The Environment Chronicle
Notable environmental events
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Tony de Brum saw the effects of rising seas from his home in the Marshall Islands and became a leading advocate for the landmark Paris Agreement and an internationally recognized voice in the fight against climate change. De Brum, who was the Pacific nation's climate ambassador and former foreign minister, died on 22 August 2017 in the capital Majuro. He was 72.
On 16 August 2017, Wayne Lotter, 51, was shot and killed by an unknown gunman in the Masaki district of the city of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Lotter was a director and co-founder of the PAMS Foundation, an NGO that provides conservation and anti-poaching support to communities and governments in Africa. Since starting the organisation in Tanzania in 2009, he had received numerous death threats relating to his work. The PAMS Foundation funded and supported Tanzania’s elite anti-poaching National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit (NTSCIU) which was responsible for arrests of major ivory traffickers including Yang Feng Glan, the so-called “Queen of Ivory” and several other notorious elephant poachers. Since 2012, the unit has arrested more than 2,000 poachers and ivory traffickers and has a conviction rate of 80%. The NTSCIU was recently featured in the Netflix documentary The Ivory Game. In a previous interview, Lotter said he believed its work had helped to reduce poaching rates in Tanzania by at least 50%. Lotter rarely took credit for PAMS’ success in helping reduce poaching rates in Tanzania, and was always quick to credit the work of the communities and agencies he worked with. Lotter was a big figure in the international conservation community, having served on the boards of several conservation groups and was the Vice President of the International Ranger Federation.
What started as a grassroots initiative through an EU funded LIFE project in Spain is now becoming an official European day. In a ceremony on 15 May 2017 Commissioner for Environment, Karmenu Vella, Chairwoman of the European Parliament's Environment Committee, Adina-Ioana Valean, First Vice-President of the Committee of the Regions, Karl-Heinz Lambertz, and Neil Kerr, Deputy Permanent Representative of Malta signed a joint declaration to proclaim 21st May as the "European Natura 2000 Day", Europe's network of protected areas. It will be celebrated annually across Europe.
Since 1997 the Bat Night is organised under the auspices of the Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats (EUROBATS). The Bat Night has taken place every year in more than 30 countries on the last full weekend of August. Nature conservation agencies and NGOs from across Europe pass on information to the public about the way bats live and their needs with presentations, exhibitions and bat walks, often offering the opportunity to listen to bat sounds with the support of ultrasound technology.
The first International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem was celebrated on 26 July 2016, to mark the critical importance of mangroves for food security, coastal protection, and mitigation of the impacts of climate change. The proclamation of the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem – which was adopted in November 2015 by the General Conference of UNESCO – underlined the importance of the mangrove ecosystem as a “a unique, special and vulnerable ecosystem, providing by virtue of their existence, biomass and productivity substantial benefits to human beings, providing forestry, fishery goods and services as well as contributing to the protection of the coastline and being particularly relevant in terms of mitigation of the effects of climate change and food security for local communities.”
The World Fish Migration Day (WFMD) is a one day global celebration to create awareness on the importance of open rivers and migratory fish. On World Fish Migration Day organizations from around the world organize their own event around the common theme of: CONNECTING FISH, RIVERS AND PEOPLE. WFMD is celebrated every second year on the 3rd Saturday in May.
On 6 August 2015 Pope Francis declared September 1 as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, as the Orthodox Church has done since 1989.
April 25th is World Penguin Day, possibly because this marks the start of the return of Adelie Penguins to their breeding grounds. Of the 18 species of penguins alive today, 11 are listed as threatened with extinction by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature).
International Polar Bear Day is a holiday celebrated every February 27 to raise awareness about the conservation status of the polar bear. International Polar Bear Day is organized by Polar Bears International to raise awareness about the impact of global warming and reduced sea ice on polar bear populations.
World Cities Day was established on 27 December 2013 by the General Assembly in it’s resolution A/RES/68/239, in which the General Assembly “decides to designate 31 October, beginning in 2014, as World Cities Day, invites States, the United Nations system, in particular UN-Habitat, relevant international organizations, civil society and all relevant stakeholders to observe and raise awareness of the Day […]“ The general theme of World Cities Day is Better City, Better Life. The first World Cities Day on 31 October 2014 was hosted by Shanghai Municipality, in the People’s Republic of China.
