Earth Day has been happening since April 22nd 1970. Beginning in the USA, the Earth Day Network now works with 22,000 partners in 192 countries to promote the environmental movement. Today, more than a billion people take part, and this Earth Day is all about the Green Cities Campaign.
In 2014, more than half of the world’s people live in cities. As our urban populations expand and the effects of climate change worsen, the places we call home need to evolve. Now is the time to invest in renewable energies, efficient building methods, and green transport.
What will the Green Cities campaign focus on?
The way we generate and use our energy today is outdated and inefficient. Our energy comes from fossil fuel power plants which are pumping out greenhouse gases into the air and sending us our energy via inefficient power lines. The future of energy is small-scale, renewable, and clean.
Around the world, our buildings are giving out a third of the greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere. This is thanks to the energy sources we use and the inefficient buildings we live and work in. If we improve energy and water efficiency, reduce waste and pollution, utilise renewable energy sources, and use sustainable building materials, we can bring energy consumption in buildings down by 30-80%.
In 2006, the world’s urban population outnumbered its rural population for the first time in history. Sadly, our transportation infrastructure hasn’t kept up with the growth and we’re still relying more and more on cars to get us around. Transportation is now the fastest-growing greenhouse gas emitter, and already makes up 24% of emissions around the world. With investment, we can improve existing public transportation networks and develop more sustainable transportation technology to create efficient, low-emission vehicles. We also need to focus on more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly cities, so we can avoid fuelled transportation as much as possible.
You can have your say right now by joining the Green Cities online activism campaigns, or if you want to take a more active role in the movement then send an email to email@example.com to let the Earth Day Network know what you would like to do.
Companies, schools, and universities can get involved using one of the Green Cities toolkits.