World Animal Day is an international day of action for animal rights and welfare celebrated annually on October 4, the feast day of Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.
Throughout history, social movements (mass actions) like World Animal Day, have always been a major vehicle for ordinary people’s participation in politics, and key in fighting for social justice and reform. The lives of animals are profoundly affected by the actions of individuals, businesses, and nations. It’s therefore essential that, as sentient beings, their rightful status as recipients of social justice is established and translated into effective animal protection. World Animal Day embraces all animals and the unique concerns of each, in every country, and makes animals front page news.Through increased awareness and education, we can help develop a compassionate culture which feeds into legal reform and social progress to make this world a fairer place for all living creatures. A world where animals are recognised as sentient beings and full regard is always paid to their welfare. World Animal Day has already brought about a significant and lasting contribution towards advancing animal welfare standards, and its influence will only continue to grow. We regularly receive heart-warming messages from people keen to tell us about what being involved with World Animal Day has helped them achieve and we’d like to share a few of these phenomenal victories with you now.
Brazil will host the 3rd World Scout Education Congress to discuss the development of Scouting’s educational programmes in a rapidly changing world, and strategies to ensure the Movement continues to innovate in non-formal education for young people.
Some 200 experts from around the world will meet in Rio de Janeiro from 7-10 December next year – specialists in non-formal education and representatives of youth development in Scouting. On the agenda will be innovations in education, the inclusion of the Sustainable Development Goals in the Scouting programme and support for volunteers in youth organisations.
The Congress will build on the discussions on education held in Switzerland last year when delegates identified five developments to watch: the trend among schools towards non-formal education, shifting demographics worldwide, migration and urbanisation, the expansion of digital media and globalisation.
Almost one billion people live in mountain areas, and over half the human population depends on mountains for water, food and clean energy. Yet mountains are under threat from climate change, land degradation, over exploitation and natural disasters, with potentially far-reaching and devastating consequences, both for mountain communities and the rest of the world.
Mountain Day refers to three different and unrelated events:
(1) Mountain Day, a student celebration in some colleges in the United States in which classes are cancelled without prior notice, and the student body heads to the mountains or a park,
(2) International Mountain Day, held each year on 11 December, which was established by the UN General Assembly in 2003 to encourage sustainable development in mountains, and
(3) Mountain Day, a national holiday in Japan as of 2016
Mountains are early indicators of climate change and as global climate continues to warm, mountain people — some of the world’s hungriest and poorest — face even greater struggles to survive. The rising temperatures also mean that mountain glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates, affecting freshwater supplies downstream for millions of people. Mountain communities, however, have a wealth of knowledge and strategies accumulated over generations, on how to adapt to climate variability.
Climate change, climate variability and climate-induced disasters, combined with political, economic and social marginalization, increase the vulnerability of mountain peoples to food shortages and extreme poverty. Currently, 1 in 3 people in developing countries is estimated to be vulnerable to food insecurity.
Even though they are mentioned in the 2030 Agenda, mountains are still often forgotten. Considering the crucial role they play in providing key ecosystem goods and services to the planet and their vulnerability in the face of climate change, we need to step up and raise attention to mountains.
- Water as mountains are the world’s ‘water towers’, providing between 60 and 80 percent of all freshwater resources for our planet.
- Disaster Risk Reduction as climatic variations are triggering disasters.
- Tourism as mountain destinations attract around 15-20 percent of global tourism and are areas of important cultural diversity, knowledge and heritage.
- Food as they are important centres of agricultural biodiversity and are home to many of the foods that come to our table, such as rice, potatoes, quinoa, tomatoes and barley.
- Youth as despite the beautiful landscapes, life in the mountains can be tough, particularly for rural youth.
- Indigenous Peoples as many mountain areas host ancient indigenous communities that possess and maintain precious knowledge, traditions and languages.
