One way to increase environmental awareness and encourage more people to adopt a green lifestyle and to take climate action is to promote the different environmental events scheduled throughout the year. In this way, people can get organised, mark in their annual calendars and make plans to participate.
Below is the list of global environmental holidays for 2020:
VEGANUARY (January 1-31)
For your new year’s food resolution this 2020, why not go vegan, or at the very least, go vegan in January? Aside from the health benefits of eating plant-based meals, this is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint since animal agriculture takes a huge toll on the environment.
Veganuary is a UK non-profit organization that encourages everyone to shift to a plant-based diet for the whole month of January. Its mission is to start a global movement that promotes food choices that help end animal farming, protect the planet and improve human health.
Get fresh and healthy vegan recipes here.
PENGUIN AWARENESS DAY (January 20)
Penguin Awareness Day is celebrated yearly on January 20. This day is observed to commemorate and celebrate these beautiful creatures. It is also a day to get more people to become aware of the plight of this species.
There are over 18 different species of penguins but their numbers around the world are dwindling. Penguin Awareness Day is a great opportunity to educate ourselves and others about these ‘happy feet’ and a chance for us to find out how we can help in their preservation.
WORLD WETLANDS DAY (February 2)
Wetlands are areas in the ecosystem that are flooded by water permanently or seasonally. Wetlands can be seen as a “biological supermarket” as it is a source of food for many animal species. A wide variety of animal, plant and microbes species form a wetland ecosystem enabling many life forms to thrive. World Wetlands Day is celebrated annually on February 2.
CLEAN UP AUSTRALIA DAY (March 1)
An Australia-wide clean up event to be held on Sunday, 1 March 2020. Organise a local event for your friends, family, workplace or local community to clean up the natural environment. Register your clean up event here and the environmental organisation will send you a free starter kit that contains bags, gloves and everything you need for an impactful and effective event.
WORLD WILDLIFE DAY (March 3)
World Wildlife Day is observed every year on March 3. This year’s theme is “Sustaining all life on earth” which includes all wild animals and plant species. The day aims to highlight their integral role in the world’s biological diversity.
With Australia being ravaged by devastating bushfires caused by severe drought and high temperatures and an estimated one billion animals perishing in the fires, this is the perfect time to demand action from governments, the private sector and individuals to help conserve wildlife in Australia and across the globe.
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FORESTS (March 21)
While there are a lot of reforestation and forest rehabilitation projects and programs happening across the world, landscape degradation and deforestation is still a major problem. Forests are the ‘lungs’ of the earth and are becoming increasingly important as a way to mitigate climate change (trees and plants store carbon) and as habitat to wildlife.
International Day of Forests creates awareness about the importance of all types of forests. The event is observed every year on March 21 but you don’t need to wait for it to come around; you can take action to preserve our forests today.
WORLD WATER DAY (March 22)
Severe drought is just one of the devastating effects of climate change. Countries across the world, both developing and developed, are experiencing drought and water shortages. Without water, there is no life.
World Water Day is observed on March 22 annually and this year’s event is “all about water and climate change”. Take this time to learn more how we can preserve water and come up with more solutions and actions to take climate action.
EARTH HOUR (March 28)
Earth Hour is the largest grassroots movement for the environment. This movement encourages businesses and households to do their bit for the planet by turning off their lights in an effort to address climate change. This year Earth Hour is held on March 28 at 8:30 pm local time.
Fashion Revolution Week (April 20-26)
Launched in response to the Rana Plaza tragedy where 1,134 people lost their lives; most were garment workers producing fashion for some of the world’s biggest fast fashion labels. Fashion Revolution Week is a week-long global event encouraging fashion consumers to find out where their clothes are made and who made them; and push for more transparency from the brands they love. Fashion Revolution Week 2020 will be held April 20-26.
EARTH DAY (April 22)
Earth Day is one of the world’s most celebrated environmental events and falls on April 22. This year marks the 50 year anniversary since its inception, launched in response to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, a book that forced the issue of the negative impacts of synthetic chemicals on the natural environment and wildlife in the public arena.
FOSSIL FOOLS DAY (April 1)
Forget about April Fool’s Day and take part in Fossil Fool’s Day instead. Fossil Fools Days was launched in 2004 with coordinated efforts by both USA and Canada. It is the opportunity for all of us to promote alternative sources of energy, take climate action and to create a clean renewable energy future.
NO MEAT MAY (May 1-31)
An Australian initiative that launched seven years ago challenging people to ditch meat for the month for the climate and human health. The No Meat May campaign encourages people to give up meat and go vegetarian for the entire month of May.
INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY (May 22)
The International Day for Biological Diversity is observed on May 22 every year. The UN General Assembly declared 2011-2020 as the Decade on Biodiversity with the long-term goal of reducing biodiversity loss.
WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY (June 5)
World Environment Day is one of the most important days on the environmental calendar and is the UN’s flaship day for promoting environmental awareness. Last year’s theme was ‘Beat Air Pollution’ and this year’s focus is on biodiversity.
WORLD OCEANS DAY (June 8)
A healthy ocean is necessary for human and animal survival, but with ocean plastic choking marine life and pollution wreaking havoc in the seas, protecting the ocean has never been more important.
World Oceans Day celebrated on June 8 each year, is a day when people around the globe raise awareness of the importance of protecting our shared ocean. But you don’t need to wait until June to do something to protect our blue seas. Embracing a zero waste lifestyle and saying no to single-use plastic will go some way to reduce ocean plastic and protect marine health and of course, our own.
PLASTIC-FREE JULY (July 1-31)
A global movement to encourage people ditch single-use plastic for the month, the Plastic-Free July campaign has grown in popularity over the years. Sign up to a plastic-free July here.
WORLD POPULATION DAY (July 11)
World Population Day is an annual event that falls on July 11. Its goal is to get people focussed on issues as it relates to global population. It is estimated that the world population will reach around 8.5 billion by the year 2030 and with climate change impacting food security and expecting to create millions of displaced people due to uninhabitable lands, this is a touchy, yet necessary discussion that must be had.
INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE OZONE LAYER (September 16)
Three decades ago, chemicals that caused the depletion of the ozone layer were phased out in countries across the world, contributing to the protection of vital ecosystems. This year, the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer held on September 16 will celebrate over 30 years of remarkable global efforts and cooperation in protecting the ozone layer and the climate.
WORLD FOOD DAY (October 16)
World Food Day on October 16 is a day for addressing world hunger. Its mission is to promote awareness and get everyone involved in taking action to help those who are suffering from malnutrition and hunger.
NATIONAL WATER WEEK (October 21-27)
An event observed in Australia, National Water Week aims to raise awareness around the value of water. Given the Australia-wide drought forcing the issue of water scarcity on the national agenda, this is a time for individuals, businesses and governments to protect water resources and use water wisely.
NATIONAL RECYCLING WEEK (November 9-15)
Another week-long event observed in Australia, National Recycling Week aims to promote waste minimisation and recycling initiatives across all sectors of the community; from households through to industry.
WORLD SOIL DAY (December 5)
Healthy soil is vital to human life because without it, there is no sustenance. The first World Soil Day was launched in 2012 and environmental campaign continues, aiming to raise the profile of the need for healthy soil and its role in preserving healthy ecosystems and human health.
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Feature image by Jeremy Bishop.