Expo '74 was a bit ahead of its time with a theme of environmental awareness and stewardship. Earth Day had only started in 1970, and surprising as it might sound today, the idea of the need for nations to limit their consumption was just beginning to enter mainstream thinking. Inside the U.S. Pavilion, the words "The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth" (attributed to Chief Seattle) dominated the entrance.
But Expo also presented its credo — a statement of purpose declaring that along with all the fun, there was a serious message, delivered by a city that had to reclaim its much-abused waterfront to even host the World's Fair. (After his visit to Spokane, Lee Iacocca, then president of the Ford Motor Company, said the World's Fair looked like it succeeded in "recycling Spokane.")
Entitled "This We Believe," it was delivered to the 85,000 who came to witness opening day on May 4, 1974. Just before President Richard Nixon officially opened the Fair, beloved entertainer Danny Kaye read our manifesto:
“This we believe: That the universe is a grand design in which man and nature are one.
"That planet earth, a small part of the universe, is the residence of mortal man whose needs and aspirations are limited by the finite resources of planet earth and man's own finite existence.
"That man is the custodian of his environment, as the environment is the custodian of man.
"That man, in his growing wisdom, will renounce the age-old boast of conquering nature lest nature conquer man.
"That the skies and the seas and the bountiful earth from which man draws his sustenance are the preserves of all mankind, and that in the brotherhood they derive from nature, the nations of the earth will join together in the preservation of the fragile heritage of our planet.
"We believe in the restoration of the reverence of nature, which once filled our own land where the American Indian roamed in respectful concert with his environment.
"We believe that the human spirit itself must set its own limitations to achieve a beauty and order and diversity that will fill the hearts of the children of the world with a new and happier vision of their destiny.
"We believe that from this city of Spokane there goes forth today to the world the message that the time of great environmental awakening is at hand.
"All this, we believe."