Earth Day – Celebrating Earth Day is more important than ever

Joseph Panicker
Sunday, April 23, 2017

These days, I have seen people, including children being aware of the consequence of environmental and climate issues more than ever. Environment and climate changes are active subjects people are talking in their work place, home, offices, class rooms and religious gatherings etc. It is discussed in the market place even. The effects and disasters due to environmental and climate change are shown on TV, on Panel discussions, seminars and are headlines in the newspaper.

Who is really observing the environmental protection? World is now widely divided - some say environmental and climate issues are man-made and some say it is a natural phenomenon. It is time to lead- Who leads whom is the question.
How did Earth Day begin?

From the official site it is learned that a group of peace activists initiated to raise environmental awareness. Earth Day began after a devastating oil spill which had happened almost 50 years ago. At a UNESCO conference in San Francisco in 1969, peace activist John McConnell proposed that a day should be set aside to honor the Earth and the environment. John McConnell believed that humans had an obligation to protect the earth and share its resources with future generations. The first Earth Day took place in the year 1970. Earth Day is held every year on April 22d and is celebrated in almost 192 countries.

How can you celebrate Earth Day - in Kuwait?
In recent years in Kuwait and in Middle-Eastern countries are experiencing an extended winter with sun shine and occasional drizzle of rain. Since the climate is pleasant, flowers are blooming, and summer is right around the corner and not yet harsh. Weekend and evenings are the best time to take the children out and teach them, how important nature is for us and how to protect the bio diversity around us. Spread the awareness on the importance of celebrating Earth Day through fun and frolic

Nature walks: Kuwait has heavily invested in gardening, planting trees and thereby making the country beautiful and to support the environment. In Kuwait there are great places for walking and teaching children about environment. Walking in the garden not only gives better health but also increase our ability to concentrate and focus. Bayan Botanical Garden is one among them which is recently added to the list of gardens (open to general Public only on Thursday between 9.00am to 1.00pm). In Kuwait we have many areas where family can spend our evenings such as in Musical Fountain Park, Kuwait Zoo, Al Shaheed Park, Entertainment City, Salmiya Garden, Ahmadi Garden, and Scientific Center etc. Children and adults can listen to the surrounding sounds of different species of birds and insects. At the same time, you can observe and identify different birds, butterflies and insects closely. It is fun to listen the wind moving past different leaves. Pay attention to plants how they look, smell and feel. Al-Arfaj is the national flower of Kuwait. It is considered as the spring flower because it blooms in between April and May. Bring a camera to photograph species your children can identify later. Nature walks like these are great for exploring and to create the senses on communication skills with the family members.

Build a bird feeder: Bird feeders can be made from the household containers we use day to day and hang them in the balcony or window sill. Here are some ideas to make Bird feeders, a fun way for you and your kids to get to know. Kuwait experiences migration of birds and with a careful observation we can learn which birds are native to your area. In summer time food and water sources are scarce and you can build your own bird feeder which will help the birds as well will inspire your creativity.
This is a great activity because your child can watch birds eat off and drink from something they created.

Create an indoor mini-garden: Working on a garden with your child can be very exciting. Take your child to a plant nursery. In Kuwait we have a very good nursery in Shuwaikh, Al Rai area where you get indoor and outdoor plants, garden accessories etc. Let your child pick up some seeds and tools. Find a nice area in your balcony or inside your apartment for indoor plants where plants will get plenty of sunlight and will be easy to water. It is often seen that the drinking water, children carry to school is often thrown out in the street or in the kitchen sink when the child returns from school. Teach your child, the importance of water conservation and they can water some plants instead of throwing the water out. Water is a scarce commodity especially in hot countries like Kuwait, and the amount of energy required to generate water is enormous.

Nature scavenger hunt: List a number of items we see around us such as bees, butterflies, birds, cats, flowers, spider-web etc. If children are encouraged and rewards are given, children will eagerly look for such items around them with more observant eyes for such treasures in nature. Nature watching will be exciting as they collect specimens and take pictures etc. Have them talk about the things they find and point out when they see something.

Earth Day is more important than ever. Education is the foundation for progress. We need to build a global community, fluent in the concepts of environment and climate change and be aware of its unmatched threat to our planet.

This Earth Day, let us gather together with the community for an Environmental & Climate Literacy. We need to empower everyone with the knowledge to inspire action in favour of environmental protection.

Joseph Panicker

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