The Ocean Conservancy, formerly known as the Center for Marine Conservation, established and maintains the annual International Coastal Cleanup Day (ICC). The first cleanup was in 1986 in Texas, and the campaign currently involves all of the states and territories of the United States and more than 100 countries around the world. The ICC is the largest volunteer environmental data-gathering effort and associated cleanup of coastal and underwater areas in the world. It takes place every year on the third Saturday in September. In 2013, over 648,015 volounteers across the world participated in the ICCC. They removed about 12,329.332 pounds of debris from more than 12,914 miles of coasts, shorelines, and underwater sites.
On 20 December 2013, the Sixty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly decided to proclaim 3 March, the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as World Wildlife Day, to celebrate and raise awareness of the world's wild fauna and flora. In its resolution, the General Assembly reaffirmed the intrinsic value of wildlife and its various contributions, including ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic, to sustainable development and human well-being, and recognized the important role of CITES in ensuring that international trade does not threaten the species' survival.
On 12 August 2012, the first World-Elephant-Day was launched.
Based on the proposition of allergologist Prof. Dr. Kristof Nekam and Dr. Tamas Komives (President of IRS) the General Assembly of IRS (held in Ascona, Switzerland on October 6, 2011) proclaimed the first Saturday of the summer The International Ragweed Day (IRD) to increase understanding and awareness of the problem this invasive weed causes all over the world. The day was chosen because it is early in the growing season of the plant thereby gives enough time for preparations and actions.
On 12 June 2012 Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences, died at the age of 78. Ostrom received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for her groundbreaking research demonstrating that ordinary people are capable of creating rules and institutions that allow for the sustainable and equitable management of shared resources.
Africa Environment Day, celebrated annually on 3 March, was established by the Organization of African Unity in 2002 as a way of raising awareness of the pressing environmental challenges facing the continent. Since 2012, the Africa Environment Day has been celebrated in conjunction with Wangari Maathai Day, in order to pay tribute to the late Nobel Laureate's green legacy.
On July 3rd takes place the international Plastic Bag-Free Day organised by GAIA, Zero Waste Europe and the Fundació Prevenció de Residus i Consum.
2010 is the second year of cooperation of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), which initiated the Wind Day campaign, and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) in the organisation of the Global Wind Day. On 15 June thousands of public events will be organised simultaneously. The Global Wind Day is an awareness campaign for the promotion of wind energy worldwide.
The "European Climate Teach-In Day" was hold on the 5th June 2009. It is organized by the Research and Transfer Centre Applications of Life Sciences of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany (HAW Hamburg), as part of the "International Climate Change Information Programme" led by HAW Hamburg. The "European Climate Teach-in Day" is being organized in partnership with the European Commision, the European Space Agency, the European Environment Agency, the UN Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organisation.
The first Annual Save The Frogs Day was celebrated on April 28th, 2009. Dr. Kriger is the Founder & Executive Director of SAVE THE FROGS!, the world's leading amphibian conservation organization. He conceived and coordinates Save The Frogs Day, the world's largest day of amphibian education and conservation action
The European Maritime Day will be celebrated on 20 May each year. It is an occasion to highlight the crucial role played by the Oceans and Seas and will contribute to a better visibility of the maritime sectors and more recognition of the importance they play in everyday life.
The first ‘Tag der Sonne’ was celebrated in Austria in 2002. The idea was then taken up by Switzerland and Germany where, in the case of Germany a whole week is now dedicated to this successful renewable energy awareness-raising campaign. As an awareness raising campaign, the European Solar Days aim to promote the use of the sun as an energy source for all solar applications, Solar Thermal and Photovoltaic, throughout Europe. The first European Solar Days were celebrated in May 2008 when over 4000 different events were staged in 13 European countries.
