This article was first published on Qazini.com
Every year, the world celebrates Earth Day on April 21st. Well, everyday should be Earth Day…But this particular day has been set aside to educate, activate and spread word and action for the environmental movement worldwide.
Climate change is occurring at an alarming rate and has many broad-reaching impacts on human health, the economy, and the stability of the natural environment. Increased emissions of greenhouse gases that trap heat and block it from escaping the atmosphere drive significant global disruption to climate systems as we know them. Low-income, indigenous, and communities of color are already bearing the brunt of climate change and are disproportionately on the front lines of environmental disasters. A healthy planet is not an option — it is a necessity.
As a country, Kenya is very vulnerable to climate change since the key drivers of our economy (agriculture, livestock, tourism, forestry, and fisheries) are fundamentally climate-sensitive in their nature. Find out more about our government’s commitments to climate change action
This year’s Earth Day theme is ‘Restore Our Earth’ and this encompasses goals and actions including reforestation, regenerative agriculture and sustainable food, plastic cleanups, climate literacy, and citizen science. From capturing carbon and supporting the health and resilience of communities, to advocating for compulsory, assessed climate education, we have the ability to make lasting changes. We need both big actions and the small actions.
Individual Actions Do Make The Difference
We can all do something to protect our Earth.
Here is some useful information and tips on what you can do as an individual, family, group of friends, community, to take action on Earth Day, and hopefully every day!
- Environmental teach-in toolkit: provides summarized, easy-to-digest information on key environmental issues that you can read and educate your family and friends about. Topics include: climate literacy, forest and freshwater ecosystem services, air and water quality, plastic pollution, biodiversity loss, and more: Teach-in toolkit. When we know better, we do better.
- Watch what you eat: this is a good one for the meat lovers! Food production and consumption, especially of livestock is putting significant pressure on our environment. Why not swap out meat once a week to start, and here are some vegetarian recipes to help you get going: Make your next meal plant-based. I cut meat from my regular diet last year, people don’t quite believe it when you tell them you feel healthier for it. Check out this video (2mins) for some quick facts.
- Plastic pollution: Yes! Kenya has banned single-use plastic bags, one of the first countries globally to do this! But we still use a lot of single-use plastic containers e.g. takeaway meals, and plastic utensils. If you’re ordering for home delivery – maybe you don’t need the utensils? And if you’re picking up your takeaway maybe carry your own re-usable containers. If you’re taking away to eat elsewhere, try carrying your own utensils too. Carry daily reusable utensils. You can also calculate your personal plastic consumption, and take steps to reduce it.
- Trash/Rubbish: Pick up your trash, and throw it in the bin. I appreciate that there aren’t that many bins around sometimes, but your trash is your responsibility. When people litter, throw their trash on the ground, or leave it there (e.g., on the grass where you sat in a park), I always wonder who they believe is supposed to clean up after them and is this something they do in their own homes? So please throw your rubbish in a bin. And if you want to go to the next level start plogging i.e., picking up trash while you are jogging.
- Reduce your CO2 impact: Calculate your and your household’s carbon footprint, and then figure out how you can reduce it.
Every one of us can make a difference in making our Earth (our home) a safer, healthier, and more equitable place to live. It’s time to step up. It’s time to make a change. It’s time to be the change.
When life around the world returns to normal, our world cannot return to business-as-usual. We have the ability to make a difference in every industry, but that can only happen when we work together. Join EARTHDAY.ORG to Restore Our Earth and come together with likeminded citizens around the world, to make clear that climate action and restoration cannot wait.