In 2015, China and India were two of the five largest carbon dioxide emitting countries, which together account for one third of total global emissions. China (with a 29% share in the global total) and India (7%).
Fully aware of the importance and urgency of addressing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and its impact on climate change, both countries are implementing sustainable development strategy, combined with aggressive plans to build a resource-conserving and environmental-friendly society, and innovation-oriented economies.
However, to make this a reality, both governments would need to engage and involve its people to be fully committed to achieve the emission goals, which brings us to the Earth Day theme for 2017:
Environmental and Climate Literacy. Environmental and climate literacy is the engine not only for creating green voters and advancing environmental and climate laws and policies but also for accelerating green technologies and jobs.
Earth Day in China
Earth Day Network (EDN) kicked off its “Billion Acts of Green” (BAG) campaign again in March to celebrate Earth Day 2017 in China. Governments, civil societies and concerned citizens have joined together to fight against climate change and to support the environment. This Earth Day, EDN hopes to further broaden the significance of environmental literacy in China.
More than 50 organizations comprises of Student groups, schools and government linked organizations have registered their BAG events.
- Two environmental research centers from Beijing Normal University will jointly hold an environmental teach-in session with topics in meteorology, ecology and remote sensing technique. Featured guest speakers include scientists from China Arctic and Antarctic Program and experts on climate change.
- Volunteers from China University of Mining and Technology will bring a series of fun experiments on water to elementary and middle schools in Xuzhou, hoping to raise the awareness of water conservation among K-12 students.
- Shaanxi Volunteer Mothers Association for Environmental Protection is organizing a charity flea market for elementary school kids to auction their old toys. The money raised by auctions will be donated to planting trees in Qinling Mountains.
- A research team from Tongji Univerisity will conduct surveys and investigations on the air quality in Shandong Province, and use the result to study the Legal System of Interregional Atmospheric Ecological Compensation in Shandong Province.
Earth Day Expo
Earth Day Network is also partnering with the US Embassy in Beijing to host the Earth Day Expo at Beijing American Center. Guest speakers from corporations, NGOs and youth groups will share their professional experience in the environmental industry in China. The event is an excellent learning and networking opportunity for young professionals who want to pursue a future career in green jobs.
“The deepening crisis on the nation’s environment is threatening the safety and health of Chinese people,” says Zengdi Gu, Director of China Programs. “Now is the time to protect the Mother Earth from even the smallest actions. The Earth Day events in China are expecting to reach over 1 million people this year.”
Earth Day in India
In India, Earth Day commemorations will be held across the country, in all of its diverse geographic regions, by government officials to those at the grass roots.
Earth Day Competition
Initiatives across the country include a competition to see which schools run the most innovative commemorations for Earth Day during their morning assembly. Ten best schools will receive solar energy kits. Among the entries received so far are interesting uses of art forms for carrying environment-related messages.
20 roundtables will be held across India, organized in partnership with local organizations are scheduled to bring together educators, policy makers and other stakeholders to identify ways the present environmental education in India can be up-scaled so that students grow to be environmentally-conscious citizens who are inspired to take action for a cleaner world.
Some of the partners include the American Centers, the Center for Environment Education, Sanctuary Asia, Agastya International Foundation, Taru Mitra, and several other organizations.
Earth Day Network, India, will compile the recommendations into a White Paper to be presented to organizations such as the World Bank.
Engaging the citizens of India to take action for the environment, EDN will be running the शहर GREEN करो (make your city green) campaign in 47 cities of India, each with a population of over 1 million. Citizens, NGOs, government departments, educational institutions and others compete by taking the lead to beautify their city, ensure its waste is managed and resources are judiciously used, shift to renewable energies, and more.
Earth Day Concerts
Earth Day concerts are scheduled in different parts of India. In Kolkata, on Earth Day, there will be a concert where popular Bengali-music bands will perform in a park.
Karuna Singh, Country Director, Earth Day Network, India says, “The heat wave in India and the statistics of air pollution in major cities have reinforced the need for people to do their bit for Earth. We expect that Earth Day programs this year will touch many more people than the 35 million it did in 2016.”
Doing Our Part on Earth Day
Environmental literacy begins at home. 5 ways to do our part and teach our children that to care about the environment is by going green commuting on Earth Day. Ditch our car keys and leave your car at home, and pledge to commute in a green way. Show our children that taking public transportation, carpooling, biking and walking will help the environment by reducing CO2 emission.
Also, you might enter city-wide programs or go to act.earthday.org to pledge a new commute option that day.
Let’s do our part on Earth Day and show that we care for our future generation.
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”-Native American Proverb