Zero Emissions Day: Our Planet is Counting on Us

The Zero Emissions Day or ‘Ze Day’ aims to put the Global 24 hour Moratorium on the Combustion of Fossil Fuels. The day started on March 21, 2008 with the launch of a website calling for “A Global Moratorium on Fossil Fuel Combustion on September 21” in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The message, “Giving our planet one day off a year”, was simple yet profound and was translated into 12 languages for easy reach of people. The idea behind is of giving everything a ‘rest day’ so why not for emissions and environment.

The notion behind the Zero Emissions Day is that stopping, resting, recharging and reflecting was no doubt a mechanism built into many world cultures and traditions. Through the contribution of many environmentalists, the global call to stop the emissions went online at www.zeroemissionsday.org and has been very successful since it is intended to be a temporary respite from using fossil fuels, to increase awareness of this finite resource and how we might change our actions on a daily basis to conserve it.

We need to be aware of our consumption of fossil fuels. Electricity derived from fossil fuels is the biggest contributor to air emissions in the developed and developing countries. These emissions contribute to smog, acid rain, climate change, and other factors. In turn, climate change is believed to create conditions that cause catastrophic events like forest fires, disease breakouts, and droughts. We all know how much energy we are consuming as a nation, community and as an individual. The governments all over the world are spending huge amount of money on electricity generation and transmission and providing this basic utility to its people. On the other hand, more electrical and electronic gadgets are being added to our daily life which all consumes electricity.

Thus, we have to take care of our resources and develop a genuine understanding that such energy consuming attitude is not good for us and is harming our fragile environment. The message of the day is that “You have the power to benefit everyone and everything on our planet.” The celebration of the Ze day is a simple call for collective action to take some of the pressure off our dying world. It’s important because it shows us what a day without fossil fuel use can feel like. The idea of Ze Day is simple – don’t burn oil, gas or coal and minimize your electricity use. Do this for just one day. More and more people, families and communities are declaring Zero Emissions Days whenever they please and just for the fun of it. People who have had the experience have been transformed deeply by it. 

The amount of energy consumed by modern society is staggering, with more and more power-hungry devices becoming part of our daily lives and all these devices need to be charged and powered through the bulk of electricity generated globally is still fossil-fuel based, with only a small percentage generated through renewable sources such as solar, water and wind. In actual terms, completely avoiding the consumption of any fossil-fuel generated energy for 24 hours is almost unthinkable. Practically, many people will never contribute, but even if the day just acts as a reminder that we can all do our bit to limit our energy consumption in daily life, it would already be a victory for Mother Earth.

Try it and imagine how good it’ll make you feel about yourself! Remember our world is counting on us! Let us plan and celebrate the day joyfully by avoiding and minimizing the use of energy, electricity and gas, having no cook meal to eat and spreading the awareness to our dear ones. Unplug everything that is not essential, and instead of watching TV, playing on the computer, or doing other activities that involve electronics, socialize with family and friends and spend the day with nature.

Every individual's effort on Zero Emissions Day is what counts! 

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About Rehan Ahmad

Rehan Ahmed is currently working as Head of Waste Disposal Unit at Supreme Council for Environment, Kingdom of Bahrain. He has over thirty four years of professional experience on projects related to waste management, recycling, reuse and recovery & environmental impacts assessments. Rehan has been instrumental in construction, development, operation and management of Hafira industrial landfill site and establishment of healthcare waste treatment facility in Bahrain.
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