Earth Day Flag / John McConnell
For the last 46 years, Earth Day has been recognized as an annual event that demonstrates global support for the protection of Earth’s environment. 2016 is a benchmark year as a major agreement will enter into force this Earth Day, April 22.
The landmark Paris Agreement is scheduled to be signed by the United States, China, and 120 other countries. The signing of this agreement fulfills a key requirement for the entry into the historic draft climate protection treaty. The treaty was adopted by consensus of the 195 nations in attendance of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
What does this mean? The agreement sits within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Starting in 2020, this agreement will shape new initiatives dealing with greenhouse gas emission mitigation, adaption, and finance.
In the last few decades, enormous strides have been made in new clean energy technology and sustainability solutions. The world is changing as more members of the public become educated on emissions of c02, plastic waste, marine debris, and toxic industrial waste.
Small changes have just as much of an impact as major legislation and international agreements. This Earth Day, challenge yourself to make small changes. Your efforts change the world.
- Switch to reusable shopping bags for your groceries to lessen your consumption of plastics.
- Stop purchasing bottled water and use a BPA free reusable bottle. In most states, tap water goes through stricter regulations and testing than bottled water. This move reduces your footprint in a big way.
- Turn off water while brushing your teeth and cut your shower time.
- Sort and recycle cardboard, junk mail, glass and plastics.
- Break apart any objects that could get stuck on an animal’s head or mouth before placing in the trash.
- Make a point to walk, bike, or carpool more often.
- Turn off any unnecessary lights and open windows for sunlight during the day instead of lamps.
- Learn about sustainable seafood practices and incorporate your knowledge in your diet as well as any seafood you may purchase for your pets.
These may seem like simple switches, but it takes time for new habits to stick. By lessening your carbon footprint, you are doing a great service to your environment. When we think about recycling and making positive strides toward a cleaner world, many of us first obtained this knowledge from visits to our local zoos and aquariums.
Zoological facilities have instilled core conservation values in us as children and to our own children. Conservation awareness and environmental stewardship begins with education, a connection, and a spark of inspiration. We care for what we see, hear, touch, and connect with. We owe our future generations the same opportunities to learn about the planet and its wildlife through accredited educational zoological facilities. Your continued patronage to your local zoo and aquarium is a show of support for global conservation initiatives, wildlife research, and educational programs to bring that research to our communities.
Conservation for a brighter future starts with you. Click here to learn more about what we do here at Zoo Nation and what you can do to help.