On April 22, 1970, thousands descended on Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park for Earth Day, which was organized by a group of Penn students. Among the headliners were PennDesign faculty member Ian McHarg—whose 1969 book Design with Nature pioneered the concept of ecological planning—fellow faculty member Lewis Mumford, Ralph Nader, Paul Erlich, and the cast of the Broadway musical Hair. Two years later, NASA released a photograph of Earth taken from the Apollo 17. Dubbed “the Blue Marble,” it quickly became the most reproduced image in history and catalyzed the nascent environmental movement. Fast forward to 1992: At the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, 196 countries sign on to the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) committing to reach a global target of 17% protected wilderness area by 2020.
To celebrate Earth Day 2017, Martin and Margy Meyerson Chair of Urbanism and Professor and Chair of Landscape Architecture Richard Weller unveils his Atlas for the End of the World, a collection of maps which survey land use and urban growth in relation to the United Nation’s targets.
Weller is joined by PennDesign Dean Frederick Steiner, who was among the organizers of one of the first Earth Day events, and Eugenie Birch, Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research and Co-Director of Penn IUR. Birch leads sustainable development efforts for the UN as Chair, UN-HABITAT’s World Urban Campaign, and President, General Assembly of Partners.
Presented by the Office of the Dean at PennDesign, Penn IUR, and PennDesign Student Council.