to improve their communities.

The Keep America Beautiful Foundation is a US-based non-profit organization with three basic missions: reducing waste, preventing litter and beautifying communities. It’s about uniting communities in common goals.  Together, we can live in more beautiful and clean neighborhoods.

Whether you remove litter on the shore, plant your favorite native flower in your backyard, or cycle to work, we can all keep America beautiful during April and every month afterward.


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Sharon Schweitzer JD, is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Sharon served as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business,  Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.

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