- Biodiversity as half of the world’s biodiversity hotspots are concentrated in mountains and mountains support approximately one-quarter of terrestrial biological diversity
Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, died 8 January 1941
1st Baron Baden-Powell, OM, GCMG, GCVO, KCB, DL (22 February 1857 – 8 January 1941) was a British Army officer, writer, founder and first Chief Scout of the world-wide Boy Scout Movement, and founder, with his sister Agnes, of the world-wide Girl Guide / Girl Scout Movement. Baden-Powell authored the first editions of the seminal work Scouting for Boys, which was an inspiration for the Scout Movement.
After having been educated at Charterhouse School in Surrey, Baden-Powell served in the British Army from 1876 until 1910 in India and Africa. In 1899, during the Second Boer War in South Africa, Baden-Powell successfully defended the town in the Siege of Mafeking. Several of his military books, written for military reconnaissance and scout training in his African years, were also read by boys. In 1907, he held a demonstration camp, the Brownsea Island Scout camp, which is now seen as the beginning of Scouting. Based on his earlier books, particularly Aids to Scouting, he wrote Scouting for Boys, published in 1908 by Sir Arthur Pearson, for boy readership. In 1910 Baden-Powell retired from the army and formed The Boy Scouts Association.
The first Scout Rally was held at The Crystal Palace in 1909, at which appeared a number of girls dressed in Scout uniform, who told Baden-Powell that they were the “Girl Scouts”, following which, in 1910, Baden-Powell and his sister Agnes Baden-Powell formed the Girl Guides from which the Girl Guides Movement grew. In 1912 he married Olave St Clair Soames. He gave guidance to the Scouting and Girl Guiding Movements until retiring in 1937. Baden-Powell lived his last years in Nyeri, Kenya, where he died and was buried in 8th January 1941. His gravestone bears a circle with a dot in the centre “ʘ”
The Day of January 8th
this day celebrate the connection between Scouting and our faith-based chartered partners. Some Scouts and leaders will honor these days by wearing the full field uniform to worship services. In other units, a worship leader presents religious awards to recipients. In still others, the pack, troop, crew or ship conducts a service project that benefits the religious organization. this Scouts’ Day or Guides’ Day is a generic term for special days observed by members of the Scouting movementthroughout the year. Some of these days have religious significance, while others may be a simple celebration of Scouting. Typically, it is a day when all members of Scouting will re-affirm the Scout Promise.
Whilst “scouting” for pictures of the Boy Scout Memorial for the last post, we came across this picture of Lord Robert Baden-Powell (and wife Olave’s) gravestone. Note the circle with the dot inside; ostensibly this is the traditional Boy Scout trail sign for “I have gone home.” The creator aspect of Ra, symbolised by the sun at mid-noon, was in ancient times known as Aten. Aten was written as a dot enclosed by a circle in Egyptian hieroglyphics. The monument incorporates the Aten-hieroglyph by allowing the sun to shine through an aperture in the sky dome. Looking upwards at mid noon, the aperture is visible as a backlit dot inside the circular sky dome. At 12:00am on 16 December the sun is projected as a disc-dot onto the cenotaph stone. Looking down from the top dome, the floor aperture in the Hall of Heroes is once again seen to encircle the disc, as the sun’s rays strike the cenotaph stone. Moerdijk’s message as implied by the interior design is: through exodus out of the British Cape Colony, God has created a new African civilization inland.
Laws of Silence
Taking that quote out of order we see that:Based on Moerdijk’s reference to the watery floor of the Hall of Heroes, as well as his statement about old Egypt, the opening in the water-floor can be identified with the watery abyss, as in the creation theology of ancient African civilization. Rising out of this watery abyss, was the primeval mound, the Benben stone.
Honorable Scout Salutation FB Page
‘I have gone home’ , “Gone home” is a Scouting symbol when someone has passed away. For many generations before ours, trail markers were used to safely guide travellers in the right direction while on the trail. One had to keep a keen eye, as trail markers could be many things; arranged stones, sticks or grass, plumes of wood smoke or carved markers in trees. There are many variations throughout the world, with some adapting their own marks to suit their environment, and themselves. Although somewhat different, they were all used for the same reasons—–To mark the trail……to show the way……to guide. There is one symbol that is universal. A dot surrounded by a larger circle…….This trail marker means “End of Trail–Gone Home” Some feel life itself is best described as a trail, for it has a beginning, and end, and many turns and bends along the way…..Life is funny in that way. This fb “ʘ” page is dedicated to those Members of our Group who have reached the end of their trail, and have gone home.
