Environmental days to engage your staff in sustainability issues
Running a business and doing your best for the environment can be hectic.It is easy to lose sight of what inspired you to act in the first place. The yearly calendar of environmental “days” is a great way to help you and your staff stay engaged in the global environmental movement.
The United Nations-led World Water Day focuses on the importance of freshwater to life on earth. It also highlights Sustainable Development Goal 6: ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. World Water Day 2020 was about the link between water and climate change, and called on policymakers to put water access and sustainable management at the heart of climate action plans. It’s particularly pertinent now as handwashing is promoted to manage the COVID-19 outbreak. If you wish to support this initiative a toolkit is available on the World Water Day website to help share the message.
Organised by WWF, Earth Hour is an annual event to encourage individuals, families, communities and businesses to turn off all non-essential lights for an hour between 8.30 and 9.30pm on a chosen date at the end of March. WWF New Zealand gives businesses the opportunity to sign up to switch off, register their support through a pledge, and join or host an Earth Hour event. Information, resources, and details for next year are available on the dedicated Earth Hour website.
Earth Day is a great opportunity to celebrate grassroots action for the protection of our environment. Beginning in 1970 when 20 million Americans demonstrated across university campuses, schools and communities, Earth Day is now observed in 192 countries and celebrated by over a billion people. The theme for Earth Day 2020 (the 50th anniversary) was climate action. Earth Day activities included the Great Global CleanUp, advocacy and education initiatives, and art exhibitions that explore our connection with nature. Businesses and their staff can join or even host a local event.
This UN–sanctioned day highlights threats facing biodiversity worldwide. The 2020 theme is our solutions are in nature, which argues that increased biodiversity is the answer to many entrenched environmental and social issues, including access to health food, fighting climate change, and species protection. The Day is about promoting awareness through community tree planting events and local biodiversity tours.
UN World Environment Day encourages worldwide awareness and action to protect the environment. Every year has a different host country and theme, which highlights the unique environmental faced by the host, and supports worldwide efforts to address them. This year's host is Colombia with the theme biodiversity; Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries on Earth and home to over 51,000 species, many of them threatened or endangered.
New Zealand hosted 2008 World Environment Day, based on the theme Kick the Habit – Towards a Low Carbon Economy, which recognised New Zealand’s early commitment to achieving carbon neutrality.
World Oceans Day aims to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the oceans, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the oceans, and mobilise people to promote the sustainable management of the world's oceans. It’s is a great opportunity to teach young people about the importance of our oceans and what needs to be done to look after them. There is an opportunity to host events such as pledge commitments, film screenings and community clean-ups.
Plastic Free July
The Ministry for the Environment estimates that New Zealanders send approximately 200,000 tonnes of plastic to landfill every year, roughly half of which is packaging. Plastic Free July is about taking action, and sets participants the goal of refusing all single use plastic for the month. It’s a great challenge to set up for your staff and colleagues in your business. Sign up online.
Conservation Week was started in 1969 by the New Zealand Scout Association and is now run by the Department of Conservation. It is a celebration our unique natural fauna and flora, and a reminder that 4,000 of New Zealand’s native animals and plants are threatened or at risk. A big part of Conservation Week is community involvement through organised events. Businesses are welcome to run their own events, support Conservation Week via social media or donate to DOC’s conservation partners.
With the objective of tackling the global proliferation of solid waste, World Cleanup Day aims to mobilise people to take part in clean-up activities all on the same day. In 2019 more than 20 million people in 180 countries volunteered to clean up rubbish and mismanaged waste from beaches, rivers, forests, and streets. You can join this one-day civic action against waste by registering you and your business for a local clean up or mapping where rubbish is by using the TrashOut! App.
NZ Recycling Week – 19-25 October
Recycling Week is not just about learning good recycling habits, it’s about making people aware of the full range of procurement, usage and disposal practices that contributes to the build-up of waste in our society. Each day of Recycling Week features a theme to challenge you and your business to re-think your recycling and waste-disposal habits. You can engage your staff and key stakeholders with a number of fun activities each day to identify and minimise waste, make better procurement decisions, and reuse, swap and recycle where they can.
We hope these are a great environmental planner for your staff and colleagues. If you have any others that you think are vital to include, let us know!
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