zero emissions day graphic

On September 21st, I will:

  1. Not use any oil, gas, or coal
  2. Minimize how much electricity I use
  3. Not expect any emergency services to change how they operate
  4. Have fun and enjoy this special day! 

These are the goals of Zero Emissions Day (ZeDay.) It doesn’t sound too bad right? Yet, if everyone did these four things for this one day, the impact on our planet would be profound! We have already seen how being in lockdown during Covid-19 gave the Earth the chance to heal itself. Considering everything the planet provides for us, isn’t it worth giving it one day off? This is actually the goal of ZeDay.

Back on March 21st, 2008, Sealevel called for a moratorium on fossil fuel usage for Sep. 21st so that we could give the Earth a day off. Just as people need a day of rest, so does the planet to give it a chance to recharge. ZeDay, though, would be more than just a vacation day for the Earth. It is also an opportunity for people (i.e. us) to reflect on how we impact the planet and find ways to reduce our carbon footprint with big or small changes. In effect, we created a moment of pause to innovate and find ways to convert the tools that are hurting our atmosphere into solutions that help improve climate impact. 

For many of us, it is hard to understand the depth of the greenhouse gas problem unless we feel the pain every day. Thankfully, people like Dr. Jonathan Foley are helping us relate to the problem, but more importantly, is giving us solutions to help fight the negative impact of carbon emissions. More importantly, organizations like Planet Home are providing a platform for us to find that set of solutions that each person is willing to do to help the planet. Interestingly, Planet Home’s approach is based on the same principle that set ZeDay on September 21st: balance.

September 21st has many important meanings. It is the United Nations International Day of Peace. More importantly, September 21st is autumnal equinox, the day when the length of daylight and night are equal, both in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. This is balance. Just like we need to balance our consumption and preservation of the Earth’s natural resources. Like we need to balance our carbon emissions so that we’re not radically changing the atmospheric conditions of the planet.

This is what ZeDay gives us: balance. While the Earth gets its vacation day, ZeDay also helps instill a sense of mindfulness on what things each of us can do to help the planet. Maybe it is bike to work more often. Perhaps, it is adopting a houseplant. Or maybe it is giving ourselves an hour a day of no electricity use, even with our mobile devices. At the end of the day, there is at least one small thing each of us is willing to do to help reduce our carbon footprint. ZeDay gives us a chance to reflect on what things we are willing to do, every day of the year. While it might be a small change, imagine how that gets amplified when one billion people are making a small change with you. That’s moving the needle on carbon emissions!

Ultimately, each one of us is responsible to manage our resources effectively and realize that an energy-consuming attitude will destroy our delicate environment. It is no longer enough to not be energy gluttons; we must actively be anti-carbon emissions. This is what the celebration of ZeDay is all about. I hope you will join me in horning Zero Emissions Day, so we can all be solutionists in preserving our atmosphere!