It has become traditional over the past century for scouts who pass away to have been described as “gone home” this is shown using the native american tracking sign below.
HOW TO OBSERVE SCOUT SALUTATION DAY
The anniversary of a death can be a time for quiet and simple contemplation, or for family gatherings, fellowship and remembrance. Whether you feel it’s significant to mark your loved one’s life on the anniversary of their death, or an occasion such as their birthday, the way you choose to acknowledge the death of a loved one can change with every passing year. Sometimes also known by people who’ve been bereaved as a ‘sadiversary’ or ‘angelversary’, there are many things to do in memory of someone who has died as a scout Hero. Here’s how to acknowledge the anniversary of a death.
- Visit their final resting place – Taking time to remember at your loved one’s grave may be something that you’ve been doing since their one year death anniversary. If you scattered their ashes in a place that was special to them, a trip there could be part of a day spent with other people who loved them and include a picnic with their favourite food and drink.
- Do a good turn for someone else – The Boy Scouts are based on the idea of doing good deeds. Celebrate National Boy Scouts Day by helping someone in need, donating to a good cause or simply committing a random act of kindness.
- Release Butterflies/Birds what ever who in cage – “The butterfly counts not months, but moments – and has time enough,” wrote the poet Rabindranath Tagore. For many people, butterflies are a beautiful symbol of hope and renewal. On someone’s death anniversary, a butterfly release can be a wonderful tribute. You can buy native butterflies bred specially for release on occasions such as a memorial, birthday or angelversary from a number of specialists via mail order.
- Play their favourite song – Music is incredibly evocative and certain tunes can make us catch our breath or transport our memories back to special moments in time. Listen to their song on the day you mark their death anniversary; over a glass of wine while you write, by special request on a radio show, or as part of a playlist in a get together with friends – and maybe even sing along.
- Hold a special remembrance ceremony – If faith was an important part of your loved one’s life and brings comfort, your cleric or celebrant may be happy to arrange for a ceremony to mark their death anniversary, or to include prayers for them in the week’s service. Formal secular occasions to mark the anniversary of their death could include a prize-giving, a celebration of life sevice with words and readings or even a tree-planting ceremony.
- Express loving sentiments with flowers – Be inspired by the language of flowers to make a beautiful bouquet to lay by your loved one’s resting place, or to send to a hospice in their memory on the anniversary of their death. The Victorians created an entire lexicography to express sentimental thoughts through popular garden flowers, while ‘The Spirit of the Woods’ devised the Australian language of flowers in 1867. As well as being the floral emblem of New South Wales, the beautiful Waratah means ‘remembrance in absence.’
- Shine a light – It’s traditional to light a candle in memory of someone, whether in a place of worship, or at home as you quietly contemplate. On the anniversary of someone’s death, you could create their name or initials in tealights on the family dinner table, or choose a scented candle with a fragrance that brings memories back. If it’s an occasion for celebrating their memory as well as reflecting on their loss, you could even light up the night sky with fireworks and spell out their name in stars.
- Create a memorial – Memories can grow more precious as the years go by and they are also a wonderful legacy to hand down to children and grandchildren.
- Go memorial Camping /Hiking /Rally- Camping is an important part of being a Boy Scout and a great way to celebrate National Boy Scouts Day. Camping helps develop self-reliance and resourcefulness and promotes feelings of wellness from being surrounded by nature. So, gather the family or a few friends, load up the car or truck with your tents and sleeping bags and head to the nearest camping site.
A Young Man’s Gift
God seems to have a chosen way of taking those so young into his hands to walk with him, yet leaving their lives undone.
To us it seems so selfish yet we try to think of hope, sometimes all that we can do is remember, cry and cope.
God had a plan that chosen day and took time to prepare, a way that he could take that life, yet be thoughtful, just and fair.
