By: Arthur W.
We are all familiar with Earth Day: on the 22nd of April, year in year out, people all across the world hear and read about the worldwide events signifying support for environmental protection, the effects we humans are having on the environment, what we individuals can do to make a difference, and the future of our planet. While Earth Day certainly contributes strongly to environmental awareness and has made an impact since its creation (growing each year from 1970 on, now celebrated in more than 190 countries every year), it seems to be that most only really evaluate on environmental concerns when the day itself comes around. We rely too much on these come-and-go events to wake us up and have us stop to think, and even then Earth Day is probably the only one most people can think of.
UN World Environment Day, also referred to as Eco Day, Environment Day, or WED, is a worldwide annual celebration on the 5th of June for positive environmental action, an event everyone should know about. The day was created to raise global awareness for environmental problems the world is facing (particularly the negative consequences we humans are imposing on it) and to encourage action for the protection of nature and planet Earth. It is the United Nations’ ‘principal vehicle’ for the encouragement of worldwide awareness and action for the environment, and has a new theme every year. The day is officially run by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), but is a broad opportunistic platform for people to realize their responsibility to care of our planet and to act on it; to become ‘agents of change’. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world have taken part in individual and organized environmental action through decades of WED celebrations, with 2,861 registered activities 1.26 million participants in WED 2015 alone.
It is evident that the 22nd of April and the 5th of June are recognized globally as days dedicated to the environment, in the same way Valentine’s Day is all about love and affection. My point is, however, that although they are popular and important, we shouldn’t need to have ‘special days’ in which we appreciate the environment and do something nice for it, just like we shouldn’t need to have a ‘special day’ in which we show we love the people that we love; this should be there all the time. I’m not saying it should be Earth Day all year round, I’m saying that we can’t rely solely on these events to the extent we do if we want the best for our environment. If titling a day is what it takes to bring about environmental change then so be it, but at least acknowledge the implications- we forget about it far more than we should. Take a moment, once in awhile, to think to yourself about what it is you consider environmentally concerning and how you can play your part in attempting to resolve it, at times other than the times you practically have to. Then show you care because you know you do. It’s in the little things like the temperature you set your thermostat to, running water when you don’t need to, how you get from A to B, and separating waste into plastic, paper, and glass so that it can be recycled. It’s easy and essentially effortless, but still makes a world of a difference.
Furthermore, be sure to keep an eye out for the Environmental Club, which will be active in promoting sustainability at Marymount throughout the year, and an own promotional environmental awareness event, part of my CAS project, coming up soon.