Encompass Africa celebrates World Environment Day (WED). The theme this year is connecting people to nature.
World Environment Day is the United Nations’ principal vehicle for inspiring and motivating worldwide awareness and action for the positive protection of the environment. It was created back in 1972 and has since become a massive global effort to raise awareness and take action issues like marine pollution, global warming, wildlife crime (poaching) and sustainable consumption.
Developing countries are waking up to the dangers of unprotected environments and the role of sustainability, certainly that’s the case in Africa. The stories that come from our partners in Africa are numerous and impressive. There is a huge number of companies, charities and individuals making a positive contribution to protecting the environment. We are so proud of their efforts and to partner with them and share their commitment.
So with the theme of ‘connecting people to nature’ we encouraged our team to find time to go outdoors, walk in nature and appreciate the beauty of their surrounds. We can even set challenges for ourselves like spotting local wildlife or counting butterflies. Already I have taken off my shoes, walked in the local park and felt the earth beneath my feet. While I was there, I set a challenge to pick up 100 pieces of litter. It was my way of making a small difference. I got inspiration from Afroz Shah in Mumbai, India. Have you heard his story? He is a local lawyer and wanted a clean beach for his community to enjoy including his family! Mr Shah’s dedication and commitment along with a very supportive 300 environmentally conscious people from the local community made it happen. It took a few years and time every weekend was spent picking up rubbish along Versova Rock Beach. It has been converted from a rubbish tip to a clean beach Mr Shah is proud of. To read more and see some inspiring images, check out this article from last year.
Mr Shah has since been honoured with the United Nation’s Champions of the Earth award. We salute you Mr Shah and many others around the world who work tirelessly to make a different to the local environment.
Another amazing project that involves cleaning up the coastline this time in Kenya is The Flip Flopi. Litter is being collected and plastics are getting recycled and turned into a 60 ft sailing dhow with traditional design! It will take sail from Kenya in just 209 days and head all the way down to Cape Town. See the project for yourself http://theflipflopi.com/ it really is inspirational.
So I hope you found time to get out and about wherever you were. If not, tomorrow is a new day, so get out there and feel the beauty around you that nature offers and make a difference in some small way. It’s all part of an ongoing commitment to the environment and of course World Environment Day.