Green Actions, Global Impact: Simple Ways to Honor World Environment Day 2024

Green Actions, Global Impact: Simple Ways to Honor World Environment Day 2024

This year, World Environment Day is June 5th. In a multitude of ways East Africa is on the forefront of environment and climate change issues. Often, it’s East Africa’s young citizens who exemplify the simple solutions that are working toward environmental sustainability and combating climate change. 

For this day of recognition, we’ll talk about the ways East African youth are inspiring their communities – and others at large – to have a positive impact on the environment. We’ll also have some suggestions for ways you can get involved and start (or continue) combating climate change in your own way.

But first, you may be wondering, what is World Environment Day and how did it start?  

World Environment Day 2024

This climate themed day is held every year on June 5th and serves to galvanize and engage all people to help protect the earth and effect a more sustainable world. World Environment Day is sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme and first began in 1973. This year’s host city is Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and the theme focuses on land restoration, desertification progress and drought resilience.

Who climate change affects the most

Because climate change tends to impact developing nations the most, particularly ones with warmer climates, rural areas like East Africa end up bearing the brunt of its harsh effects. Luckily, today’s youth possess hungry minds, innovative spirits, are creative technologically and unafraid of dealing with our existential climate challenges. 

Asante Africa Foundation works to support the efforts of these youth and their communities any way we can, from education to sponsorship to partnership.

Two ways East African youth are taking action on the climate

In Kenya, young leaders like Margaret and Raina developed a groundbreaking water purification system, helping to provide access to clean water in their community. Their invention not only provides a sustainable solution to a long-standing problem but it netted them a Young Scientist Kenya award which helped them start a business and scale up their water purifier production, thereby magnifying their positive impact on the community and the environment.

Another young Kenyan, 17-year-old Mercy, ingeniously created a solar cooker from local resources like worn tires, aluminum foil, and glass. The device harnesses solar energy, and offers an eco-friendly alternative to more traditional cooking methods that aren’t as environmentally friendly. Mercy’s invention shines a light on renewable energy sources and creating energy sustainability in everyday life. With a plan to open a business based on her invention, she’s an entrepreneur with a commitment to the environment.

At Asante Africa, we empower rural East African girls (and youth) to become leaders through education and scholarships, imparting social skills, leadership focused programs and entrepreneurial support. In this way, youth serve as an example for their families, communities and the world at large. 

Read more about how young East African girls are leading in climate action

6 ways to honor this year’s World Environment Day 

As mentioned above, this year the focus is land restoration, desertification progress and drought resilience. With that in mind, we came up with six simple ways you can help contribute to having a larger global impact in 2024. 

1) Plant a tree: Whether in your yard, a needy block, or in concert with the city in which you live, planting a tree is the most direct way to combat the effects of deforestation.

Pro Tip: Many cities and counties have programs that will either buy, or subsidize the cost of, tree purchases. Check your local city/county website for beautification programs.

2) Use less paper: Sounds simple…and it is! Using less paper means less waste and less demand for paper products. You can use cloud-based software to digitize your workflows and eliminate paper waste.

3) Purchase second hand clothing: If you need some light summer clothing, consider buying second hand or vintage. It avoids plastic packaging, and later on, avoids being put in a landfill when the garment has run its course. Additionally, wearing clothes made from natural fibers helps by avoiding synthetics.

4) Compost food waste: According to Feeding America, 92 billion pounds of food every year is wasted in the United States alone. For any food you don’t consume, consider composting it yourself, or donating extra/unused food to those in need.

5) Limit shower time: We all know how a long luxurious shower feels. But try limiting your showers to seven minutes. It’ll help to conserve water and build better habits for water conservation overall.

6) Support programs centering environmental entrepreneurship: Whether it’s an organization that helps clean plastic waste out of our oceans or that supports the work of young entrepreneurs in rural East Africa, your dollars go directly to helping their efforts.         

Learn more about how you can support Asante Africa’s mission to empower Africa’s youth for a brighter, greener future!

 WRITTEN BY: Christopher Bass

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