The world seems to be waking up to the issue of climate change and just how precarious the situation of the environment is. The condition of the environment hangs in the balance and it is the choices that we make that can make such a huge difference. Days like World Environment Day (WED) help bring these issues to the consciousness of people all around the world.
Since its inception in 1974, WED has developed into a global platform for raising awareness and taking action on increasingly urgent issues, from marine pollution and global warming to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. Millions of people around the world have been motivated to take action and now WED is a global movement celebrated in over 100 countries.
Developing countries are beginning to wake up to the dangers of an unprotected and uncared for environment. Much of the focus for Progressio ICS volunteers on placements is on preserving the environment and raising awareness of environmental issues both globally and in small towns. The major issues can only be addressed when the small issues are addressed first. It is encouraging to see how many environmental success stories are coming from Progressio’s partners abroad. From bio-construction to the education of entire communities on environmental topics - the success stories are numerous and impressive.
From my experience as a volunteer in El Salvador, I have seen first-hand the positive changes to entire communities in a country where the environment has begun to be a necessity at the forefront of people’s minds. Santa Marta is a particularly impressive example of Progressio’s work in El Salvador; the construction of an eco-school the crowning achievement in a town where the fragility of the environment and its need for protection has become one of the most pressing topics. Now the construction of an eco-park in the town of Santa Catarina Masahuat has become Progressio’s latest venture into raising the awareness of the environment in El Salvador.
Progressio's work is always centered around people powered development, and eco-construction is a perfect example of this, and it is exactly what WED aims to promote. WED says that it serves as the 'people’s day' for doing something to take care of the Earth or to become an agent of change. That 'something' can be focused locally, nationally or globally; it can be a solo action or involve a crowd. By this combined energy of people, WED has the potential to generate hugely positive impacts on the planet.
Each WED is organised around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern. WED 2016 is themed on the illegal trade in wildlife under the slogan 'Go Wild for Life'. Furthermore, every WED has a different global host country, where the official celebrations take place. WED highlights the environmental challenges facing that country, and supports the effort to address them. This year’s host is Angola.
Plenty of information is available at: www.wed2016.com/wedcommunity
You can get involved and even register your own event here: www.wed2016.com/content/event-register
Written by ICS Alumni Harry Rix (October - December 2015, El Salvador)