1995 32¢ Earth in a Bathtub
Kids Care About the Environment – Earth Day
· Issued for the 25th anniversary of the first Earth Day
· Fourth US stamp issue to feature artwork by children
· Stamp design created as the result of a nationwide contest co-sponsored by McDonald’s restaurants
Stamp Category: Commemorative
Set: Kids Care About the Environment (Earth Day)
Value: 32¢, rate for first-class mail
First Day of Issue: April 20, 1995
First Day City: Washington, DC
Quantity Issued: 50,000,000
Printed by: Ashton-Potter
Printing Method: Lithographed
Format: Panes of 16 in sheets of 96
Perforations: 11.1 x 11
Microprinting: “EARTH DAY” is microprinted on in the third bubble above the denomination on the right side
Why the stamp was issued: To mark the 25th anniversary of the first Earth Day
About the stamp design: Each of the stamps in this set features original artwork created by young children. The USPS made some small tweaks to the images so they would reproduce well at stamp size, and look good together as a set.
Twelve-year-old Christy Millard’s drawing shows the Earth in a four-legged bathtub being scrubbed by a cleaning brush with bubbles floating overhead. Her original work included the caption “Let’s clean it up!”
Special design details: The “Kids Care” stamps include an interesting feature that stamp artists had long requested for themselves – each student’s name was included in the design, as well as their age. This was in part to ensure people know they were the work of children. The stamp pane also includes a brief description of the contest that resulted in these stamp designs.
First Day City: Washington, DC – at the National Mall. Earth Day founder Senator Gaylord Nelson was in attendance. The four children also attended and participated in a ceremonial tree planting. Some of the children also brought their own envelopes for First Day Covers.
About the Kids Care Set: The idea for these stamps was born in 1992, when the USPS was looking for ways to get kids interested in stamps. Realizing they needed to “go where the kids are, and one of the places the kids are is McDonald’s,” the USPS developed the idea for a children’s stamp design contest co-sponsored by the popular restaurant. With the 25th anniversary of Earth Day approaching, they felt a pro-environment theme would be a great idea. Both companies took pride in their environmental efforts – the USPS fueled its delivery trucks with compressed natural gas and recycled nearly 345,000 tons each year. McDonald’s purchased $200 million in recycled products every year and earned the President’s Environmental and Conservation Challenge Award in 1991.
The contest was open to children between the ages of 8 and 13 and ran from March 4, to April 30, 1994. Children could get entry forms at one of the 30,000 US post offices or 9,000 McDonald’s. Information was also distributed to 4,000 elementary schools. More than 150,000 children submitted artwork, which was judged by an outside panel of art experts. In the first round, they narrowed it down to 510 entries – 10 from each state Washington, DC, split into two age groups – 8 to 10 and 11 to 13. From there it was narrowed down to 102 children, each of whom received a $100 US Savings Bond. In the end, four pieces were selected. Each of the four winners received $3,000 savings bonds and trips to Washington, DC, for the stamps’ unveiling and issue.
This was the fourth US stamp issue with designs submitted by children. You can read about the others here.
History the stamp represents: In 1969, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson witnessed the effects of the Santa Barbara oil spill and wanted to do something to prevent future horrors. At the time, American schools were a hotbed for anti-war protests. He believed that if he could harness that same enthusiasm for the rising interest in air and water pollution, he could make environmental protection a part of the national political agenda.
Soon after, Nelson publicly announced that he planned to hold a “national teach-in on the environment.” He recruited Pete McCloskey to serve as hi co-chair and Denis Hayes as the national coordinator. Hayes assembled a national staff of 85 to push for events around the country. They then selected April 22 as the date for their event, as it fell between spring break and final exams and would allow more students to participate.
As planned, Earth Day 1970 was celebrated around the country on April 22. Some 2,000 colleges, 10,000 primary and secondary schools, and hundreds of communities across American joined in the event. Overall, it “brought 20 million Americans out into the spring sunshine for peaceful demonstrations in favor of environmental reform.”
The largest demonstration took place in New York City. Mayor John Lindsay closed down Fifth Avenue and made Central Park available for the event. An estimated one million people attended the New York City event. And because the city was home to several major television and newspaper producers, it provided substantial coverage.
Different events took place in different cities. People met in the streets, parks, and auditoriums, holding massive rallies calling for environmental improvements. Groups fighting against oil spills, pesticides, freeways, and other causes quickly found they all shared common interests and could be more successful working together.
Earth Day also brought about a rare occurrence. Republicans and Democrats – as well as many other people from opposing walks of life – joined together for a common goal. By the end of 1970, the Earth Day movement helped bring about the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency as well as the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. Nelson later called that, “It was a gamble, but it worked.” For his work, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Twenty years later, Nelson’s partner, Denis Hayes, took the celebrations international. Some 200 million people in 141 countries joined in the 1990 Earth Day event. They brought environmental issues to the world stage. Their efforts brought a major boost to recycling efforts around the globe and led to the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
Today, Earth Day is celebrated annually by more than two billion people, making it the largest secular observance on the planet.
Environmental pollution is one of the most serious problems we face today. In the last 100 years population and industry have grown at a phenomenal rate, and 20th- century inventions, such as the automobile, have caused pollution to become a serious threat to life on earth.
Although the damage caused by pollution in some areas is irreversible, in many cases the prevention of pollution would enable us to maintain and even renew diminishing resources. Today federal, state, and local governments across the globe are working to control pollution. Environmental groups formed by private citizens are responsible for much of the action taken by government and industry. In addition to calling attention to problems, they also encourage public officials to take necessary action. Their efforts have resulted in many steps being taken, including recycling, improved technological advancements, and restrictions.