Earth Day is usually celebrated with outdoor performances, where individuals or groups perform acts of service to our planet earth. Popular ways of observing Earth Day include planting trees, picking up roadside trash, conducting various programmes for recycling and conservation and using recyclable containers. Some people sign petitions to governments, calling for stronger or immediate action to stop global warming and to reverse environmental destruction. Television stations frequently air programmes dealing with environmental issues.
Founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day was first organised in 1970 to promote ecology and respect for life on the planet as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems of air, water and soil pollution. Some people prefer to observe Earth Day around the time of the March equinox. In 1978, American anthropologist Margaret Mead added her support for the equinox Earth Day, founded by John McConnell. She stated that the selection of the March Equinox for Earth Day made planetary observance of a shared event possible.
Earth Day 2014 is shaping up to be a huge success, particularly in Africa and the Middle East. Several countries in the region will have Earth Day events this year, including Tunisia, Ghana, Oman, and Iraq to name a few.
What can you do in Qatar to celebrate Earth Day 2014? Here are a few ideas:
Stop using disposable plastic and protect the environment
Currently about 300 million tons of plastic are produced each year to make bags, bottles, packages, and other commodities for people all over the world. Unfortunately, only about ten percent of this plastic is properly recycled and reused. The rest ends up as waste in landfills or as litter in our natural environment, where it leaches dangerous chemicals into the nearby soil and water, endangering humans and wildlife alike. The problem has now grown completely out of control and threatens to affect millions of people and animals if we do not act soon. Take the pledge to switch to sustainable alternatives and reduce the amount of disposable plastic you use!
Buy local produce and save nutrients and CO2
Do you buy your produce from a grocery store or supermarket? If so, there’s a good chance your food has lost upwards of 45% of its original nutrients by the time you buy it. In fact, as soon as produce is harvested it starts losing nutrients. Three days after being picked the majority of produce has already lost one-third of its original nutritional value. Since the average piece of produce sits for seven days during its transit from the farm to the produce aisle, this means those “fresh” fruits and vegetables at the supermarket have already lost nearly half of their original nutritional value when you buy them. Buy local produce whenever possible. Not only will you eat healthier as a result, but you will also reduce the amount of carbon emissions needed to transport your produce from the farm to your plate.
Limit your meat consumption
Did you know that the meat industry is responsible for approximately 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions? In fact, producing one calorie of meat requires nearly twenty times the amount of energy as one plant calorie. With global meat consumption tripling over the last four decades, the meat industry now emits over 36 billion tons of greenhouse gases annually and is showing no signs of slowing down. If we want to make a real dent in the world’s carbon footprint and reduce our own personal footprint, we need to eat less meat.
Use less energy and save money and the environment
Did you know that nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the US are generated from the energy we use to power our homes and cars? That adds up to a big environmental impact and a hefty toll on our wallets at the end of the year – close to half a trillion dollars. Imagine the environmental impact in Qatar especially in the summer as the use of energy increases as more power is used to keep ourselves cool in our homes, offices and cars. Take the pledge to use as little energy and power as possible especially when it’s unnecessary.
Start composting and turn your spoils into soil
Each year billions of pounds of food are needlessly thrown away, ending up in landfills. In fact, more than one third of all food produced around the world for human consumption is wasted every year. One way to reduce this waste is by composting. Composting is a biological process during which naturally occurring microorganisms, bacteria and insects, break down organic materials such as leaves, grass clippings and certain kitchen scraps into a soil-like product called compost. It is a form of recycling — a natural way of returning needed nutrients to the soil.
Support environmental education
Whether you’re at school or at home, educate your children and other loved ones about the importance of protecting the environment by simply planting a tree, reminding them to turn off all unnecessary power. Protecting our environment allows us to live free of any pollutants or hazards that we might introduce into our environment. Protecting the environment allows future generations of humans to grow and live without having to deal with anything we’ve done to contaminate the environment in which we do live and they will live, protecting the environment is the best way to protect our own selves against diseases.
There are a billion acts of green you can take part in. Visit Earth Day Network’s website for more information.
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