Earth Week, 1971
By the President of the United States of America
Few concerns facing America and the world today are more compelling than the quality of our physical environment. All that we do, all that we hope to achieve for ourselves, all that we hope to create for our children will go for nothing if the world itself is made unfit to live in. The question of what we do with our environment is a matter of cosmic consequence; there is a limit to how long the matter rests merely with man, and if that limit is exceeded, the success of man as an earth creature may itself be limited by forces he no longer controls.
The earth and its atmosphere are a closed system. They are finite. The good water cannot purify itself indefinitely. The good air cannot cleanse itself endlessly. And the good earth cannot sustain and repair the injustices of man forever. Man must help to put his own earthly house in order.
We have made a beginning in this. But we have only begun. Now there must be a conscious, sustained effort by every American and, we might hope, by every citizen of the world if our posterity are not to look back in sorrow and wonder why, when God had created the earth and seen that it was good, man did not agree and leave it that way.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Richard Nixon, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate the period of April 18 through April 24, 1971, as Earth Week.
I call upon the Governors of the several States to encourage observance of this period and its purposes through appropriate ceremonies and to give special consideration to means of educating our citizens to the preservation of our environment.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this second day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred ninety-fifth.