Saturday, 25 March 2017

Remember Earth Hour today!

This year Earth Hour is at 8:30pm on 25 March 2017. All over the world, millions of people, businesses, and landmarks set aside an hour to host events and to switch off their lights. Moreover it shines a light on the need for climate change action. All individuals, communities, households, and businesses are encouraged to turn off all non-essential lights for an hour. This is seen as a symbol for their commitment to help save our planet.

What is Earth Hour all about?
Earth Hour is an engagement platform for climate change. Through this campaign, the WWF strives to “make climate action understandable, relatable, and accessible to all”. It has the power to inspire and empowers people from all over the world to, instead of being passive bystanders, to actively participate in global efforts to fight climate change successfully. It reminds us that we can all be heroes for our planet.

Earth Hour is not about how much energy is saved during the hour, but about focusing the attention on the issues facing the planet and inspiring people to live more sustainably. The whole idea about the campaign is that the choices people make and the actions they take after the hour is up can help reduce the impacts of climate change on the planet, its wildlife, and future generations.

From helping shape climate-friendly policies to powering the transition to renewables and protecting our forests and wildlife from the worst impacts of climate change, Earth Hour empowers every individual and communities worldwide to be a part of the future we desire and that our children truly deserve. Earth Hour ensures each and every one of us plays our part in creating a better future for our planet and generations to come (WWF Earth Hour Report 2016).

The ‘Plus’ sign was integrated into the Earth Hour logo to indicate the campaign’s evolution beyond the hour.

WWF’s Earth Hour commenced as an idea intending to unite Sydney-siders to take a stand for climate action in 2007 and it was celebrated for the first time by 2.2 million people. Countries from around the world are experiencing the impact of climate change and our precious planet needs urgent climate action, so, thus, this valuable campaign was launched. Since them Earth hour has been the “force behind numerous environmental outcomes including helping to drive legislative changes, promoting individual actions to protect forests, oceans and wildlife, encouraging sustainable behaviour and lifestyles, and helping spark global awareness and momentum on climate”.

The Paris Agreement marked the first step toward the climate action our planet needs today. 2015 was both the year the world celebrated the first universal climate deal. “This is our time to #ChangeClimateChange”. Changing climate change necessitates innovation in ambition, vision, and collaboration, starting with all of us. Emphasis is placed on the transition to clean, green renewable energy as it’s a cornerstones of building a climate-safe future.

In 2009, Earth Hour broke all records of mass participation, and also becoming the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment. In 2009, there were 88 Countries & Territories and in 2016 a whopping 178 Countries & Territories! This unequivocally serve as reminder of the globe’s determination to tackle our planet’s biggest environmental challenge yet. It is much more than simply an hour:  It has assisted in changing laws and fund solar-powered homes, thereby making a real, positive impact on the planet. Earth Hour continues to remain the key driver of the now larger movements.

Earth Hour Report 2016
Here are some interesting facts revolving around Earth Hour 2016. According to the Earth Hour Report (2016):
·         78 countries and territories participated in Earth Hour.
·         12 700 landmarks and monuments switched off their lights
·         2, 426, 929 actions were taken during Earth Hour
·         2.5 billion impressions on Earth Day

The Report notes that “our actions today will define what tomorrow will look like for generations to come and every one of us must be a part of the climate action our planet urgently needs”.

·         Use the hashtags #changeclimatechange and #EarthHour to show your support digitally or share the official Earth Hour poster. Our actions today can invariably change our tomorrow - collectively, let's #ChangeClimateChange
·         Sign up and send a strong message that you want action on climate change right now
·         Switch off your lights in a symbolic show of global support to protect our amazing planet
·         Bring your friends, family, or community together and organise a special Earth Hour event.
·         Share your plans on our Earth Hour map
·         Fundraise for our vital work to tackle pressing threats like climate change and help us to protect our amazing planet.
·         Take a look at our range of fantastic Earth Hour events – get involved!

The WWF’s message is crystal clear: Earth Hour belongs to you.


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

World Water Day

World Water Day is annually celebrated on the 22 March. This day was first implemented in 1993. It was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. It commenced as a result of continued awareness about water-related issues. The United Nations General Assembly officially designated March 22 as World Water Day and is coordinated by UN-Water. This is an important day on the environmental calendar, especially because all over the world water crises occur. It provides an incentive to learn more about the importance of water resources and to ensure that water resources are managed sustainably. It is seen as an international observance where knowledge about water-related issues is shared. The most important message is to take action and make a critical difference.

Theme for 2017
Each year the day is spend with a different theme in mind, decided upon by UN-Water, corresponding with either a current or future challenge. 2017’s is Wastewater (Why waste water?). Wastewater is an important resource and it is about reducing and reusing it. It’s in line with achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 6 target: To halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase water recycling and safe reuse. The most important thing to remember is that instead of wasting wastewater, it must be reduced and reused and reused.


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

International Day of Forests

The International Day of Forests is held on 21 March every year. The United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/67/200 on 21 December 2012, declaring that 21 March of each year is to be observed as the International Day of Forests. The secretariat of the United Nations Forum on Forests, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, are responsible to facilitate the implementation of the International Day of Forests, in collaboration with Governments, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and international, regional and sub-regional organizations.

It is an important day on the environmental calendar due to the fact that it raises awareness about the importance of forests. It provides a platform to raise awareness of the importance of all types of woodlands and trees. It’s also about celebrating the ways in which they sustain and protect us. Countries are encouraged to undertake local, national, and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.