Although our thoughts are of him still, we think of days gone by, he’s walking now with God you see, in Valhalla way up high.
He helps in ways he learned through us, he shares our ways and dreams. God knows his choice was the perfect one, but only Brent knows what he means.
There’ll be a day for all of us when our judgement day arrives, we’ll stand before that mighty man who created all our lives.
He’ll welcome us with open arms, he’ll have all he needs to know, “Scouting molds a fine strong man, Brent Markos told me so”.
So if you dream of what’s up there in that world away so far, there’s someone who’ll remember you, and has told him who you are.
* This Concept and FB Page Run By Sri Lanka Scouting Magazine.
JANUARY 24, 1908
British Army officer Robert Baden-Powell publishes the first installment of Scouting for Boys, and the local troops that soon formed around its lessons became the foundation of the Boy Scouts movement. Baden-Powell, a war hero for his service in South Africa, had written earlier manuals for British soldiers that proved popular with younger readers.
Scouting for Boys (බාලදක්ෂ විද්යාව) Written by Robert Baden-Powell, Lieutenant General in the British Army and founder of the international Scouting movement, Scouting for Boys is one of the most influential manuals for youth ever published. First printed in 1908, it remains an all-time bestseller in the English-speaking world, second only to the Bible. The original blueprint and “self-instructor” of the Boy Scout Movement, Scouting for Boys is a fascinating fusion of “yarns and pictures,” an irresistible mixture of nationalistic narrative, tracker legend, and quotations from Baden-Powell’s own autobiography and the popular adventure fiction of Rudyard Kipling, James Fenimore Cooper, and Alexander Dumas. The book provides practical advice on lighting fires, building boats and stalking animals, alongside proper Victorian-era education on chivalry and manners, self-discipline and improvement, and above all, good citizenship. Expounding upon the topics intrinsic to the life of a scout tracking, woodcraft, camp life, endurance, patriotism, and more this classic is essential for anyone interested in popular culture and the history of scouting and youth education. Ninety original diagrams and illustrations enhance the text.
Scouting for Boys: A handbook for instruction in good citizenship is a book on Boy Scout training, published in various editions since 1908. Early editions were written and illustrated by Robert Baden-Powell with later editions being extensively rewritten by others. The book was originally a manual for self-instruction in observation, tracking and woodcraft skills as well as self-discipline and self-improvement, about the Empire and duty as citizens with an eclectic mix of anecdotes and unabashed personal observations and recollections. It is pervaded by a degree of moral proselytizing and references to the author’s own exploits. It is based on his boyhood experiences, his experience with the Mafeking Cadet Corps during the Second Boer War at the Siege of Mafeking, and on his experimental camp on Brownsea Island, England.
Scouting for Boys (1908) was Baden-Powell’s rewrite of his earlier book Aids to Scouting (1899) with many youth training ideas openly taken from The Birch Bark Roll of the Woodcraft Indians (1906) written by Ernest Thompson Seton, who later became the Chief Scout of the Boy Scouts of America. Aids to Scouting was mostly a written explanation of the military scouting and self-reliance skills lessons Baden-Powell had learned from Frederick Russell Burnham, the British Army Chief of Scouts, but following the siege of Mafeking this military handbook unexpectedly became popular with many youth groups and educators, like Charlotte Mason, in Britain. At Mafeking, Baden-Powell’s adjutant had recruited and trained boys aged 12–15 as cadets and during the siege they acted as postmen, messengers, and later to carry the wounded, to free men for fighting. Upon his return to England, following the Second Boer War, Baden-Powell learned some British schools had been using Aids to Scouting to teach observation and deduction. In 1906, Seton discussed youth training ideas with Baden-Powell and shared with him a copy of The Birch Bark Roll of the Woodcraft Indians. Soon after, Baden-Powell decided to revise Aids to Scouting into a book for boys. Several friends supported Baden-Powell, including Sir William Alexander Smith, founder of the Boys’ Brigade, Cyril Arthur Pearson, who owned newspapers and printing presses, and the novelist Maria Fetherstonhaugh, who provided a quiet Wimbledon house where he could write. Baden-Powell wrote a draft, then called Boy Patrols, which he used and tested with 22 boys for one week at camp on Brownsea Island in the summer of 1907, where Pearson’s literary editor Percy Everett assisted.
