Nature in my hands, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Alessandro Musicorio’s photostream

Sunday is the 42nd annual celebration of Earth Day and this year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson — a book widely credited with helping to launch the environmental movement. The City of Pittsburgh is honoring these two events with proclamations by City Council created by Councilor Bill Peduto and co-sponsored by all members of Council.

Silent Spring, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Sterling College’s photostream

Council declared April 17, 2012 to be “Rachel Carson Day” in the City of Pittsburgh. Council honored and recognized Rachel Carson and the Rachel Carson Institute for “their research, education, and outreach in support of clean air, pure water, fertile soil, and biodiversity.” Carson’s book, Silent Spring, was originally published in 1962. It documented the ecological and human damage caused by pesticides. While it received a storm of criticism from chemical companies, it led to a nationwide ban on DDT and other pesticides. But, it did more than that — it was the inspiration for the grassroots environmental movement and led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Carson was born in in Springdale, Pennsylvania in a farmhouse that’s just 14 miles up the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh. She went to college at what is now Chatham University. The Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University is commemorating the 50th anniversary of Silent Spring. There will also be a bicycle parade displaying environmental messages in Carson’s honor on Earth Day by students from local universities, Bike Pittsburgh, Venture Outdoors and REI.

Pittsburgh City Council is also joining more than one billion people around the globe in participating in the 42nd annual recognition of Earth Day. It has proclaimed April 22, 2012 as “Earth Day” in the City of Pittsburgh so that the City may join in on “voicing their appreciation for the planet and demanding its protection.” The proclamation also commended two institutions, the Green Infrastructure Network and the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, for their “exceptional contribution to improving the quality of the region’s environment [and] continuing to raise awareness of air and water quality issues.”

globe in hands, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from noticelj’s photostream