Earth Day Goes International

 

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10 Grassroots Ways Peace Corps Volunteers Make Every Day Earth Day
Source: Peace Corps

On Tuesday, April 22 we celebrated Earth Day—a day celebrated around the world to build awareness and support for protecting the environment. The first Earth Day was celebrated in the United States in 1970 and gained international recognition twenty years later. This year, in 2014, over one billion people from across 192 different countries participated in a range of events in celebration of Earth Day.

The international Earth Day network is centered around a Green Cities campaign. This initiative strives to help cities accelerate their transition to a cleaner, healthier, and more economically viable future through improvements in efficiency, investments in renewable technology, and regulation reform. A special focus is placed on three key areas: energy, green buildings, and transportation. The campaign incorporates an informational website as well as a series of in-depth toolkits to help educate the public about these important topics.

It was through the lens of this campaign that hundreds of Earth Day events were held throughout the world. These events brought communities together to clean cities, neighborhoods, ocean fronts, and mountain sides. They placed a spotlight on organizations that work daily to educate communities about the importance of environmental protection, as well as students and youth who strive to make a difference. A full list of the various Earth Day events are the globe are found, here. Some examples of programs in different countries:

  • In Belarus, school children and volunteers met at the Minsk Zoo to help clean up trash and garbage at the zoo.
  • In Belize, the University of Belize-Punta Gorda plans to host an Earth Day fair on April 30. During this day, university students will present about environmentalism to local primary schools. The fair will also feature environmental competitions for poetry, posters, and “trashion fashion.”
  • In Chile, students at the International Preparatory School celebrated earth day by creating their own sustainable city. Students were told to take into consideration a variety of factors including water management, waste disposal, energy production, transportation, energy efficient buildings, lifestyle choices, and food production.
  • In China, a group of hikers climbed the Great Wall of China (in Huanghaucheng) outside Beijing as part of a group effort to clean up the international wonder.
  • In Fiji, the University of Fiji hosted its first ever Earth Day event featuring a clean-up event to improve waste management on campus and help students learn about environmental responsibility and the importance of caring for their islands.
  • In Mongolia, a film festival was hosted by the United States Embassy in Mongolia and featured environmentally-themed movies that address environmental issues.
  • In Uganda, a town-cleaning and tree-planting day took place along with the introduction of new trash receptacles. It truly was a celebration with live music and a full day of activities.
  • In the United States, an Earth Day Festival will be held in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania on April 26 from 9-3pm. This family-friendly festival will feature live music, workshops, kids’ activities, food, and merchants with eco-friendly products.

If you are looking for your own way to celebrate Earth Day in your classroom or in your community, it’s not too late. Take a look at some of the activity ideas highlighted by the Green Schools Initiative.

In addition, the Peace Corps website provides some great resources in teaching about Earth Day, as well as the environment and agriculture issues. Be sure to test your environmental knowledge by taking the Peace Corps challenge—an interactive game that highlights the daily environmental challenges faced by Peace Corps volunteers.

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