While great strides have been made in the global dialogue on sustainability, local actions and involvement are necessary catalysts for implementing real change. Local leaders are on the frontlines of addressing the impact of environmental degradation on their communities while at the same time creating green jobs, energy savings, and a healthier environment.
Each year in preparation for Earth Day, we invite local leaders worldwide to participate in the Global Day of Conversation.
What is a Global Day of Conversation?
A Global Day of Conversation is an opportunity for leaders to engage with their communities in a conversation on challenges and opportunities related to a critical environmental issue. Through these dialogues, leaders share their best environmental practices, educate the public, and elevate the prominence of local government in the global sustainability dialogue. These discussions have often served as launch pads for innovative sustainability strategies. As policy innovators, local leaders can develop solutions that can be scaled to regional, national, and international levels.
For the first Global Day of Conversation in April 2010, in honor of Earth Day, Earth Day Network and its partners ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies worked with over 400 local leaders worldwide to engage their communities in an interactive dialogue on the environment. Earth Day Network compiled success stories and best practices shared in a report with local governments worldwide.
Last year, on Earth Day 2017, nearly ten thousand elected officials from all 50 US states and 100 countries around the world participated in the Global Day of Conversation. Major events were held from Italy to India to the United Arab Emirates, with additional events taking place in many countries, including Colombia, Bahrain, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Denmark.
What is the theme for Earth Day 2018?
Plastic pollution is affecting people and the environment around the world. Its negative impact is making headline news every week – from garbage patches in our oceans to microplastics in our drinking water. However, every day we are hearing new, inspiring stories of local initiatives that are driving change. The outsized negative impact of plastic pollution prompted Earth Day Network to make “End Plastic Pollution” the theme for this year’s Earth Day (April 22nd). Aware that plastic waste management is one of the core concerns of the administration of cities around the world, Earth Day Network wants to amplify the work every city and town is doing to create a healthier and cleaner environment and would like to add the voice of their local official to the call to End Plastic Pollution.
What are mayors and other local officials invited to do?
Earth Day Network’s Global Day of Conversation (GDC) is a platform for local officials to engage with their communities in discussions about the challenges and opportunities related to ending plastic pollution, either on Earth Day or during the month of April.
We are asking all the mayors and local officials across the planet to consider doing three things to raise awareness of plastic pollution and inspire change:
1) Issue a Proclamation announcing the intention to hold a Global Day of Conversation to discuss plastic pollution and declaring April 22 as Earth Day in their city or town;
2) Organize a session with relevant constituencies and the media to present the results of their administration’s work to reduce plastic pollution in their city or town, and any plans they might have for the future; and,
3) Conduct a media campaign on how the city or town is contributing to End Plastic Pollution.
Resources to host a Global Day of Conversation or issue a Proclamation:
To support the planning and implementation of an event or roundtable in your city or town, we have created a toolkit (which can be found HERE) that contains further information about hosting a Global Day of Conversation, a draft Earth Day 2018 proclamation, and sample media to introduce and promote your event.
You might also like to check:
- Organize an Event on Earth Day: Our Earth Day Organizers Toolkit and the Plastic Pollution Primer and Action Toolkit give you both the content and process to organize an effective and powerful activity or event for Earth Day 2018.
- Host a Teach-In: Involve family, friends or co-workers; organize your local community; or develop an initiative in your organization to learn and agree on actions to reduce and eventually End Plastic Pollution. Download our toolkit here.
- Take Part in Climate Education Week: Climate Education Week will start April 16th. The Climate Education Week Toolkit will provide a week of activities for K-12 students to learn about and act to prevent local plastic pollution. A toolkit will soon be available on our website on this page.
Over the past few years, thousands of elected officials have participated in the Global Day of Conversation around the world. This year, we are excited to see it continue to expand and support efforts to highlight the initiatives of cities and communities to end plastic pollution.
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