Scouting for Boys was published in six fortnightly instalments of approximately 70 pages each, from January to March 1908. They were produced by Pearson’s printer, Horace Cox. These six publications were a success and, as planned, were issued in book form on 1 May 1908. Although Aids to Scouting strongly influenced the book, Scouting for Boys presents Scouting from the perspective of outdoorsmen and explorers rather than military men, and it adds the Scout Oath, Scout Law, honours and games for youth. The book was revised and an enormous variety of editions were published. Many of these editions were edited by others and, far beyond mere editing, whole sections were written by authors other than Baden-Powell. The book was a best seller upon release, and, in its various editions, is claimed to have become one of the best-selling books in history. Scouting for Boys has been translated into many languages. In 1948, editions of the book were still selling 50,000 copies annually. Only in 1967 was a decline noted by the publisher and in the last decades of the 20th century the book came to be seen as a period curiosity even by the Scout Movement. It is claimed to be the fourth bestselling book of the 20th century. A realistic estimate is that approximately 4 million copies of the UK edition have been sold. Extrapolating this to 87 different language editions worldwide, historic world sales of Scouting for Boys can be estimated at 100 to 150 million copies since 1908.
The Standing Committee of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands approved the themes for World Wetlands Day as follows:
- Wetlands and Climate Change, theme for 2019
- Wetlands and Biodiversity, theme for 2020
- Wetlands and Water, theme for 2021
World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Since 1997, the Ramsar Secretariat has provided outreach materials to help raise public awareness about the importance and value of wetlands.
Half of humanity about 4 billion people live in urban areas today. By 2050 that proportion will reach 66% as people move to cities in search of jobs and a vibrant social life. Cities account for around 80% of global economic output. As cities expand and demand for land increases, the tendency is to encroach on wetlands, they are degraded, filled in and built upon. Yet when left intact or restored, urban wetlands make cities liveable:
Wetlands act as giant sponges that absorb flood waters. Rivers, ponds, lakes and marshes soak up and store heavy rainfall. In coastal cities, saltmarshes and mangroves work as a buffer against storm surges.
Replenish drinking water
Groundwater aquifers, rainwater and rivers are the source of almost all drinking water. Wetlands filter the water that seeps into aquifers, helping to replenish this important water source. Protecting rivers and limiting harmful run-off also helps safeguard the water supply.
Filter waste and improve water quality
The silt-rich soil and abundant plants in wetlands function as water filters, which absorb some harmful toxins, agricultural pesticides and industrial waste. Urban wetlands also help treat sewage from households.
Improve urban air quality
Wetlands radiate moist air thanks to their high water levels and lush plant life. This naturally cools the air in the local surroundings; a relief both in tropical cities and in extremely dry climates.
Promote human well-being
When preserved as green spaces in cities, wetlands offer residents a space for recreation and access to diversity of plant and animal life. Studies confirm that interacting with nature reduces stress and improves our health.
Enable people to earn a living
Many types of fish spawn and breed in wetlands, making them popular fishing grounds. Wetlands provide reeds and grasses for weaving, medicinal plants and fruits; all valuable goods for local residents. Wetlands also attract tourism, another important source of jobs.
What are urban wetlands?
Wetlands are land areas that are flooded with water, either seasonally or permanently. Urban wetlands are found in and around cities or their suburbs. They include rivers and their flood plains, lakes, and swamps as well as coastal variants such as salt marshes, mangroves and coral reefs.
22 February, we recall our Scouting adventures, meet our Scouting friends, proudly wear our scarves and celebrate the great diversity of our worldwide Movement. Today is also a time for us to renew our Scout Promise and our commitment to creating a better world.
We should be in no doubt that Baden-Powell would be very proud of us. We have been Growing Together for more than 111 years and, today, reach more than 50 million young people worldwide with an ambition to double that number by 2023. We certainly have plenty of reasons to celebrate.
