On April 22nd, communities, towns, and cities around the world celebrated International Earth Day. What does this event mean for the world, and for the community of Suchitoto in El Salvador, where many members of the SERES ambassador network live and work?
The history and international context of Earth Day
This year, more than a billion people in 192 countries gathered together to celebrate Earth Day, raising the voices together to call for all of us to work together to care for our planet and take necessary action – as individuals and as groups, societies, and nations – to confront and combat climate change. Earth Day has become the single largest secular observance in all of the world.
The very first Earth Day was celebrated in the United States on April 22, 1970. Today it is celebrated throughout the globe and is designated by the United Nations as an “an opportunity to raise public awareness around the world to the challenges regarding the well-being of the planet and all the life it supports.” The theme for 2017 was environmental and climate literacy, and to this end the Earth Day celebration in Suchitoto, El Salvador was called “Awake for the Earth.”
AWAKE FOR THE EARTH in Suchitoto
Suchitoto celebrated Earth Day this past Wednesday, April 26, beginning the day with a 4km walk in the town, in which school centers, ecological groups, organizations, and people from civil society walked to the beat of slogans and chants talking about the planet and promoting the popular referendum for the right to water, that will be held May 28th.
Traditionally, Suchitoto has celebrated Earth Day the past few years as a civic festival that unites communities and organizations in order to give a message to the people. This year the theme, “Awake for the Earth,” was a call to action and awareness about the environment and climate change.
Ecological groups from different communities prepared banners with paintings alluding to the environment and expressing variations on the theme “Awake for the Earth.” They then participated in a contest in which the Environmental Commission awarded prizes to the four best representations of the theme.
School centers in the urban and rural area participated in the 4km walk until they arrived at the central park of Suchitoto, where they hosted a forum with presentations about native seeds, prevention of forest fires, and the popular referendum that looks to declare water a right in Suchitoto.
The youth of ecological groups and members of SERES were among the organizers, collaborators, and participants at the event. They also presented their banners with pictures and illustrations to highlight their commitment to the care and protection of the planet.
-Antonio Cruz Sánchez, Program Coordinator, El Salvador