Friday, May 26, 2017 From bat walks to trashion shows: 7 great ways citizens plan to celebrate
Connect with nature

Beyond the many events staged by governments and UN Environment, people and businesses worldwide are gearing up for World Environment Day. They have already found many creative ways to connect with nature. Here is a selection of activities already registered. Click here to find an event near you or register your own!

Get active!

Students in Ibadan, Nigeria are urging people to take a stand against environmental pollution and join their ‘March for Nature’. Serious hikers will be heading for Mount Makeling, 70 kilometres south of the Philippine capital, Manila. Everyone is welcome for a walk and picnic in Hamoon Park, in the Iranian city of Karaj. Divers will be restoring the coral reefs around the Mexican island of Cozumel. And there will be a ‘slow cycling’ competition in Palghar, India.

After sundown in the Italian city of Spoleto, bat experts armed with ultrasonic detectors will lead walkers around its imposing medieval fortress to connect them with these mysterious flying mammals.

Greening your mind

Schoolchildren in Manipur, India will be involved in tree-planting, a painting competition and a walk-and-talk with nature. Kids will be playing ‘Environmental Detectives’ at the Katathani resort on the Thai island of Phuket. And a whole early learning centre in Woodend, Australia is decamping to the park for a day of play and exploration.

Adults also have plenty to learn about the natural world. Shoppers in Georgetown, Malaysia, will be urged not to waste food and shown how to compost what still ends up in the trash. In New Zealand, an Auckland hospital is holding a ‘green expo’ to encourage staff and visitors to reduce their carbon footprints. And the film ‘A Plastic Ocean’ will screen in Geneva, Switzerland, to highlight the harm done by marine litter.

Sustainable entrepreneurs

In Mali, hundreds of women and young entrepreneurs are expected to attend a ‘Green Business’ workshop in the capital Bamako. Orora Packaging is organizing a photo competition and a mass picnic in Sydney, Australia. And UK waste management company ISS is challenging everyone to shun throwaway drinks cups, packaged snacks and plastic bags and produce zero waste on 5 June. There’s a video to show you what not to do.

Other companies making an effort include carmaker Opel (at its works near Zaragoza, Spain), Indian beauty products firm Emami, Bouygues Group in Doha, Qatar, and Thailand’s Siam City Cement.

Cleaning up

Hundreds of schools in Canada are doing the Plastic Bag Grab Challenge in the six weeks between Earth Day and World Environment Day. Last year, the challenge collected more than 2 million bags for recycling. More clean-ups are taking place in the city of Xalapo, Mexico, the Indian lake city of Nainital, and in the Johannesburg suburb of Fordsburg, South Africa (hosted by a local beauty queen).

Huge amounts of plastic end up in our oceans and rivers, and people of all ages will be gathering litter from the beaches of Kribi, Cameroon, at Whyalla on Australia’s south coast, and at Kiotari on the Greek island of Rhodes. Volunteers will also pull garbage from the Nidelva River near Trondheim, Norway, the Nazas River in the Mexican state of Coahuila, and from the beaches of the Caspian Sea near Baku, Azerbaijan.

Tomorrow’s forests

Hundreds of children will be planting trees in the Karura Forest, a green urban oasis in Nairobi, Kenya. Communities around Lennox Head, Australia, will be holding their 15th annual tree-planting day to restore the rainforest that was present there until the eighteenth century. Trees for Life Canada is rallying elementary schools to plant 20,000 of them on 5 June; and Operation Raleigh is leveraging World Environment Day for its ’50 million trees for 50 million people’ campaign in Tanzania.

Citizen science

Recording what you see in nature can help scientists work out which species of plant and animal and which places need protection. Parks Canada is holding BioBlitz nature mapping as well as learn-to-camp activities across Canada, from Rouge National Urban Park in Toronto to the campus of the University of Alberta. To the south, Shubenacadie Wildlife Park in the US state of Nova Scotia is hosting a scavenger hunt for specific plants, animals and insects. The park is also running guided bird walks as well as animal tracking for kids.

Learn more about citizen science here and here.

Natural culture

Some events seek to tap the imagination and the creative potential of young and old. There is a photo exhibition in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and a green movie night in Mahe, the Seychelles. In Taguig city in the Philippines, contestants in a ‘trashion show’ will strut the catwalk in outfits they have made entirely from recycled materials.

New Delhi will see an exhibition of paintings by artist Dhananjay Mukherjee.

“I feel that nature gives us everything we need in our life, yet we never return the favour,” Mukherjee says. “The purpose of my paintings is to inculcate faith in nature. I believe that through my paintings I can bring people to see the divinity in every green form, be it a plant, a tree trunk or even a leaf.”

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