The Blue Angel has stood for high standards in environmental protection for 30 years. It is an important instrument in achieving the goals set by the federal government in climate and resource protection. Its success and worth have high credibility among consumers, for 80 per cent of citizens in Germany recognise the Blue Angel, and many consumers use the environmental label for orientation when making daily purchases.
World Ranger Day commemorates rangers killed or injured in the line of duty, and celebrates the work rangers do to protect the world’s natural and cultural treasures. World Ranger Day is observed annually on the 31st of July, and is promoted by the 54 member associations of the International Ranger Federation, by our partner the Thin Green Line Foundation, and by individuals who support the work of Rangers and the IRF. The first World Ranger Day was observed in 2007 on the 15th anniversary of the founding of the IRF.
World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) was initiated in 2006 and is a global awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the protection of migratory birds and their habitats. On the second weekend each May, people around the world take action and organize public events such as bird festivals, education programs and bird watching excursions to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day and to help raise awareness around a specific theme. The first ever World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) took place on the weekend of 8-9 April 2006 and focused on the topic “Migratory birds need our support now!”.
The idea of the European Agro-Biodiversity Day (EAD) is to generate public and media attention for the importance of the conservation of the genetic diversity of livestock breeds and cultivated plants. The EAD will promote old and endangered breeds and varieties and their conservation with positive news and, at the same time, emphasise the urgency of conservation efforts. The EAD is always held on 29 September (St Michael's Day).
PARK(ing) Day is a annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Convention for the Protection of the Danube, the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPD) celebrated International Danube Day for the first time on 29 June 2004.
Since 2004 an annual nationwide Action Day Sustainable Washing/Dishwashing [Bundesweiter Aktionstag Nachhaltiges (Ab-)Waschen] has been taking place on 10 May, under the patronage of various outstanding persons.
In 2002, the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans in the Baltic and North Seas (UNEP/ASCOBANS) declared the third Sunday in May of each year as the International Day of the Baltic Harbour Porpoise (IDBHP) in order to raise awareness of the critical situation of the populations of Harbour Porpoises (Phocoena phocoena), the only species of cetacean native to the Baltic Sea.
The Day of the Geotope was organized on 6 October 2002. The main target group was the public which normally have little to do with geosciences. Due to the positive resonance it was decided to have the Day of the Geotope every year in September.
WTO declared its founding day of November 19 as "World Toilet Day" and this is now being celebrated by members all over the world. Thus increasing awareness and generating local action for better sanitation.
On 5 November 2001, the General Assembly declared 6 November of each year as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict (resolution 56/4). In taking this action, it considered that damage to the environment in times of armed conflict impairs ecosystems and natural resources long after the period of conflict, often extending beyond the limits of national territories and the present generation.
The United Nations proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IBD) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. When first created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in late 1993, 29 December (the date of entry into force of the Convention of Biological Diversity), was designated The International Day for Biological Diversity. In December 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted 22 May as IBD, to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on 22 May 1992 by the Nairobi Final Act of the Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity. This was partly done because it was difficult for many countries to plan and carry out suitable celebrations for the date of 29 December, given the number of holidays that coincide around that time of year.
World Turtle Day was initiated in 2000 by the American Tortoise Rescue, a turtle and tortoise rescue organization founded in 1990 in Malibu, California. The group brings attention to turtle conservation issues and highlights ways each of us can help protect these gentle but jeopardized animals.
The European Day of Parks was launched by the EUROPARC Federation with the aim of raising the profile of Europe's protected areas and generating public support for their aims and work. It was first held in 1999 and a broad variety of events in and about protected areas highlighting the need to protect these have been organised. Events have been celebrated across Europe on an annual basis on and around 24 May, a date that has been chosen to commemorate the creation of Europe's first nine national parks in Sweden on 24 May 1909.
April 24, 1996, marked the first Noise Awareness Day spearheaded by the League for the Hard of Hearing in New York City. Today the celebration of this day takes place in more than 40 countries around the World. In Germany this day is organized by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Akustik e.V. (DEGA) since 1998. Usually it is celebrated on one of the two last Wednesday of April.