Commentary

World Environment Day & World Ocean Day

June 5 and June 8
Published on
May 31, 2024
Contributors
Allies and Partners
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Editor’s note: This is one in a continuing series of educational columns about fostering environmental stewardship and leadership coordinated by ACES — the Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards.

by Ron Martino

June 5 is designated by the United Nations as World Environment Day (WED). It is a day to encourage people to take action to protect the environment. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) leads the day, which has been celebrated since 1973. WED is supported by many non-governmental organizations, businesses, and government entities. Some ways to participate in the spirit of WED include restoring land to optimal use, using water wisely, and buying sustainable products.

June 8 is World Ocean Day which helps unite and rally the world to protect and restore our blue planet. It supports collaborative conservation, working with its global network of youth leaders and 2,000+ organizations in 150+ countries, and providing free and customizable promotional and actionable resources.
 
In support of ACES' goal of thinking globally while working locally to address climate and environmental challenges, we are pleased to share some of the tips provided to us by the UN for living more sustainably with a focus today on reducing plastics in our rivers, oceans, beaches, and in our lives. They are nothing difficult or costly to anyone. It’s just a matter of getting these ideas in motion and they will start to become good habits. The health of our planet depends upon more good habits to protect our resources. So here they are:
 
Create a Clean a Beach Day: if you live near a coastline as most of us do, join beach clean-ups in your area. Or take your family along on a beach walk and start your own clean-up. To find local events and volunteer opportunities, check out the Environmental Calendar under the EVENTS tab, located on this website.

Clean a River: Rivers are direct pathways of plastic debris into the ocean. Join a river clean-up or do your own! The river will look clean and benefit its ecosystem and the ocean. 

Shop Sustainably: Next time you are out shopping, choose food with no plastic packaging, carry a reusable bag, buy local products, and refill containers to reduce your plastic waste and positively affect the environment.

Try a Zero-Waste Lifestyle: Become a zero-waste champion. Invest in sustainable ocean-friendly products, reusable coffee mugs, water bottles, and food wraps. Consider options like bamboo toothbrushes and shampoo bars. These will help you save money and the ocean too. 

Travel Sustainably: When you are on holiday, try to limit your single-use plastic intake. Refuse miniature bottles in hotel rooms; carry a reusable drinking bottle. And use reef-safe sunscreen to avoid microplastics.

Advocate for Change: Ask your local supermarkets, restaurants, and local suppliers to ditch plastic packaging. Refuse plastic cutlery and straws, and tell them why. Work with your local authorities to improve how they manage waste.

Dress Sustainably: The fashion industry produces 20 per cent of global wastewater and 10 percent of global carbon emissions. That’s more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. “Fast fashion” is so last year. Consider sustainable clothing lines, vintage shops and repair your clothes when possible. Buying locally is also part of sustainably dressing.

Choose plastic-free personal care products: Personal care products are a major source of microplastics, which get washed into the oceans straight from our bathrooms. Look for plastic-free face wash, day cream, makeup, deodorant, shampoo, and other products.
 
ACES realizes so much plastic is designed into our everyday lives that shifting towards a plastic free future will be a journey. So, let’s put one foot in front of the other and begin to reduce plastics in our lives.

For more information about UN World Environment Day is the link:

[https://www.worldenvironmentday.global/?gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAjwgdayBhBQEiwAXhMxthtQDxdty__4AUd4Rq7SjbXP_vyqyYYxJDricPOqDfGfKFV44HFkmhoCfRkQAvD_BwE].

Ron Martino is an ACES Advisor/Mentor who is passionate about reducing plastic pollution. He can be reached at ronmartino.aces@gmail.com. ACES and its Youth Corps invite you to stay updated on environmental matters by subscribing to our monthly newsletter via the “Subscribe to Updates” link on this page. Please consider joining our community of stewards committed to Making Every Day Earth Day by contacting acesnewburyport@gmail.com. We can make a big difference together.

This educational column first appeared in The Daily News of Newburyport on May 31, 2024.

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