Earth Day is celebrated on every 22nd of April to mark the beginning of the modern environment movement.
The idea of celebrating a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson who was then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. The idea came to him after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.
Since then Earth Day has been celebrated each year.
Earth Day 2016:
The main highlight of the Earth Day 2016 will be US signing the historic Paris Agreement of the Climate Protection Treaty which was adopted by 195 nations at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. The U.S. and China who are the world's two largest emitters, will both sign the agreement along with 120 plus other countries.
The Paris Agreement of the Climate Protection Treaty is binding and universal agreement. It calls for action against climate change, with focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the year 2050.
Importance of Earth Day for India:
Certain numbers is all that is needed to figure out the importance of Earth Day for India:
- India has the world's highest number of people (76 million) without access to clean drinking water.
- Six of the world's ten most polluted cities are in India.
- Indian citizens in some polluted cities are breathing air that is up to 15 times more polluted than what is considered healthy.
- The poor who have contributed least to the pollution that are the worst affected.
- Twenty-one countries in this world have proven that it is possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and as yet not slow down the economic development of the country, unfortunately India is not one of the 21 countries.
What you can do on this Earth Day:
As per www.earthday.org, "An estimated 18 million acres (7.3 million hectares) of forest-an area roughly the size of the country of Panama-are lost to deforestation each year. That loss is responsible for up to 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions".
So one thing that you can definitely do this Earth Day is, plant if not more at least one tree.
Protect endangered species:
It is really a good reason to celebrate that after many a decades of showing decline, for the first time tiger population has shown an increase. However, there are many more species of animals, birds and plants that are dangerously close to extinction.
You can vow this Earth Day that you will help protect endangered species and stop habitat encroachment too for whales, Asian elephants, rhinoceroses, and many more. This is more important as "we are entering a sixth mass extinction brought on by human activities around the world (www.earthday.org)".
Opt for green cities:
Rapid urbanisation and ever increasing strain on the cities has made it mandatory that we make sure that we do not worsen the climate change situation. Presently more than half of the world's population lives in cities. We need to ensure that our cities remain clean and green. We need to use more energy efficient products and use more of renewable energy.
We also need to rebuild our cities so that we can fasten the pace of transition to cleaner, healthier and environmentally more viable places to dwell in.
Find local solutions:
The best thing one can do is to work locally and find solutions that are workable for their region and there by increase the confidence of other to solve climate change issues.
India is training Women Panchayat Leaders who in turn educate female leaders on how to take decisions that promote eco-friendly policies which are geared towards the sustained interests of their villages.
Such programmes can go a long way in finding easy solution to climate change problem.
Make a school green:
Children are the future and it is our duty to ensure that we provide green and eco friendly school to the children to study in.
Children should also be taught how to conserve water and power. They should also be informed about the ill effects of climate change and how to combat climate change.