Today, on 21st September, we celebrate Zero Emission Day. Also called ZeDay, the day is celebrated to spread awareness about the emissions that take place on an everyday basis due to fossil fuels, and also how renewable sources can help us reduce these emissions.
It was started back in 2008, when environmentalist and founder of ZeDay, Ken Wallace, started a website calling for no fossil fuel consumption on 21st September, which as later on accepted as World Zero Emission Day. It was called “A Global Moratorium on Fossil Fuel Combustion on September 21” in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The ZeDay started as a full challenge which included some of the following tasks-
Say no to oil, gas, and coal.
Reduce (or eliminate) the use of electricity generated by fossil fuels.
Emergency operations must continue. Help others.
Enjoy the day!
The campaign then reached many environmentalists, which turned it into a global cause and went online at www.zeroemissionsday.org. People try their best to win this challenge whilst also saving the planet.
There is no doubt that the environment we live in today has got much worse if we compare it with the same a few decades ago. Visible changes are occurring within a couple of years. A substantial portion of these changes is due to the excessive use of fossil fuels for meeting our energy requirements. These emissions have caused us a lot of problems. To name a few, global warming, acid rains, air pollution, respiratory disorders, psychological disorders, and not to forget CLIMATE CHANGE.
In the past few years, we witnessed mass protests and demonstrations against fossil fuel companies. The most striking fact of the movement is the participation of millennials. Greta Thunberg inspired millions across the globe and more people are joining the movement every day. The amount of electricity we use in a day is tremendous. Everyone keeps an eye on TV whilst also checking Instagram feed. Cellphones and laptops go hand in hand. Not to forget the amount of electricity consumed by corporations and factories. We all use power-hungry devices, and we all are hooked to it in such a way, that a minute without a cell phone feels like we are disconnected from the world, even though many of our peers are like a few hundred meters away. Hence celebrating a day, when individuals try to reduce their emission to zero seems like a potential move. It is in simple words, giving the planet a day off.
One would ask, why 21st September? This is the time when the September equinox happens. September Equinox generally occurs between 21st and 24th September. During this period, the days and nights are equal. It marks the beginning of autumn and spring, hence why not start the seasons with little less pollution?
ZeDay is an opportunity for one to educate their peers and family about the effects of emission, one takes out time to reflect upon their actions, and how they affect the planet. Become a champion today by helping at least 1 person realize how to can reduce their emission.
6 Best Ways to Reduce Emission
Reducing emission to zero is literally impossible unless you are a caveman. But I have compiled the easiest ways for a person to reduce their emission.
1. Use less electricity. This is extremely simple. Just consume less electricity. Switch off your fans and lights occasionally and go out for a walk. If you have multiple rooms, and multiple people occupying different rooms, make them sit in a single room, unless its office work. Switch off all lights altogether and go to your terrace and enjoy the sky. Count the stars with your family and have some fun!
Use your electronics LESS. Using a phone just 1 hour less per day will save a lot of electricity over time. You can use that time for recreational activities, engaging in meditations, family games, or hobbies. You will feel more energized and will get more work done. Try not to use a laptop and cell phone together. WhatsApp and other applications mostly have a laptop version available. Hence use them. You can also switch to energy-efficient appliances such as LED bulbs. Air conditioners and refrigerators nowadays come with a rating. The more star it has, the more efficient it is. Hence look for 5 stars while shopping.
2. Ride or walk to work. Cars and motorcycles have a large carbon footprint, hence avoiding them will save a lot.
If your workplace is nearby, then bike or walk. You not only will save the money for gas, but you will also burn those extra calories you will later the day. If your workplace is far, then try to carpool, or take public transport. You can also carpool with your co-workers. Many countries have replaced their public transport with electric versions, hence even much lesser emission.
3. Eat Vegan. There is no doubt that the vegan diet has the lowest carbon footprint than any other diet. If avoiding non-veg food is difficult for you, then try to reduce your meat consumption. Maybe earlier you had meat 4 times a week, then eat 3 times now. It will significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
4. Recycle, Reuse, and Say no to Fast Fashion. In our household, we generally find 2 of most of the items. 2 mugs, 2 scissors, 2 shoes of the same kind. But we all know, deep in our hearts, we use only our favorite one no matter what. Don't buy what you already have. Use your stuff as long as you can. Try to recycle as much as possible and reuse it. Use cartons and cereal boxes to make organizers. I am attaching here a picture of an organizer I made our of cereal boxes.
Often we hang out with your friends in town and go to malls. At the end of the day, we return home bags full of dresses and shoes, half of which we won't even wear a lot of times. Hence say no to fast fashion. Buy quality, not quantity. You can also use your DIY skills and add some glitters or patterns to your old boring t-shirt and make it look cool. You can also find second-hand dresses almost as good as new on many websites. I came across a great thrift shopping website https://www.thredup.com/ You can check this out. Though I could not purchase, given I am Indian, but I hope my readers from the US will find this useful.
5. Plant trees. I think this is the most obvious thing that one has to do. Given that trees provide us with oxygen and are natural air purifiers, it is the most important step here. If you have a backyard, try gardening. You can plant tomatoes which you can later eat in a salad. Or have a beautiful rose plant. Many activists nowadays are protesting against deforestation. Amazon forest is facing such a threat. Voice your concern and let the world leaders know that you are against deforestation and help others understand the consequences of it as well. Read the article here to learn more about carbon footprint- https://www.projecthelpngo.org/post/reduce-your-carbon-footprint
6. Use the power of your vote. Living in a democracy, we often find ourselves unsatisfied with the ways the local authorities run the government. The policies they frame affects not only us, but the next generation as well. Hence make a sensitive choice by voting for a representative who believes in environment conservation. Make your voice count and save the planet.
I hope you have learned something today. If you try one of these, don't forget to let me know. You can drop a mail below, or tag us on Instagram or Facebook. I will add the best submission to this article and the world will know about your actions for saving the planet.
Author: Subhasri Banerjee
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