It is hoped that a billion people will join in the celebration for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on Thursday, April 22.

That would make it the largest secular civic event in the world.

Hosting the event in the Yukon is the Yukon Green Party.

“Forty years ago, there wasn’t even a Department of the Environment (in Canada),” says John Streicker, local Green Party federal candidate, and one of the organizers of Whitehorse’s Earth Day Rocks!.

Earth Day was first conceived by US Senator Gaylord Nelson who, in 1970, initiated a national teach-in on the environment, modelled after the effective Vietnam war protests of the time.

The first Earth Day had participants and celebrants in 2,000 colleges and universities, roughly 10,000 primary and secondary schools, and hundreds of communities across the United States.

Today’s Earth Day events are designed to encourage environmentally aware behaviours, such as recycling, using energy efficiently and reducing or reusing disposable items.

The event is designed to be a celebration of just how far we have come, with proceeds from the evening going to support Streicker’s federal campaign.

And rockin’ the party will be Whitehorse’s own Sasquatch Prom Date performing its danceable brand of 50s-style rockabilly.

Band members Genesee Keevil, Ian Stewart, Ryan McNally and Patrick Singh recently performed at Canada’s Northern House during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

The evening also includes a cash bar and a silent auction that features works by area artists Marten Berkman, Philippe LeBlond, Bonnie Dalziel and Katherine Gillmor.

Also available are photographs by Rob McClure and two donated photographs shot by Robert Postma.

Also on offer will be a special pair of mittens knit by Wendy Boothroyd from her hand-spun wool.

If you would like to donate an item to the auction, contact Barry Durwood at events@yukongreen.ca. He prefers e-mails, but he can also be contacted by phone at 668-7614.

The celebration will take place at The Old Fire Hall starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10, or $5 for kids/seniors/low income. For more information or to reserve tickets, send an e-mail to events@yukongreen.ca or call 332-2222.