From macro to micro: Global cultural moments for local actionHealth
Being part of a bigger community allows for people with similar values to come together through cohesive and more localized actions. This micro-to-macro idea is an extension of the “Think globally, act locally” concept, urging individuals to consider the health of the entire planet and to take action in their own regions and cities.
In the month of June in particular, there are three cultural events that highlight how you can take charge individually to improve the health of our environment and ourselves, and make an impact on a bigger scale. They are:
- World Environment Day (5 June)
- World Oceans Day (8 June)
- International Day of Yoga (21 June)
World Environment Day: Driving five decades of environmental action
Since its beginning in 1974, World Environment Day has developed into a central platform for raising awareness and taking action on urgent issues from marine pollution and global warming to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. Widely celebrated in over 100 countries, It is the UN’s most important day for public outreach and action for the protection of our environment.
This cultural event is also considered as the “people’s day” for doing something to take care of the Earth. That “something” can be focused locally, nationally or globally; it can be a solo action or involve a crowd. Everyone is free to choose.
In recent years, millions of people have taken part in thousands of registered activities worldwide, helping drive change in our consumption habits as well as in national and international environmental policy.
Each World Environment Day is organized around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern. Coincidentally, the theme for 2018 is very close to our heart: beating plastic pollution. Chosen by this year’s host, India, the theme invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife, and our own health.
Much has been said about the harmful effects of plastic pollution and the importance of reversing it. What’s interesting is that this year, UN Environment has teamed up with Litterati, a data science company that has created a powerful tool to help people clean up the planet.
You can explore the World Environment Day events happening around the globe, and join one that’s taking place in your neighbourhood. Better yet, organize it! Answer the call to #BeatPlasticPollution and be part of this worldwide movement.
World Oceans Day: Celebrating and honoring the ocean
Every year, World Oceans Day provides an unique opportunity to honor, help protect, and conserve our world’s shared ocean. Regional and local events are the essence of World Oceans Day, bringing together millions of people to commemorate the day in a variety of ways. The Ocean Project, a collaborative organization that works in partnership with hundreds of organizations including World Ocean Network, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and many other networks, has promoted and coordinated World Oceans Day since 2002.
Each year, they develop a main conservation focus with new tools and resources for organizations and individuals to use for free. The website continues to act as a major platform for individuals to get involved in creating impact for a healthier ocean and a better future. Over the last several years, as part of their major push to engage more youth around the world, they have invested heavily in social media for spreading the message.
In 2017, over 1,000 World Oceans Day events took place in 118 countries, making it the largest celebration yet. In the month surrounding 8 June, World Oceans Day Facebook posts reached over 700K people and World Oceans Day tweets developed over 700K impressions. The number of World Oceans Day Instagram followers continues to double each year.
Not surprisingly, the main action focus this year is to prevent plastic pollution. The guides, videos, infographics and reports featured on the World Oceans Day website are intended to inform and enable organizations and individuals alike in their efforts to advance actions that prevent plastic pollution and encourage solutions for a healthy ocean.
Besides providing resources, the website also helps organizers with planning and promotional resources, allows individuals to list your event and share it with the world, find a celebration near you in the global community map, browse event ideas, and more.
International Day of Yoga: Uniting the body and consciousness
Yoga is a 5,000-year-old physical, mental, and spiritual practice that originated in India. Today, it is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow in popularity. Recognizing the universal appeal of yoga, the UN proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga. The day aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga.
The theme for the 2018 celebration, organized by the Permanent Mission of India to the UN, is “Yoga for Peace”.
The draft resolution establishing the International Day of Yoga was proposed by India and endorsed by a record 175 member states. The proposal was first introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address during the opening of the 69th session of the General Assembly, in which he said:
“Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action … a holistic approach [that] is valuable to our health and our well-being. Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”
The International Day of Yoga highlights the importance of individuals and populations making healthier choices and following lifestyle patterns that foster good health. In the words of one of yoga’s most famous practitioners, the late B. K. S. Iyengar,
“Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.”
Similarly, you can explore yoga events around the world and participate in those happening in your local communities on their event listing page.
So there you go, these are some of the recent events that took us from micro to macro in terms of personal and environmental health. They are reminders that we have a shared responsibility to use natural resources in sustainable ways while fighting plastic pollution. On top of that, they also hammer across the idea that individual health and environmental health are inherently linked. In the process of protecting the environment, we should also take care of the wellbeing of our own mind and body. That is another micro to macro connection that we’d like to establish. Aside from protecting habitats and the organisms that live within them, it’s also important to add individual wellbeing to the equation.
We are all a part of our local community, and we can all take charge at the local level to make an impact on a global scale. With this awareness in mind, we encourage you to explore ways in which you can take action and be a part of a bigger movement. Share your causes with us on our social media channels!
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