John McConnell (peace activist)
||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. Please improve this article if you can. (May 2007)|
||This article contains weasel words, vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information. Such statements should be clarified or removed. (March 2009)|
John McConnell (born March 22, 1915), the founder and creator of Earth Day, has demonstrated a major passion for peace, religion, and science throughout his life. He has made efforts to relieve human suffering and promote the common good. His interests include attempting to answer many of the critical problems that face humanity today.
 Early Years
John McConnell was born on March 22, 1915 in Davis City, Iowa. His first interest in the Earth began in 1939 while working in a plastic factory. Realizing how much the manufacture of plastic polluted the Earth, his concern for ecology grew, notably during this time when concern for the environment was rare. Since, he has been a lifetime believer in peace and love. Leading into World War II, he believed that love and prayer could be more powerful than bombs. "On October 31, 1957, right after the first Sputnik, John McConnell wrote an editorial entitled, "Make Our Satellite A Symbol Of Hope", calling for peaceful cooperation in the exploration of Space with a visible "Star of Hope" Satellite." Because of this event he was recognized all around the United States. This even led him to create a Star of Hope organization to foster International Cooperation in Space.
 Major actions and campaigns
In 1959 to pursue his dream of peace, John McConnell moved to California where he and his co-publisher, Erling Toness, founded the "Mountain View." Along with the "Mountain View", he organized a very successful campaign in San Francisco titled "Meals for Millions." This campaign in 1962 was held to feed thousands of Hong Kong refugees. In 1963, after the "Meals for Millions" campaign, McConnell worked on another campaign called "Minute for Peace". He worked on "Minute for Peace" for seven years after "Meals for Millions". He began his "Minute for Peace" campaign with a broadcast on December 22, 1963, ending the mourning period for President John F. Kennedy. On June 26, 1963 McConnell spoke at the National Education Association Convention in Madison Square Garden where the public came together for a "Minute for Peace".
 Birth of Earth Day
John McConnell's concern for the environment grew in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He became moved when he saw the first picture of the Earth printed in Life magazine. Later that picture became the symbol on the Earth Day flag in which he designed and created. The Earth Day Flag was featured in "Whole Earth Catalogue" and was used, here and there around the world, to show support of efforts to help people and planet. The Earth Day Flag is a symbol of Earth Day and is still part of the Earth Day Ceremony each year at the United Nations.
 John McConnell and Earth Day
In 1969 at the National UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, John McConnell felt it necessary to propose a holiday in which we celebrate the Earth's life and beauty. Along with a the celebration of the Earth, he also intended Earth Day to alert earthlings about the need for preserving and renewing the threatened ecological balances upon which all life on Earth depends. The proposal won strong support and was followed by an Earth Day Proclamation by the City of San Francisco. Later McConnell created the Earth Day Proclamation for worldwide use and awareness. The Earth Day Proclamation stated how humanity living on Earth are responsible for caring and keeping the Earth clean. It was signed by U. N. Secretary General U Thant, Margaret Mead, John Gardner and other concerned world leaders.