The Founder believed Scouting helps young people by providing opportunities for them to look wide, beyond their own needs, to the wider needs of humanity itself. His thoughts are still relevant today. In a world facing burning challenges such as armed conflict, poverty, hunger, climate change and gender inequality, Scouting continues to provide a constructive response by empowering young people to actively contribute in finding solutions to these global challenges by taking action locally.
Scouts worldwide contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through the simplest of actions: from preventing hunger through growing vegetable gardens, to alleviating street children from poverty through providing vocational training, to promoting gender equality and pledging support to the UN Women HeForShe campaign.
As we share this special day with our friends in Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting who are marking World Thinking Day, let us recommit to working together because by doing so, we can be a stronger force for young women and men everywhere.
Remember, you don’t have to do something big. Great things can start from the humblest of beginnings – just like our remarkable worldwide Movement.
On behalf of World Scouting I wish you all a happy Founder’s Day.
World Thinking Day
In 1926, Girl Guide and Girl Scout delegates from around the globe met in the USA for the 4th World Conference. Among other decisions, they agreed that there should be a special annual day when Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world think of each other and express their thanks and appreciation for our international Movement. This was called Thinking Day. The delegates chose 22 February as the date for Thinking Day because it was the birthday of both Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scout Movement, and Olave Baden-Powell, who was World Chief Guide.
Six years later in 1932, the 7th World Conference was taking place in Bucze, Poland, when a Belgian delegate pointed out that a birthday usually involves gifts, and so girls could show their appreciation on Thinking Day by offering gifts to our international Movement by fundraising or making a donation.
Olave Baden-Powell wrote a letter to all Girl Guides and Girl Scouts later that year to tell them about this idea and to ask them to spare a penny to help support Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting around the world.
Much later in 1999, at the 30th World Conference in Dublin, Ireland, delegates from around the world decided to change the name of the day from Thinking Day to World Thinking Day, to better emphasise the international aspects of the day.
The fundraising aspect of World Thinking Day that began in 1932 is still an important funding mechanism for WAGGGS today, and it helps to keep the Movement going. Find out more about fundraising and how the World Thinking Day Fund operates.
Take the lead on February 22 to celebrate World Thinking Day with Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from 150 countries! (That’s one big celebration!) Promoted by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS for short) along with Girl Scouts of the USA, World Thinking Day originated in 1926. That’s when delegates from around the globe met at Camp Edith Macy—now called Edith Macy Conference Center—in New York State and agreed that February 22 would henceforth be known as a special day for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts worldwide.
Every year since, World Thinking Day has called for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides to join together and take part in activities that promote changing the world for the better. This year’s World Thinking Day theme isLeadership; check out our activity guides below to explore many different ways girls can be leaders and create the change they want to see in the world—and celebrate being part of the global sisterhood that is Girl Scouts and Girl Guides!
WORLD THINKING DAY THEME – 2019
Take the lead on February 22 to celebrate 2019 World Thinking Day with Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from 150 countries! (That’s one big celebration!) Girls also celebrate World Thinking Day throughout the spring.
Promoted by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS for short) along with Girl Scouts of the USA, World Thinking Day originated in 1926. That’s when delegates from around the globe met at Camp Edith Macy—now called Edith Macy Conference Center—in New York and agreed February 22 would henceforth be known as a special day for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts worldwide.
Every year since, World Thinking Day has called for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides to join together and take part in activities that promote changing the world for the better.
The theme for World Thinking Day in 2019 is leadership!
World Thinking Day Challenge – 2019
World Thinking Day 2019 is dedicated to the group of girls who took the lead in 1909 and demanded Lord Baden-Powell create ‘something for the girls’.
EARN YOUR WORLD THINKING DAY 2019 BADGE IN EASY STEPS:
Step 1. Be prepared to travel through time. Get your group ready by building their time machines
Step 2. Play the game and let the adventure begin! Make sure you experience some of our Lost in Time challenges
Step 3. It’s #TimeToLead! Explore the leadership practices you have collected and build your inspiring leader
Badge and resources
Every year, World Thinking Day has a different theme that Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world can learn about and take action on.
