Every Day Is #EarthDay

April 22, 2014
The Earth Seen from Space

Earth Day is an important day of commemoration for the Department of State, both here in D.C. and at our overseas posts.  American embassies and consulates use Earth Day events -- such as “Chasing Ice” screenings, recycled plastic art contests, and green fun races -- to start conversations about climate change, resource conservation, and wildlife protection.  The environment is of utmost importance to the Department’s goal of facilitating a more peaceful and prosperous world.  As Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been involved in environmental issues since the very first Earth Day, recently said:

“You see it in the Himalayas with the continuing diminution of glacier, the critical glaciers that not – that feed a mere 2.5 to 3 billion people on both sides of the Himalayas and are essential to some of the greatest rivers in the world. But as those begin to dry up and change, you have to ask yourself: What’s life going to look like with the numbers of refugees or the food dislocation and the question of food security and all the things that are linked to it?”

We will be thinking about these climate and water issues on the Department of State’s fourth annual 6k Walk for Water on April 23, 2014, which is open to the public.  Six kilometers is the average distance that women and children walk each day to fetch water in developing countries. With increasingly scarce water and changing water supplies from climate change, this number may increase.  Six kilometers is a lot to walk, especially when carrying up to 40 pounds of water on your head.  It means time away from school, from work, from home. 

Runners participate in the Green Race at Consulate Monterrey in Mexico.

This year, experts from the World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy and WASH Advocates will be stationed along the walk to answer your questions about freshwater, climate change, and more.  Learn more about these issues by checking out http://www.state.gov/6kwalkforwater on social media.  Use the hashtag #6kwaterwalk to share your stories and photos as well to be part of the social media collage we will publish in May.

Earth Day is an important time to reflect on the environmental challenges we face, but it is also a time to celebrate the progress we, the global community, have made in reducing our environmental footprint.  

Every year on Earth Day, the Department announces the winners of the annual Greening Diplomacy Initiative Awards, which are awarded to the post or bureau that has contributed the most to greening efforts at State.  Read some of the Department’s greening success stories on our map, and let us know what you think by tweeting to @StateGDI.

About the Author: Caroline D'Angelo serves as an Eco-Management Analyst at the U.S. Department of State.


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