This Earth Day, we invite you to learn about how U.S. embassies and consulates are using American innovation to power eco-diplomacy around the world. Here in Washington, D.C., U.S. Department of State employees saw some of these ideas in action at the annual Earth Day Expo on Thursday, April 20, 2017.
State Department employees had a chance to speak with American small businesses that are manufacturing the air quality monitoring and smart metering programs being used in embassies and consulates. The information the monitors gather help employees, foreign citizens, and even other governments make informed decisions about their air quality.
Participants also learned how the State Department is sharing its innovative programs with decision-makers around the world through the Eco-Capital Forum (ECF). Through this platform, the diplomatic community, city governments, businesses, and NGOs exchange solutions to address environmental and energy challenges facing cities in the 21st century. It started in Washington, D.C., and has now grown to include chapters in Rome, Bangkok, and Paris.
Acting Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Judith Garber, attended the event and remarked about the importance of partnerships to addressing environmental challenges.
“Our embassies and consulates around the world celebrate Earth Day, promoting responsible stewardship of the environment. Successes come from partnering with businesses, NGOs, or local governments to host environmental film showcases, festivals, green races, beach cleanups, and so much more. These events help strengthen relationships and build ties with the citizens of other nations, as we protect our air, water and natural habitats together,” she said.
These environmental themes are being addressed around the world at Earth Day events hosted by U.S. diplomatic missions. U.S. Embassy Santo Domingo, for example, is hosting its annual Green Fest for Earth Day with a group of partners including local NGOs, Coca-Cola, and the Dominican government. U.S. Embassy Copenhagen celebrated Earth Day by co-hosting a film screening of Plastic Ocean, a documentary film about how trash impacts marine life, at the Danish National Aquarium.
Posts are even encouraging friendly competition in honor of Earth Day. In Kazakhstan, the U.S. Embassy is running a social media challenge to encourage people to reduce their use of plastic bags, while U.S. Embassy Skopje, Macedonia invited the public to submit their favorite photos for a contest.
Learn more about how U.S. embassies and consulates have celebrated Earth Day in the past in the embedded Google Map. You can also toggle views to see which U.S. embassies and consulates have technology like solar panels, solar hot water heaters, and more.
About the Author: Caroline D'Angelo serves as Eco-Management Analyst in the Office of Management Policy, Rightsizing and Innovation at the U.S. Department of State.
Editor's Note: This entry is also published on Medium.com/StateDept.
For more information: