Mark your calendars. For your sake, and for the sake of the planet.

blog 14Facebook reminds us of birthdays while the office bulletin board or radio ads tells us about important holidays and festivals. But there is very little that happens, on an individual level, on the days and dates dedicated to the betterment of the planet.  The media and concerned NGOs raise awareness across various touch-points but there is no way things will change if they do their bit, but we don’t.

So pull out your iphones, androids, laptop widgets or pocket calendars (if some of you still have one) and mark the following dates. Closer to time, share it on your family whatsapp groups and social media walls.  If the entire country comes together to make a small change even on a single day, 100crore actions can surely change the destiny of the planet.

Ready to make a note?

 World Car-free Day | 22ndSeptember

Q. What is it?

A. World Car-free day is an annual, worldwide event, which urges people to support the planet by leaving their cars in their garages and using public transport for a day. People are encouraged to walk to shorter distances, take the public transport, cycle to work or even taxi-pool to their desired destination. In some countries, work-from-home is permitted on this day. The primary goal of celebrating this day is to reduce the number of cars and the traffic on the streets and give the earth a day off from breathing toxic gases. This noble day is celebrated in 46 countries and over 2000 cities.

 

Q. How did it originate?

A. The people of Netherlands and Belgium were the first ones to leave their cars behind to celebrate car-free Sundays way back in 1956. For two months, no one drove their cars on Sundays.  Later, however, instead of it being a weekly event, the Car-free Day evolved into a yearly programme. It is now celebrated on September 22, across the world.

 

Q. How can you contribute?

A.This one is a no-brainer. You can simply leave your car behind and take the public transport. Alternately, you can spread the word among your friends and family and encourage them to do the same. While a dedicated day in a year is a great idea, you can also use this day as a starting point and pledge giving up your car on the 22d of every month. Everyone deserves a day off in a month. Be it your car, or the planet.

 

Earth Day | 22ndApril

Q. What is it?

A. One of the more popular days, Earth day is celebrated to support and protect the environment. Unlike No-car today, this one is not marked by a single act but comprises of various events across the world in more than 193 countries, all revolving around the cause of the Earth. Besides events, demonstrations, conferences and awareness campaigns that are done on a large scale – individuals too celebrate the day in their own way, through little acts of awareness towards the planet. The day, now being celebrated for a long time, pumped by media campaigns has slowly penetrated into public consciousness.

 

Q. How did it originate?

A. Earth Day was US Senator Gaylord Nelson’s brainchild and it came into action on April 22, 1970. On this day, 20 million American citizens turned into planet activists, took to the streets and spread the message of a sustainable environment. Colleges and universities did their bit by raising their voice against the consistent damage to the earth. These were joined by emerging environmental activists who were already fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife. A revolution of sorts, Earth day slowly spread across the world and today, is celebrated by more than a billion people every year.

 

 Q. How can you contribute?

A. You can simply spend the whole day in awareness of the earth; with an intention to ensure that every action you take is in favour of the planet you inhabit. Small things like closing the tap while you are brushing your teeth, not taking the car to work, choosing an organic salad over a burger that carries not just extra mayo but also huge carbon footprint, saving electricity by unhooking the plug when your phones and laptops are charged, purchasing a small plant on your way back from work, giving up TV for a day, and doing a twenty minute cleanup to ensure your home is plastic free.

 

International World Bicycle Day | June

Q. What is it?

A. World Bicycle Day recognises and celebrates the bicycle as a clean and environmentally fit mode of transport – one that is not just conducive to health but is also friendly on the pocket. Its sustainable nature has earned it a day of honour and on this day, people across the world can be seen riding this great example of urban mobility and putting a day’s brake on pollution.

 

Q. How did it originate?

A. Professor of Sociology and advocate of issue related to the environment and climate change, Leszek Sibilski led a campaign to promote a UN Resolution for World Bicycle Day. He gained support from countries across the world, which eventually led to the United Nations General Assembly declaring 3 June as International World Bicycle Day.

 

Q. How can you contribute?

A. In 2018, Delhi and Bangalore celebrated this day which huge enthusiasm. While the national capital saw a sea of cyclists (about 10,000) take to the streets on the Sunday morning to mark this important day, Bangalore wasn’t far behind. The Bicycle Mayor of Bangalore, Sathya Sankaran led the way with 100 cyclists covering 10km on their cycles. This year, you can either look up major city events or bring out your bicycle and explore your neighbourhood – the choice is yours.  

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