There are three dates every person should remember each year: their birthday, valentines day, and new year’s eve. Parents might include children’s birthdays, a wife their spouse, and a brother their younger sibling, but those generally seem to be locked in as the most important days of the year – or in my opinion at least.

Commemoration days are all the rage right now. The amounts of pancake days, international compliment days and national Oreo days is dizzying, so I tend to give them all a miss. I do observe Earth Day and Earth Month because I’ve learned to show appreciation to the people and things that make my life wonderful.

On April 22, 1970, 20 million American citizens took to the streets to protest how consumerist pursuits were happening at the expense of the planet. By 1990, 192 countries had joined the USA in the annual rally to protect the green and blue marble we call home. We have been observing Earth Day, and recently, Earth Month ever since.

While 2018’s theme was “End Plastic Pollution,” and “Environmental & Science Literacy,” was the highlight for 2017s; 2019’s theme is “Protect Our Species.”

Bees, giraffes, whales, elephants, coral, and some species of insects have been selected as the six animals to represent the endangered species of the world. It is all our responsibility to protect these creature. In order to do that, we need to understand what might be killing them so we can find a solution:

BEES

Colony-collapse syndrome (CCS) is the leading cause of bee endangerment, and it can easily be stopped by simple changes like organic pesticides and permaculture. Learn more about making your garden a bee, bird and bug haven so you can teach your friends.

GIRAFFES

Incredibly sad how these majestic creatures have slipped onto an endangered list through threat by illegal poachers and a loss of habitat. We need to protect giraffes, or risk losing them like we nearly did the white rhino.

WHALES

Though these mammals have a low reproduction rate, they were hunted relentlessly during the 1800s and 1900s. The sorry state of our oceans has further threatened their species.

CORAL

Did you know that since 2016, half the coral in the Great Barrier Reef has died. With it, marine life has become endangered because its natural habitat is withering away. It is vital that as we keep our forests and farms healthy, we keep the oceans and skies clean too. Global warming has contributed to this and created what can only be seen as ghost towns in the oceans. Ghost coral, or coral bleaching, is caused by the increase in the temperature of oceans – subsequently resutling in all dependent marine life dying too. People are able to do their bit for global warming through the simple acts of eating less meat or just supporting local produce.  

ELEPHANTS

The tale of these friendly giants is also quite heartbreaking. Hunted mainly for their tusks, mutilated elephants are often left to bleed to death.

INSECTS

Loathe the common house fly if you must, but it – like most insects – plays a vital role in the food chain. Butterflies, gnats and other small insects are our primary pollinators, and they provide food for birds and reptiles.

 

CREATIVE WAYS TO CELEBRATE THE EARTH:

For adults:

Anyone who is of the opinion that old dogs can’t be taught new tricks, clearly doesn’t know how to negotiate an effective rewards system. I managed to convince my mother to recycle by explaining how, as a farmer, her irresponsible habits were affecting her bottom line. You can do the same with you stubborn friends and family members.

Grown-ups might not respond to a prize for the prettiest plastic-bottle doll, but they might be incentivised by a bottle of wine.

Host an eco-education evening by presenting your guest with practical information they can use every day. Teach your loved ones everything from making their own compost and starting a veggie patch, to breaking down what a plastic-free life looks like. You’ll be amazed to see how quickly they change their habits when they realise how easy environmentally friendly alternatives are to implement.

Get your tech-savvy teens involved by starting a hashtag. If you want it to be effective, it must be interactive so make it fun and lighthearted but remember that it needs to bring attention to the environment.

 

If you have kids:

It’s always a great idea to get them into the healthy habit of earth conservation. Get them excited by a hands-on project and plant a tree with them. Not only will they enjoy the reward of creating something, but they will get to watch their project grow and positively influence the environment over the years too.

You can get the little ones to do pretty much anything if you throw ‘party’ at the end of it, so why not host a recycling party? Invite your neighbours children to bring along some of their recyclable trash and you can offer fun prizes for the kid who upcycles the most creative craft.

Organise a pick-up picnic for your block. Host one every weekend of Earth Month; invite families along to come clean up the trash at your local park, beach, or any other public area. Encourage families to pack a picnic basket of nibbles, organise a few soccer balls, frisbees and cricket gear so families can have a fun day out after they’ve done their bit for the environment.