1970 marked the first Earth Day celebration in the United States and it soon became a global phenomenon. The goal was to raise awareness about environmental issues and to make environmental conservation and protection a political priority for our elected representatives. As a result, Earth Day first lead to the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S., and it later inspired the first United Nations Global Climate Conference which took place in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
For 2019, ETIV do Brasil and Recicla Itacaré decided to organise the first Earth Day event that has ever taken place in Itacaré, Bahia, with support from several partner organisations including Reserva de Itacare, Casa Fluir, Dedo de Moca, Trauma Das Margaritas, Conselho Comunitário de Segurança Publica de Itacaré, Casa de Conto, Associação de Mulheres Empreendedoras de Itacaré and the Municipality of Itacare. More than 500 people attended the event, including 3 different schools and two of our local officials: the Secretary of Tourism and the Secretary of Urban Development. The event aimed to celebrate the natural beauty of Itacaré, while also calling for environmental protection, addressing many local concerns regarding water, garbage and sanitation. In addition, both regional and international concerns regarding Brazil’s land, water, air quality and forests were on the agenda. Such topics were raised particularly now that renewable energy is more economically profitable, and because conserving the natural resources we have today will undoubtedly be the best way to ensure a better future for our planet and for the future of many generations to come.
During the opening welcome, Padre Ednaldo, master of ceremony, took to the stage to personally thank ETIV do Brasil and Recicla Itacaré for having organised such an important event. Indeed, it was the first time that the local community had got together to publicly celebrate our planet and discuss the environmental issues at stake.
Since the event involved children from local schools, we organised a theatrical performance that touched on environmental issues, while also encouraging audience participation and plenty of laughs from the crowd. The girls from the LitClubs, one of the projects run by ETIV do Brasil, also participated in the event, sharing the stories that they had written related to environmental conservation. One of the story books was even based on a true story about a local area where both garbage and sewage is entering a stream that eventually makes its way to the ocean and our local beaches.
A photo and art competition was also organised, and the contest was open to the entire community of Itacaré. Participants presented their pictures under one of two categories: local natural beauty or local environmental issues. Voting is open on the ETIV do Brasil Facebook page, so please head to the Dia da Terra album to like your favourites! The contest will be open until Monday, 6th May and the winner will receive a special prize.
Following the various performances and exhibitions, Padre Ednaldo thanked all participants and invited them to join the Environmental Justice League to be able to continue to support the environmental conservation work that is being carried out by ETIV do Brasil and Recicla Itacaré. More information will soon be released, so STAY TUNED!
On April 22nd 2020, we will be celebrating Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, and ETIV do Brasil and Recicla Itacare have already confirmed that an even bigger event will be organised. In doing so, we are looking to create an annual event which could involve more partners, schools, and community representatives every year, all of whom are committed to working together for environmental conservation, while also supporting the global movement to act on climate change on an international scale.
Blog post by Elia Berlingerio: ETIV Fund Development Coordinator