There’s not a day in the calendar that doesn’t now have a call-to-action or a cause to celebrate attached to it.
And one of the year’s most important dates is World Wildlife Day on March 3rd.
World Wildlife Day was created to raise awareness around protecting the planet’s wild animal and plant populations, to celebrate biodiversity and to emphasise the importance of working together to protect it.
What is the World Wildlife Day Theme for 2020?
Every year, the day is given a theme and for 2020 it’s “Sustaining all life on Earth”.
2020 has already been named as a “biodiversity super year” and the priority for the next twelve months will be on ‘alleviating poverty, ensuring sustainable use of resources, and on conserving life both on land and below water to halt biodiversity loss’.
Unsustainable human growth and activity now means that almost one quarter of known animal and plant species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. It’s hoped that 2020’s focus on biodiversity (and on the importance of supporting and protecting ecosystems) will be to the benefit of all species, including our own.
How Does ‘Sustaining All Life on Earth’ align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals?
According to the UN, its Sustainable Development Goals are:
‘A blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.’
All 17 goals are interdependent elements with the aim of being achieved by 2030.
This year’s theme aligns Sustainable Development Goals 1, 12, 14 and 15: no poverty, responsible consumption and production, life below water, and life on land.
There’s only a finite amount of resources available on earth and for the benefit and survival of future species – our own included – growth has to be sustainable whilst also recognising that people have the right to a life without poverty.
How Will People be Celebrating on March 3rd?
From sunset on March 2nd until midnight on March 3rd, the Empire State Building in New York City will be lit up in green and blue to highlight life on land and life beneath the sea. The mast will shine gold with the image of a running rhino highlighting the many species under threat from poaching and unsustainable human growth.
The Artzi Trust is hosting a World Wildlife Day Art Exhibition in Victoria Falls on Wildlife Biodiversity. Large-scale wildlife photographs on the theme of “Survival in the Wold” will be displayed. According to organisers, the photographs are ‘certain to make jaws drop’.
In the United Arab Emirates, the Emirates Zoo is raising awareness throughout the day on the conservation and care of wildlife and ‘giving a voice to the voiceless’.
In Pittsburgh, all visitors get free admission to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium on March 3rd.
How Can You Celebrate World Wildlife Day?
There are plenty of ways for everyone to get involved and celebrate on March 3rd to raise awareness on the importance of protecting the future of animal and plant species.
The World Wildlife Website recommends that you find out about species in your local area that are under threat and see what can be done to help preserve them. You can then share this information with friends and family. For children, it’s a great way to create projects for school and to educate peers and teachers on environmental issues within extended communities. Conservation isn’t just about endangered species living thousands of miles away, it can be about the kind of flora and fauna found in back gardens or local parks.
There are a number of hashtags you can use across social media platforms:
#WorldWildlifeDay #WWD2020 #SustainingAllLife #Biodiversity2020 #SustainableUse
You can create or sign petitions that call on elected representatives to do more to protect plant and animal species both in your country and overseas. Don’t underestimate the power of enough people raising the same issue.
You might donate time or money to a local conservation group or charity. Even sharing posts on social media or attending talks, protests and open days can help.
Think about the decisions you make as a consumer. Are you supporting the destruction of wildlife habitats or illegal poaching? Could you make more sustainable choices when you shop?
Visiting local wildlife sanctuaries and nature reserves are a great way to support what are often underfunded and under recognised charitable organisations. Visiting zoos might be problematic for some people, but they are one way of learning about and engaging with wildlife.
The UN’s sustainability goals and World Wildlife Day are about safeguarding the planet for future generations. Allowing children and young adults to better understand species they’ll eventually be responsible for. It’s a superb learning opportunity for everyone.
But remember, World Wildlife Day happens each year but our collective responsibility for the planet doesn’t just start and end on that day. Its ethos and emphasis on sustainability and care is something we should all be working towards throughout the year.