Earth Day: Fighting climate change

Earth Day: Fighting climate change Staff Reporter / 22 April 2013 What are you going to do to help protect our planet and fight climate change? Get inspired today by checking out ‘Trashion’, created by environmentally-conscious fashionistas making a promise to turn off the lights or the air-conditioning, learn about new green initiatives in the UAE, and swap plastic bags for a better alternative. Today, more than one billion people from more than 192 countries will take part in the 43 rd anniversary of Earth Day by voicing their concerns for the planet and what they will do to protect it. Started in the United States in 1970, Earth Day raises environmental awareness and brings together people from all over the globe to fight for a clean and healthy planet for generations to come. In the UAE, visitors to the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, in the Dubai Mall, are being asked to write down a promise they will make to protect the Earth, on the Underwater Zoo entrance wall screen. This is the third year the aquarium has participated. Last year’s promises included statements like: “From today onwards, I promise to turn off all lights and electronic appliances before leaving my house”; “I promise to turn off the water while brushing my teeth”, and “I will reduce the use of air conditioning when I am not home,” amongst others. Children’s City will also be celebrating under a theme ‘hand by hand to protect the earth’, with a range of activities including a lecture on Mother Earth, workshops on green initiatives and the planet Earth, a pollution versus cleanliness photography exhibition, and a ‘best recycling project’ competition. Naila Al Mansoory, head of the Children’s City, also known as an ‘edutainment centre’, at the Creek Park, urged parents and schools to get their children involved. Preserving resources and the environment should not just be confined to a government programme or a specialist group’s discussion topic — it should be every individual’s obligation, she said. Meanwhile, the city centres are getting on board too, with re-usable jute bags being handed out in Sharjah, and eco-friendly ‘trashion’ — a fusion of recycled goods and fashion — on show at LOVE Art Gallery in Deira. Sharjah City Centre is encouraging people to visit the mall today and exchange their plastic bags for a re-usable jute bag. The jute bags, made from all natural materials, can be used for shopping and day trips to help minimise plastic bag waste. More than one trillion plastic bags are used every year, worldwide — about one million bags every minute — and a single plastic bag can take more than 20 years to degrade, according to the Australian Department of Environment and Conservation. Meanwhile, a ‘Trashion’ photo exhibition documenting the results of a school community project and fashion show hosted by Mirdif City Centre will be on display at Deira’s LOVE Art Gallery, to raise awareness about the importance of recycling. This year’s Earth Day theme is ‘The Face of Climate Change’. Organisers have been collecting stories about people, animals and places directly affected or threatened by climate change, and the stories of those who are doing something about it. An interactive digital display of images showing everything from a polar bear in their melting surrounds, to a tiger in India’s threatened mangrove forests and a Maldives family wondering where to live as the sea-levels rise, can be viewed online and at thousands of events around the world today. Taylor Scott International

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