This Thursday, April 22, will be the world’s 51st Earth Day, an annual event held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Since 1970, the inauguration year of the annual Earth Day and celebration of the earth and its environment and the proliferation of information on the ways in which we can protect it, April 22 has been an important date serving as the launching day for a number of significant affirmative global events. One such event happened to be the commencing of the 2016 Paris Agreement, the international treaty on climate change.
Earth Day has since transformed into a day in which a wide variety of activities geared toward environmental protection ranging from conferences and panel discussions to global clean up events are organized via Earthday.org. The website is extremely informative and user-friendly and includes a global map denoting all events that will be held worldwide, online and otherwise. It serves as a portal for anyone who wants to host their own event and will provide information and access to the wide variety of events that have been organized worldwide for the day and involve approximately 1 billion people and nearly 200 different countries. Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the date’s launch and it was also celebrated with a variety of events held online. The digital tradition continues this year for many of the events and serves to break down the borders of location and accessibility by being open to anyone and everyone via the internet.
While there will be hundreds of events held worldwide, with information accessible via the earthday.org’s interactive map, the organization itself will be hosting “Three Days of Climate Change,” a three-day conference involving multiple seminars, panels and presentations. The event kicks off on Tuesday, April 20 with a global youth summit led by Earth Uprising that in addition to panels, discussions and presentations will also have messages by the world’s most famous youth climate activists Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Villasenor and Licypriya Kangujam.
In the evening on Tuesday, there will be the “We Shall Breathe” virtual summit, which will examine the climate and environmental justice on issues such as poverty, pollution, police brutality and the pandemic from a racial justice standpoint.
On Wednesday, April 21, there will be a “Teach for the Planet: Global Education Summit,” which will feature activities and discussions from countries all over the world focusing on the very important roles educators can play in transformative climate education.
On Thursday, April 22, Earthday.org will be hosting a live digital event starting at 12 p.m. EDT centered on the theme of “Restore our Earth” and will feature a variety of workshops, panels and special performances to promote green technologies and to share innovative methods to restore the world’s ecosystem such as reforestation, regenerative agriculture and global cleanups. The event will be available for live streaming via Earthday.org and the organization’s various social media outlets, including the earthdaynetwork on Instagram.
One of the highlights of this year’s events commemorating Earth Day 2021, will be a very special “Leaders Summit on Climate Change,” held on April 22-23 and hosted by United States President Joe Biden. This virtual event, in which Biden will convene with 40 world leaders including Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other environmentally-geared leaders such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau coupled with leaders from countries that are charged with being the highest pollutants, such as China and India, and will serve as an opportunity for the new president to pledge his intentions to combat climate change through a clean energy revolution for businesses and creating jobs for U.S. citizens while doing so. The event will be livestreamed for public viewing from a link made available closer to the date.
On Tuesday, April 20 the Turkish-American Association ConnectUSA will be hosting a very special Earth Day webinar event entitled “Embassy Talks: Join us to celebrate Earth Day!” held in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy in Ankara that will feature U.S. Embassy Foreign Service Officer Amy Lillis, discussing the best practices and approaches on how we can work together to restore our earth. This one-hour event will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will take place in English over Zoom. It is easy to sign up via the Earthday.org world map of events on the day.
Earthday.org is an amazing resource to learn more about ways we can help to protect this planet and has a vast amount of information made available including the 12-hour footage of last year’s 50-year celebration of Earth Day, which included prominent speakers and musical performers that came together for this critical cause. Not only are visitors to the website able to create and advertise their own Earth Day event but with dots on the map, it is easy to find other events being held worldwide both online and on site. The majority of onsite events held this year, as the world is in the throes of contending with the COVID-19 pandemic, happen to be clean-up events, which have actually never been so important especially considering the addition of masks to the overwhelming trash that is taking over our planet. Clean-up events are generally outdoor gatherings in which volunteers pick up litter in designated locations. While there are a number of organizations in Turkey that regularly organize these types of events, such as Tidy Turkey and Miss Gibi Bodrum, there are also two clean up events designated on the Earthday.org website, one of which will be held in Bursa and the other in Istanbul’s Balat.
Early birds Yabangee, Istanbul&I and Inshirah Collective, three organizations based in Istanbul that involve expats and assisting displaced communities, banded together to host a very special full-day event last Sunday in honor of Earth Day. Entitled “Earth Day 2021: Building a Sustainable Istanbul,” the event had guest speakers Dr. Hayat Alp from Hayatın Sofrası discussing maintaining a sustainable kitchen, sustainability expert and blogger of Multitude of Ones Jodie Harburt providing concrete examples of sustainable living and Elif Çatıkkaş of Kokopelli Şehirde who gave a workshop on Bokashi Composting. The event concluded with a screening of three short films featured in the Sustainable Living Film Festival. I watched the free virtual event and found it invigorating and inspiring, but luckily for those who may have missed it, the entire nearly eight-hour event will be made available for online viewing by the organizers in the very near future.
If you haven’t heard of the Inshirah Collective yet, you should as it is an organization of refugee women that create wonderfully handcrafted products by upcycling textile waste. Products include, but are certainly not limited to, fabric masks, bags and washcloths and they are holding a special sale for Earth Day on their shop on Etsy.
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