Sabrina F Ahmad
often do you read the newspaper?" This is the question most teachers
ask with the intention of embarrassing their students (of course they're
not going to admit it!) In most cases, they get a satisfactorily negative
answer. Then they lean back and grumble to their heart's content about
the decline of the reading habit.
While there are
still many who read for pleasure, you'll find a huge number of people
balking when confronted by the spectre of a newspaper. That's because,
when you open one, you are confronted by grim tales of crime and disasters
and pollution. It's so easy to forget that life is still beautiful.
There are so many things to appreciate about life on our home planet,
unbelievable as it may sound to the typical urbanite.
is a thought that gave birth to Earth Day, Earth Day, a global holiday
to celebrate the wonder of life on our planet. The very first Earth
Day was celebrated on March 21, 1970. The first Proclamation of Earth
Day was by San Francisco, the City of Saint Francis, the patron saint
of ecology. Designating the First Day of Spring, March 21, 1970 to
be Earth Day, this day of nature's equipoise was later sanctioned
in a Proclamation signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United
Nations where it is observed each year. Earth Day was firmly established
for all time on a sound basis as an annual event to deepen reverence
and care for life on our planet.
Day is quite a big thing around the world. In America, the activities
start as early as March 3, with themed nature treks, expeditions,
hiking tours, seashore cleanup drives, and other programmes, all leading
up to a big bonanza on March 21. For example, on March 18, the Theodore
Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center, Oyster Bay, New York hosted
a 'Family Yoga in Nature' programme, designed for family members to
bond with their inner selves, with their family members, and with
Nature. On Thursday last, the health-freaks of Fayetteville, AR, came
together for a 10-mile bicycle ride.
Lagos, Nigeria, this year, they had a discussion forum on 'Leadership
for Sustainable Development'. In developing countries, sometime it
is not a problem of lack of policies but of badly designed ones. The
question that was raised in this seminar was: "What is the calibre
of leadership that can successfully deliver effective policies for
sustainable development in this century?”
disappearing wetlands has been a source of concern for Bangladeshis,
so on March 22, the Management of Aquatic ecosystems through Community
Husbandry (MACH) arranged for a 'Save the Wetlands' programme. This
programme, which was observed in Sreemongol and Sherpur, included
discussion sessions, followed by rallies in both areas. Other than
that, universities and other educational institutes around the country
had their own programmes to observe this day.
There were also
various programmes all over Canada, starting from April 25 to April
27, including special dramas for children and other environment-based
awareness programmes. These are just a few examples…
Day is a big event all over the globe, and most countries have issues,
be they social, political, or even environmental, that they want to
address on this day, and everyone has a different way of observing
Day has already passed, but should its spirit die down for the rest
of the year? Just for one day, you could chuck all negative thoughts
out the window, and try to be optimistic about life around you. Yes,
there is crime, there is pollution, and there is always human conflict.
There are also many opportunities to do so. It doesn't have to be
something big. Plant a tree. Smell the flowers. Give the rickshaw-wallah
an extra tip. Call your Grandparents up and surprise them. Tell your
boss how important s/he is to you. Why do you have to wait for March
21 to do any of these? If every day was celebrated, cherished and
lived in the spirit of Earth Day, the world would be a much better
place…and we'd probably read the paper more often.