Earth Day

Each year more than one billion people participate in Earth Day activities, making it the largest civic observance in the world.


Earth Day EARTH DAY – April 25 + 26
Click here to learn more about our 2014 celebration.

A regional conference hosted by the Earth and Spirit Council in conjunction with Portland State University’s Earth Week Celebration.

The Earth and Spirit Council has a long history of Earth Day education and ceremony, dating back to 1993, when we hosted a major regional environmental/spiritual conference.

Each of our Earth Day events focuses on reconnecting humans to their spiritual roots in Mother Earth.

In 2012, our Earth Day conference revolved around a central question,
"What gives us the hope and heart to continue to work on what is best for the Earth in the face of difficult changes?"
Elders from many traditions came together with Portland-area youth for two days to explore and share their answers.

Earth and Spirit Council's Earth Day activities move participants towards a deeper relationship with the planet, emphasizing the land ethic of Aldo Leopold and community connections, as well as green action.
11 Facts About Earth Day
  • The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970.

  • Earth Day originated in the US but became recognized worldwide by 1990.

  • On Earth Day 2009, Disney released a documentary film called Earth that followed the migration paths of four animal families.

  • On the very first Earth Day, 20 million people gathered in the streets of America to protest the industrial revolution. An environmental movement was born as a result.

  • Every year on April 22, men, women, and children collect garbage, plant trees, clean up coral reefs, show movies, sign petitions, and plan for a better future for our planet.

  • Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day while he was working as a US senator.

  • Earth Day was renamed officially by the UN in 2009 as International Mother Earth Day.

  • Some schools and communities celebrate Earth Day for a whole week to expand the time frame that people focus on the earth and how they can preserve it.

  • On Earth Day 2012, more than 100,000 people rode bikes in China to reduce CO2 emissions and save fuel.

  • In an Earth Day celebration in 2011, 28 million trees were planted in Afghanistan by the Earth Day Network.

  • In Panama, 100 endangered species of orchids were planted and maintained to prevent their extinction in honor of Earth Day.

Ilarion "Larry" Merculieff
For the past four decades, Ilarion "Larry" Merculieff has served as a bridge between his native people, the Aleuts of the Pribilof Islands, other Alaska Native peoples and the wider world.

Close to Mr. Merculieff’s heart are issues related to cultural and community wellness, traditional ways of living, elders and the environment. He has written about elder wisdom in publications such as the Winds of Change, YES, Red Ink, Alaska Geographic regional series, Smithsonian, National Geographic and Kindred Spirits. Mr. Merculieff was selected by Aleut leaders to be a part of a one-hour Discovery Channel documentary about the history and spiritual aspects of Aleuts, a show that was seen by an estimated sixty million people world-wide. Mr. Merculieff directs Seven Generations Consulting out of Anchorage, Alaska.
Dr. Cornel Pewewardy
Professor Pewewardy (D.Ed. 1989, Pennsylvania State University) is Comanche-Kiowa and an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma. Dr. Pewewardy served as a post-doctoral fellow in the Center for Multi-Ethnic Education at the University of Oklahoma. Prior to joining Portland State University, he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching and Leadership and Center for Indigenous Nations Studies at the University of Kansas as well as adjunct faculty in American Indian Studies at Haskell Indian Nations University. From 2005-2007, Dr. Pewewardy was the Dean of Academic Instruction at the Comanche Nation College in Lawton, Oklahoma.
Past Celebrations