The International Mother Earth Day, named after the UN and celebrated for the first time on April 22, 1970, was a date marked on the calendar as the first environmental milestone for the planet: more than 20 million people took to the streets to raise awareness of the impact of human activity on the environment. This year marks Earth Day 52 years, and it has reached billions of people around the world. (NATGEO, 2022)
Guatemala, through Decree 36-96, joined a list of countries that followed this initiative, by declaring April 22 as “Earth Day.” Finally, in 2009, the UN established April 22 as “International Mother Earth Day“, with the aim of complementing the commemoration that has been taking place since the 1970s, through the interpretation that Mother Earth Earth is what provides us with life, and as living beings that inhabit it, we must respect and protect it. (CONAP, 2022)
Photography by Victor Mendoza, iPhone 11, Lagunita Creek, Río Sarstún, October 2021.
Our planet is currently experiencing various environmental problems. The change in land use due to agricultural and livestock extensions, the great problem of solid waste, the acceleration of eutrophication in water bodies due to poor management of wastewater, among others, are negative anthropogenic actions that threaten and contribute to the loss of biological diversity globally and the acceleration of climate change.
Mother Earth clearly asks us to act. The oceans fill with plastics and become more acidic. Extreme heat, wildfires, floods, and other weather events have affected millions of people. Today we are facing COVID -19, a global health pandemic with a strong relationship with human health and our ecosystem. (UN, 2022)
Drone photography by Haniel López, Lagunita El Salvador, El Golfete, Río Dulce. September 2021
The commemoration of Earth Day should be used to promote and encourage actions that can achieve great changes. It is important to promote activities that reduce your carbon footprint, your water footprint, contamination, and destruction of ecosystems, using efficiently and rationally the goods and services that the Earth provides us.
In this space, the FLAAR Mesoamerica Research Team shares the following tips that you can put into practice so that we can contribute to the care of our planet.
- Make a compost bin at home to manage your organic waste and prevent contamination of soil, water, and atmosphere, in addition to generating a fertilizer for your garden.
- Consume local products. This helps reduce carbon emissions and strengthen the local economy.
- Know your immediate environment and become aware of the effect of your actions on it.
- Think about the process behind each of the products you use or consume and learn more about what it takes for you to obtain them.
- Self-sufficiency is good for the planet. A garden at home is a great way to do it, it also obtains fresh products, captures CO2, and attracts pollinators.
- Do not waste water in your daily activities, do not let the water run, and check that there are no leaks.
- Avoid unnecessary energy consumption by turning off the lights that you are not using and if there are devices in your house that you do not use constantly (washing machine, television, fans, etc.), disconnect them when you do not use them. This reduces energy consumption in your home and is more economical!
- Bring your own bags when shopping, buy in bulk, and try to choose products with recycled or recyclable packaging that generate as little pollution as possible such as cardboard, paper, and glass.
- Choose sustainable fashion: Reuse clothes that remain in good condition (Going to second-hand stores is the best solution and you will have a unique style)
- Use public transportation or carpool with your friends.
- Use the 3Rs in their correct order: first Reduce your consumption of products, then Reuse your products to finally Recycle your generated waste.
Remember that with small actions we can make big changes.
We only have one Planet Earth Let’s take care of it!
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Written by: Victor Mendoza
Tips, Research Team: (Hurtado, Jerez, Sandoval, Chacón, Toralla & Mendoza)
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