CANADA GEARS UP FOR ENVIRONMENT WEEK

By Joanne Hagen
The Pipestone Flyer

 On June 5, Alberta joins the rest of Canada in a week long celebration of our breathtakingly beautiful and extremely valuable northern environment and landscape.  From June 5 through to June 11, each day will be packed tight with things to do, see, learn and experience, and a time to celebrate the value of Canada's diverse and enriched environment.  2011 marks the Canadian Environment Week's 40th anniversary celebration, and hundreds of festivities and events will be taking place across the country. 

When You See Green, Stop
 During the weeklong event, a number of Alberta communities will be hosting Green Stops,  which are various events organized by groups or local citizens to promote enironmental awareness.  Green Stops can be anything from nature walks, beach clean up, displays or discussions.  Green Stops are designed to educate, empower, promote clean air, good health, and have fun.  Anyone with an idea for a Green Stop is encouraged to register by going to website www.environment.gov.ab.ca/edu/eweek/, where you will also find helpful tips for promoting your Green Stop and the most up-to-date list of communities setting up Green Stops.

Kicking Off with the World
 Intentionally held to coincide with World Environment Day on June 5, the week will begin with the day designated in 1972 by the United Nations to increase awareness and empower  people from all corners of the earth and stimulate political action toward a sustainable, healthy world environment.  If everyone, the world over, did one small thing on just this one day - pick up some garbage, walk/bike/carpool to work, plant a tree - what a difference it would make. 

Commuter Challenge (June 5-11)
 "One busload of passengers is responsible for forty fewer vehicles on the road during rush hours, saves 70,000 litres of fuel, and avoids 175 tonnes of emissions per year." (From www.cleanairday.com)
 A nation-wide competitive-friendly event, the Commuter Challenge is a contest between organizations and cities to see who can get the most employees out of single occupancy vehicles and into healthier modes of travel.  The program is designed to raise awareness of sustainable commuting and encourage Canadians to take action by carpooling, taking transit, biking or tele-working from home.  If everyone agreed to carpool just one day a week, the effects and the savings would be astounding.

AWQA Day (June 5)
 The Alberta Water Quality Awareness Day is a provincial program celebrated on June 5 every year.  The program aims at increasing understanding of water quality and watershed health, through hands-on water quality testing.  Launching a pilot project modeled on the World Water Monitoring Day program, an initiative to encourage Albertans to become involved in watershed preservation, the first AWQA Day was June 5, 2005 and ran every year until 2009.  AWQA now runs on a three-year schedule, available again in 2012.
For more information, go to www.awqa.ca.

Clean Air Day (June 8)
 Without food, the body can still live for weeks; deprived of water, up to a week or so; without air, a couple of minutes.  Air is our lifeline, and the quality of air that we breathe into our bodies affects, accordingly, the delicate network of lung and cardiovascular tissue.  Pollution and toxins can accumulate in the body, thus clean air is vital for optimum health.
 Wednesday, June 8, is designated Clean Air Day, a celebration of environmentally-friendly activities that promote clean air and good health for all Canadians.  Officially launched in June of 1999, the aim of Clean Air Day has been to increase cognizance and action on clean air and climate change, an opportunity for everyone from government levels to industry to individual citizens to put forth a commitment toward ensuring clean air.

"Preserving Our Forests, Protecting Our Future"
 Forests are home to 300 million people around the world, and the livelihoods of over 1.6 billion people depend on forests.  This year, 2011, has been declared International Year of Forests by the United Nations General Assembly, to increase awareness on effective management, conservation and sustainable development of all the world's forests.
 Canada joins in the year-long celebration of our great forests and timberland, and as a global leader in sustainable forest management, will be showcasing a number of forest-related events and activities throughout the year. 
 Our country's vast amount of forested land is critical to the environment overall; forests  provide protection, houses untold numbers of wildlife species, creates jobs, allow for a sustainable industry, not to mention the aesthetic appeal of a forest.  We love our woodlands and forests...the trails and animal footpaths, the pungent smell of earth and blossom, trickling brooks and sun streaming through the towering firs, taking it all in with each breath of crisp northern air.  
For more information, see www.canadaforests.nrcan.gc.ca.

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