Different events celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests, and trees outside forests, for the benefit of current and future generations. Forests provide priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits as well as play a critical role in environmental sustainability, food security, and poverty eradication.

2017 Theme
The theme of International Day of Forests is decided by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. This year’s theme is Forests and Energy. This year, the focus is placed on the importance of wood energy in improving people's lives, powering sustainable development, and mitigating climate change.

Undeniably, wood is a major renewable energy source. It provides the world with more energy than solar, hydroelectric or wind power, accounting for approximately 45 percent of current global renewable energy supply (27 percent of total primary energy supply in Africa, 13 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean and 5 percent in Asia and Oceania).

Quick facts about forests
Source: Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement
·         The state of our forests is important to us all here on earth for many reasons – 80% of all terrestrial biodiversity lives in forests, and each year many species go extinct as a result of them being destroyed.
·         Forests cover 30% of land, but 3 million hectares are lost per year.
·         Trees are Nature’s air conditioners – 1 young healthy tree can cool just like 10 air conditioners running 20 hrs a day.
·         More than 2 billion people, including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures, depend on forests for their livelihoods, and use it to cook food, boil water, and stay warm
·         Almost 900 million people, generally in developing countries, are engaged in the wood-energy sector on a part- or full-time basis.  
·         Forests equal energy – 90% of fuelwood and charcoal use takes place in developing countries
·         Sustainably managed forests can supply renewable, CO2 neutral energy
·         Forests cover one third of the Earth's land mass.
·         They perform vital functions around the world.
·         Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.
·         Global deforestation continues at an alarming rate - 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually.
·         Deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
·         Strategically placed trees in urban areas can cool the air by between 2 to 8 degrees C.
Source: Forest Foundation
People can participate in events such as: include tree-planting and other community-level events, and national celebrations including art, photo and film and, importantly, social media outreach.


Friday, 3 March 2017

World Wildlife Day

What does World Wildlife Day entail?
On 20 December 2013, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3 March, the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). With 183 Member States, CITES remains one of the world's most influential tools for biodiversity conservation through the regulation of trade in wild fauna and flora. The CITES Secretariat was designated as the facilitator for the global observance of this special day for wildlife on the UN calendar. It’s a day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. It is about raising awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation provides to people and helps to galvanize national and international action. Today it’s the world’s most important global annual event dedicated exclusively to wildlife. It reminds people of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.

Theme for 2017

Every year a specific theme is used to celebrate this important environmental day on the calendar. This year WWD is celebrated with a “Listen to the Young Voices” theme in mind. Youth are essentially the agents of change. This is definitely an important and relevant theme because almost one quarter of the world’s population is aged between 10 and 24. Therefore, efforts need to be made in order to encourage young people because they are the future leaders and decision makers of the world, and, thus, to act at both local and global levels to ensure that the protection of endangered wildlife occurs. One thing that is high on the United Nation’s agenda is the engagement and empowerment of youth. Currently, this objective is being achieved through the youth programmes of various UN system organizations and the dedicated UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth. Parties to CITES gathered at the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) (held in Johannesburg in September 2016) adopted the first CITES resolution on ‘Youth Engagement’ – calling for greater engagement and empowerment of youth in conservation issues. This year, WWD specifically 2017 encourages youth all over the world to rally together to address on-going major threats to wildlife including habitat change, over-exploitation or illicit trafficking. Thankfully, progress has already been seen on the positive impacts on conservation issues made by some young conservation leaders around the world. The collective youth impact is extensive and indisputable. It is the duty of the current generations to impart their knowledge of wildlife conservation with the younger generations, and thereby empowering and encouraging them to actively engage and participate.

Plight of wildlife
Wildlife has an intrinsic value, contributing to the ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic aspects of sustainable development and human well-being. But, alarming challenges facing wildlife include habitat loss, climate change and poaching. Poaching and trafficking of wildlife is the most immediate threat to many species.  The fate of the world’s wildlife will soon be in the hands of the next generation.  There’s is a pressing need for enhanced action to ensure the survival of wildlife in its natural habitats.

Get involved!
WWD is celebrated in various ways in order to help promote awareness about wildlife conservation issues around the world. So, go wild for World Wildlife Day by:
·         Making sure to announce your applicable event so we can see how World Wildlife Day is being celebrated around the world!
·         Posting on social media. Repost one of our photos, posters or use one of our action cards and say something about the day. Remember to use the hashtags #DoOneThingToday, #youth4wildlife, #YoungVoices,  #WorldWildlifeDay, #EndWildlifeTrafficking
·         Entering the World Wildlife Day 2017 Photo Competition (The winner will get a free flight and 2 night accommodation to New York for World Wildlife day 2017)!
·         Engaging with celebrities, athletes, politicians, businesses and appoint them as Wildlife Conservation Ambassadors or key opinion leaders.

Local communities can play a positive role in helping to curb illegal wildlife trade. So, WWD provides an excellent opportunity to help raise awareness and take action to be part of the solution, ensuring that wildlife conservation takes place and wildlife crimes are combatted. The message of the official World Wildlife Day website is clear: WE ALL HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY. It is also up to every citizen, young and old, to protect wildlife and their habitats. IT’S TIME FOR US ALL TO LISTEN TO THE YOUNG VOICES!