Today marks the annual celebration of Earth Day in the United States, and International Mother Earth Day around the globe. Started in 1972, this annual event is held to inspire global action to curb climate change, invest in sustainable development, participate in recycling, and generally be nice to Mother Earth.
This year, the theme is “Mobilize the Earth” and, according to the Earth Day Network, this year will act as a launch pad for growing the environmental movement and will put forth a declaration for immediate action to secure a sustainable future for our planet. The movement will consist of individuals from all corners of the Earth, and will call upon local, national, and international leaders to put an end to fossil fuel subsidies, embrace renewable energy technology, improve energy efficiency, and make energy universally accessible.
Pretty inspiring, right?
In honor of Earth Day, we decided to share how IIRR works to incorporate sustainability into our projects in rural East Africa and South East Asia. We have a lot of projects around the globe, but here are some of our favorite projects that put sustainability and environmental issues at the forefront:
- Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction – We work with local communities to identify, map, and analyze man-made or natural hazards including flooding, soil degradation, famine, drought, typhoons, and we also work with existing capacities to facilitate community action and guide contingency plans. We work with communities in the Philippines, South Sudan, Uganda, and Ethiopia in Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction.
- In Ethiopia we are helping schools with water harvesting in order to bring safe, clean drinking water to local communities. Through this program, we are also helping these communities plan for drought.
- In the Philippines, we have partnered with local organizations to run Bio-Intensive Gardening programs at schools. These programs not only provide a green space at schools that use organic materials and local plants, but it also provides healthy options for school lunch programs. Because we have been successful in this program, we are expanding it beyond schools and into the surrounding communities.
- Through our applied learning courses, we are able to teach other communities, NGO and aid workers, and governmental organizations about the sustainability skills we have gained working in the field.
- We are also piloting a new program that will work with communities to understand how community members and population sizes impact the environment and play a role in curbing climate change.
Happy Earth Day!