Well the first chocolates have been consumed in the office this afternoon (after numerous hot cross buns were destroyed earlier this morning) in lieu of the upcoming Easter holiday most of the Essential Environmental team have been counting down to for a much-appreciated break!
While many people will be celebrating this Christian holiday over the next few days by observing numerous religious and non-religious traditions including coming together with family, eating copious amounts of cocoa in the shape of bunnies or bilbies (as is more appropriate in Australia!), or hunting for eggs (some of which may not be found for another 2 months), another important day in the calendar year is coming up soon: Earth Day.
Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on 22nd April on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was initially founded in 1970 by US Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental education forum or “teach-in” and was considered a success by all accounts. Nelson later commented that “Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organise 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organised itself.” Growing out of the first Earth Day in the United States, the Earth Day Network works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it one of the largest civic observances in the world.
Each year a unique environmental challenge is chosen as a focus for the Earth Day campaign and this year’s theme is: Green Cities. It is designed to bring attention to the increasing migration of the world’s population to cities and the need to create sustainable communities, particularly in the context of a changing climate. More information on the concept of sustainable communities is available from the Green Building Council of Australia‘s Green Star – Communities National Framework. The framework establishes five principles to encourage the development of new and existing sustainable communities in Australia:
- Enhance liveability
- Create opportunities for economic prosperity
- Foster environmental quality
- Embrace design excellence
- Demonstrate visionary leadership and strong governance
Based on these principles the Green Building Council of Australia considers that a sustainable community is one that “is liveable, resilient, diverse and adaptable. It strives for a lower carbon and ecological footprint” and “evolves through policy and collaborative practice that respects and embraces the aspirations of existing and future community stakeholders”.
So with that in mind take the time to consider some of the bigger environmental issues affecting all of us while on holidays this Easter, and watch out for events that are happening in your area to celebrate Earth Day!
Lastly, Essential Environmental wishes everyone a safe and happy Easter holiday and Earth Day!