Earth Week, April 21-27, 2018

ISNA Green Initiative” invites Muslim communities and individuals to join in observance of Earth Day and a weeklong organized observances and activities across the globe known as Earth Week (April 21-27, 2018).

It is interesting to know the history of Earth Day. In 1960’s USA had unchecked emission of pollutants, acid precipitation from the coal-fired power plants, unsafe water, lung disease from asbestos and coal mining and unregulated polluting industries. In 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill occurred which spilled estimated 3 million gallons of crude oil into the ocean – the largest of spills at that time in American history. This incident changed the way how public and government viewed fossil fuels. Feeling the horror, dismay and outcry of the public then Senator Nelson proposed the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment.” He persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican congressman, to serve as his co-chair. April 22, falling between Spring Break and final exams, was selected as the date. So, on April 22,1970 twenty million Americans took to the streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive rallies. Now the Earth Day and Week are observed in more than 190 countiries.

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency by conservative President Richard Nixon and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.

Both Quran and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) emphasize protecting, valuing and preserving the environment as a central component of the faith. They remind us of the merciful God’s design for the creation and the responsibility given to us humans to keep our abode in good order. According to a Quranic verse, “Do not spread corruption (or disruption) on earth after it has been so well ordered. And call onto him with fear and longing. God’s grace is ever near unto the doers of good (translation 7:56).” Another verse is a reminder, “But waste not by excess: for God loves not the wasters — translation end of 6:141.” A saying of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): “If the hour (the day of resurrection) is about to be established and one of you was holding a palm shoot, let him take the advantage of even one second to plant it” is such a powerful reminder.

ISNA Green Initiative” requests you to observe “Earth Week” by committing to environmental friendly practices in your individual and community life. Remember: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Re-think.