10 Great Events From #EarthDay2016
April 29, 2016
Earth Day was bigger and bolder than ever before. It’s the largest secular event in the world. That’s the power of a contagious people’s movement that returns each year. This year World leaders united in New York City to sign the Paris Agreement- a landmark achievement in the fight against climate change. They deserve to be congratulated, but they didn’t reach this point without continuous pressure and support from civil society.
Earth Day is people standing up for an environmental problem they are passionate about. It’s creating learning experiences in schools so that our next generation will be environmentally informed, global citizens. It’s recognizing an opportunity for your community to become more sustainable. Small green acts add up. Mobilizing people creates change. Earth Day is being engaged, being responsible, and being part of a movement.
Let’s recognize 10 stand out events that happened around the World to mark Earth Day. May they resonate and motivate you to act as well:
- One islander, one tree. Down in the Caribbean, St. Kitts and Nevis made a bold move and committed to planting a tree for each of its citizens this Earth Day. A nation of 55,000 people, they are taking Earth Day Network’s Trees for the Earth goal head on and will plant 55,000 trees over the next five years. And they’re not stopping there – all students will receive a climate change lesson, helping prepare the next generation of Earth caretakers.
- India pedals towards a greener Earth. Cyclists in India are kicking off an environmental awareness rally in Bangaluru, Kranataka. A celebratory parade had over 20,000 environmentalist cyclists. The rally will come full circle after visiting each district in the state of Karnataka and returning to Bangaluru on World Environment Day in June. In addition to their cycling awareness campaign, they will be contributing to the #Trees4Earth campaign by planting 60,000 tree saplings in public spaces at all of the district headquarters.
- Morocco is [royally] committed to fighting climate change. The hosts of COP22 in Fall 2016, they demonstrated their sincere commitment to a sustainable future by sending Princess Lalla Hasnaa to sign the Paris Agreement. Following a successful COP21 in Paris, this is a positive indication that Morocco will pick up where France left off. Her royal highness is a champion of environmental causes herself. As Chairwoman of Mohammed VI Foundation for Environment Protection, she recently made an agreement with UNESCO for sustainable development education earlier this month.
- Students for a greener China. China is the world’s top carbon emitter. University students there have taken note and are stepping into environmentalist shoes. Universities in Beijing are spreading awareness about recycling and helping plant trees. Students will now receive seeds in return for their recyclables. It takes a contribution from each of us to make a difference. Meanwhile, at the nearby Great Wall, a group of dedicated hikers spent the morning picking up waste that litters the beautiful and historic landscape. The amount of waste left behind by sightseers is a reminder that we must not leave behind an unnatural trail.
- Vietnam gets in rhythm with Earth Day. A flash mob dance performance grabs attention. In Ho Chi Minh City a creatively choreographed flash mob had 1,000 dancers. Young students and hearing-impaired members of the local Deaf Community Organization (source: http://bit.ly/1VxuOHd) were among the dedicated participants. The theme of their Earth Day celebration was water conservation. They didn’t stop there – 2,000 people then were part of a ‘Green Run’ that was cleverly designed to represent the necessity and challenges of water conservation. Water activities were part of the race course and runners had to break through physical barriers in order to finish.
- Setting the bar high for cities. Mayor Tomás Pedro Regalado is helping make Miami green. His Earth Day proclamation set Miami apart as an American city that is taking climate change seriously. Mayor Regalado announced that Miami will be going 100% renewable energy by 2050. As one of the hottest cities on the map, we hope their action will inspire others to follow suit.
- A clean sweep in Europe. The “Let’s Do It” campaign is making headway in cleaning up the world. The movement started in Estonia and has engaged 13.8 million people over the past 7 years. In celebration of Earth Day 2016 Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Ukraine, and Lithuania held massive cleanups across Eastern Europe. 4-10% of their populations helped pick up trash after mapping it first.
- Honduras Remembers Berta Cáceres. In Puerto Cortes, Honduras, dozens of people took part in a tree planting and educational event on Earth Day in the memory of the Lenca activist Berta Cáceres. Coral Tree seedlings will be given out and those organizing the event will describe who Berta was, as well as the important role trees play in the hydrological cycle in Honduras. Berta Cáceres was an indigenous Goldman Environmental Prize-winning environment and land defender who was assassinated last March. She co-founded an indigenous people’s campaign against the Agua Zarca dam. Earth Day is the perfect day to remember and be inspired by the memory of someone such as her. ¡Viva Berta!
- Bahrani women spread the power of education. A women’s group in Bahrain is planning an environmental awareness campaign that will live past April 22nd. A community assessment to determine baseline awareness will launch the campaign. Women are a marginalized population and often bear the responsibility of managing domestic and natural resources. Climate change makes this responsibility harder and indirectly adds serious problems including public health and sexual assault into the picture.
- Kiribati builds its resilience. Islands feel the devastating effects of climate change first. As Kiribati falls victim to climate change, we are reminded that one of the most urgent issues of our day is access to fresh water. Kiribati islanders are working as hard as possible to protect their home. They have responded to the #Trees4Earth call for action campaign by planting trees that will benefit their native ecosystems. Mangroves are essential for Kiribati as they can thrive in salinized water, boost fish populations, and ultimately help stabilize the coastline and prevent further erosion from rising Pacific seas.