Every year, a day, like a birthday is celebrated to commemorate a special occasion with something to denote. Come 21st of September this year, the Zero Emissions Day is going to be celebrated, also called the ‘ZeDay’. Before proceeding any further, it’s quintessential to understand the main underlying word here-‘emission’. Well, emissions simply mean “the discharge/release of gas, heat, light, etc.” But in this context, we are talking about man-made poisonous and toxic emissions, and that of the carbon footprint. The fact that needs to be noted is that there can in practical life, be no “zero”emissions, at least, for in the coming decades since the transition can’t be so swift.

The amazing matter of fact is that as per reports, the ‘Zero Emissions Day’ was launched in 2008 by Ken Wallace, a Canadian graphic designer. There are four guidelines given by the ‘ZeDay’ Founders, which include points like, “Don’t use or burn oil, gas, or coal”, “minimize your use of electricity generated by fossil fuels”, amongst a couple of others. The point here noteworthy to mention is that mine and your contribution is all that is needed to steer this change. Yes, indeed, individual contributions can go a long way in making an impact in the society if done in the correct way. For any action to take pace and be heard, what is important is awareness to take place. We, as global citizens, need to share the message amongst our own society and make impacts with small steps. Interestingly, the ZeDay coincides with the ‘International Day of Peace’ and ‘World Gratitude Day’, which shows the importance of values and shared perspectives in life. It is noteworthy to mention as to why only 21st September is celebrated as the ZeDay. On this day every year, the length of day and night is equal, and the amount of light is fair to those both in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

The essence of this day lies in giving our Mother Earth a break from fossil fuels and all the polluting particles, poisonous, greenhouse gases, and all that harms this globe. The fossil fuels are finite in number, and it is all the better for us to replace them now, because sooner or later they are going to get exhausted, maybe just a blessing in disguise for our planet. Thus, we should shift to the renewable sources of energy that are way more economical, easily available, and sustainable, most importantly. The rationale behind observing this day is that “everyone gets a rest day, so why not our Earth?” We should learn to use and implement the 5R’s in life: refuse, reduce, recycle, rot and reuse. We should keep a watchful eye on the usage of plastic, particularly, single-use plastic since it’s hazardous for the environment, even its burning releases a great deal of hazardous gases.

There are a few solutions that we need to not just keep in mind but implement them at our own personal level. To start with, we can simply do things such as switch off electricity when not in use or plant more trees. We should try and switch to cleaner energy options, hydrogen, etc. to feed off our needs. We can strive to spread awareness about it locally and within our own countries to inspire the youth to take up climate action. The least-developed and developing countries need to make sure that there is appropriate legislation set in place for this criterion. Since our countries lack the onus for climate change in terms of laws, we need to take this up as a challenge for our future generation. We can opt for public transport instead of traveling alone, simply put, which can help relieve the environment of more and more emissions in some or the other way. The industries need to check and make sure that the harmful gases aren’t released into the atmosphere and chimneys are kept in check, since nowadays modernization has been made parallel to industrialization, which is a wrong notion, and that’s why we need more of preventive measures to make sure that not just 21st September, but all the 365 days of the year are celebrated as ‘Zero Emissions Day’.

About the Author: Pratham Golcha is a 20-year-old graduate from Nagpur University, India. He is an author, writer, MUN Chairperson globally, researcher, UN SDG Facilitator, blogger and podcaster and a volunteer with the International Human Rights Commission, UN.