You’ll be embarking on an adventure through time. You will learn about the history of our Movement, and practise leadership through the chances and choices of our present and future. Be prepared for an exciting adventure!
Over the next three years, Girl Guides and Girl Scouts will follow a journey through our World Thinking Day themes.
Guides and Girl Scouts are leaders. In 2019, learn the different ways to be a leader and develop the power to bring the change you want to see in the world.
2020: DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION
It’s important that Guiding and Scouting is a safe and inclusive space for all to take part. In 2020, understand the concepts of diversity, equity and inclusion, and what that means for your community.
Use the knowledge and experiences you’ve gained in World Thinking Day 2019 and 2020 activities to take action and change your world. Choose to build peace: be a leader and create environments that include everyone.
INTERNATIONAL FORESTS DAY TO BE OBSERVED TODAY
Celebrated on March 21st every year, the International Day of Forests is an observance day that was initiated by the United Nations and is used not only to celebrate the beauty and grandeur of the world’s forests but to also raise awareness about the importance of trees to the world and human civilization. It is also a day that can be used as a springboard to encourage organizations on a local, national and international level to take action to prevent and reverse the global deforestation that is happening today.
History of the International Day of Forests
This observance day can trace its “roots” back to November of 1971 when the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization 16th session decided to make March 21st of each year World Forestry Day. Eventually, this was followed by the International Year of Forests in 2011. The following year, the United Nations enacted the International Forest Day on November 28, 2012.
The Importance of Forests
Forests not only are nice to look at but they are also essential to life on Earth. Forests provide more than 50% of the shelter that terrestrial species of insects and animals. They also balance out the levels of oxygen and CO2 in the environment; protect the watersheds which supply fresh water to rivers; provide food for a variety of insects, mammals, birds and reptiles and can cool the air in urban areas by as much as 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.
Trees are also important to human society as well. And not only because we rely upon the environment to survive, either. More than 1.7 billion people, including people from over 2,000 individual indigenous cultures depend on forests for their livelihood. The wood for trees also provides the world with more energy than solar, hydroelectric or wind power. Which makes it a vital resource for people in developing countries.
Celebrating the International Day of Forests
This holiday can be celebrated by planting trees, educating people about the importance of trees and forests or by simply enjoying a nice hike through a forest. It’s also a good day to remember how important forests are to all of us as well as to our planet.
World Water Day is an international opportunity for people to learn more about water related problems, highlight and increase awareness on these issues, and make a global impact. The day itself dates back to 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly dedicated March 22nd as the first World Water Day and has since become an annual affair. Each year, World Water Day focuses on a specific aspect of water.
Clean water should be accessible to all and has been explicitly declared as a fundamental human right – ‘the right to water and sanitation’. However as we know, millions still go without this basic necessity and are forced to drink contaminated water containing harmful bacteria which leads to thousands of cases of water-borne diseases every day.
Access to water and sanitation in Ethiopia is some of the poorest in the world. Nevertheless, Ethiopia is on its way to achieving the Millennium Development Goal related to water. More than half of the households (54%) have access to an improved source of drinking water, compared to 35% in 2005. Despite this vast progress, the improvement of sanitation is proving more challenging. The National Water Sanitation and Hygiene data indicates that children in schools are particularly vulnerable as only 33% have improved sanitation and a mere 31% have access to safe water. Samuel Godfrey, Chief of WASH Unicef in Ethiopia stresses that “we should focus on women and children as the primary beneficiaries of water in Ethiopia”. Poor water sanitation in Ethiopia means that diarrhoea is responsible for 46% of infant mortality and the capital city, Addis Abba, is ranked 6th dirtiest city in the world.
Many of the events that take place on World Water Day are held worldwide and raising awareness takes many forms. This includes theatrical and musical celebrations of water, sports competitions, fundraising or donating to charity for those who are in dire need of clean and affordable water, and educating all generations on the importance of protecting water resources to prevent water scarcity.