Sunday, April 19, 2009

Earth Day

Earth Day is on April 22 every year.

Earth Day was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson. The idea for Earth Day evolved over a period of seven years starting in 1962. For several years, Senator Nelson had been troubled that the state of the environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the country. Finally, in November 1962, an idea occurred to him that was, he thought, a virtual cinch to put the environment into the political "limelight" once and for all. Since then, he had continued to persuade politicians and to speak on environmental issues to a variety of audiences all across the country. The evidence of environmental degradation was appearing everywhere, and everyone noticed except the political establishment. The environmental issue simply was not to be found on the nation's political agenda. The people were concerned, but the politicians were not.

In summer 1969, at the time, anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, called "teach-ins," had spread to college campuses all across the nation. While Senator Nelson was on a conservation speaking tour out West when suddenly the Earth Day idea occurred to him - why not organize a huge grassroots protest over what was happening to the environment?

At a conference in Seattle in September 1969, he announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to participate. The wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters, and telephone inquiries poured in from all across the country. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes, and air - and they did so with spectacular exuberance.

On April 22, 1970, Earth Day was held, one of the most remarkable happenings in the history of democracy. There were 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities participated. It worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level.

Senator Nelson was passed away on July 3, 2005. He will be always remembered as the founder of Earth Day.

In ikebana world, traditionally, an arrangement was limited to use natural materials only. It was Sofu Teshigahara (1900 - 1979), Iemoto (headmaster) and founder of the Sogetsu school (草月流), who broke the tradition and tried new modern ways. He stated that ikebana can be exercised by everyone, to each time at each place, with any material and container. That idea had been adopted or partially adopted by many other Ikebana schools and also helped with free style arranging.

For the 50th Ikebana International World Convention at Tokyo October, 2006, I prepared an arrangement using a piece of packing paper which I picked up at HP office’s hall way. When I picked up this piece of packing paper, I was inspired by the shades, especially when under the light. The idea behind this arrangement was that to make a non-traditional arrangement using non-traditional material in a non-traditional way. The flower was hided inside the tall vase instead of outside and showing. I wanted people to look for the flower inside the tall vase when they saw the arrangement. I thought that should work out very well in Tokyo, since I did not know what floral materials available there, I thought that I should be able to buy a single rose or orchid in the matching color tune I need.

Unfortunately, I had to give out my chance to display although I brought the vases all the way to Tokyo – the display space was limited and my teacher did demonstration to present our school.

Although I had no chance to display mine, I was very encouraged to see some arrangements using recycled materials (news papers, paper boxes and shopping bags) there. At following March’s Ikebana International Flower Show in San Francisco, some arrangements used recycled materials as well. My favorite one was the arrangement by Tuan, a talented Ikebana teacher from our Aratame school. Tuan discovered a scrap store in San Francisco, he used recycled materials bought from that store for his arrangement and also for the Aratame school arrangement. In his own arrangement, he used paper dividers created beautiful lines as the frame of the arrangement.

It seems to me that there is no limit of what one can do with the recycled materials as long as there is no limit set for arranger’s imagination and creativity.

Enjoy the flower arrangement pictures, Happy Monday and Happy Earth Day!

In Friendship with Flowers,

(I found Earth Day information from Earth Day website.


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