Earth Day – A Billion Acts of Green

 

The first Earth Day was officially celebrated on April 22 1970, motivated by a young US Senator, Gaylord Nelson after he witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by a major oil spill and felt compelled to make a stand.

By 1990 Earth Day was a global event with over 200 million people around the world from 141 countries participating.  By the year 2000, Earth Day campaign was focusing on global warming and encouraging us to look at alternative ‘clean’ energy sources.  5000 environmental groups in a record-breaking 184 countries reached out to hundreds of millions of people.

The year 2011 sees our planet under real threat from climate change, so this year’s Earth Day is highlighting the impact each individual can make in committing to make a positive difference to our environment.  The goal is to have one billion acts of commitment to environmental sustainability pledged by the 2012 Earth Summit in Rio, to date 45 million pledges have been made by individuals, organisations, companies and governments globally.

To celebrate Earth Day in Zimbabwe, Environment Africa has been invited by the United States Embassy and will be giving a joint presentation to the City of Mutare on the importance of our planet and sharing examples of how a city can take action for the environment.

Environment Africa’s CEO, Charlene Hewat, was a guest speaker at a recent function celebrating Earth Day which was hosted by the US Alumini Association of which she is a member.   The focus of her talk was about sustainable living for our future which linked to the key focus areas of Earth Day which are as follows:

Water
Recycling and Waste Reduction
Conservation & Biodiversity
Sustainable Development
Transportation
Energy
Advocacy
Green Schools & Education

Africa is unique in its biodiversity, but with this. comes our own challenges such as drought, famine, poverty, HIV Aids and the resultant negative impacts on our environment and people.   When people are hungry they will do anything to survive, be it killing wildlife for food, chopping down trees for cooking, clearing land for farming at the expense of the environment.

Cities are overcrowded, water is used faster than it can replenish, waste is not managed correctly, sewerage systems are overburdened, the list is endless. The fight for a clean environment continues in a climate of increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more evident every day.
One thing is certain, the world of today will be different tomorrow.  The question is, not whether we must learn to live sustainably, but how fast we can do so.

Some Facts:
In one year:
200 million tons of topsoil will be lost through erosion from croplands
Burning oil and fossil fuels will release 70 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, gradually increasing the earth’s temperature
800 million people will go to bed hungry and wake up too weak to lead productive lives
Recycled paper requires 64% less energy than making paper from raw wood pulp and saves thousands of trees

Simple ways YOU can make a difference:
Use energy saver bulbs
Recycle your household waste
Start your own compost
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Refuse
So NO to plastic bags and take your own cloth bag when shopping
Switch off the water tap whilst brushing your teeth
Plant a Tree
Organise a clean up in your area
Register your Green Pledge on the Earth Day website ‘A billion Acts of Green’
www.earthday.org

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