22. April 2024

Earth Day 2024

The international Earth Day takes place on April 22nd.

Earth Day has been celebrated at the end of April for 51 years. Protecting the environment is important every day of the year. But April 22 is used as a day of action to specifically point out a more environmentally conscious and sustainable way of life.

This year, the campaigns under the motto "Water for Peace" are about how water can create peace or trigger conflict.

Access to clean drinking water is already extremely limited in many regions of the world. Higher temperatures and more extreme weather conditions associated with global warming will affect rainfall, snowmelt, flooding and groundwater levels and worsen overall water quality, according to United Nations calculations.

When water is scarce or polluted, or when people have unequal or no access, conflicts can arise. The effects of climate change are increasing and the world population is growing. That is why it is urgently necessary to unite and stand up for the protection and preservation of our most valuable resource.

Earth Day in Germany in 2024 will also focus on the topic of water.

In Germany, the German Committee e.V. was founded by Earth Day International in 1994 as a non-profit, independent environmental initiative. The motto of this Earth Day 2024 initiative is: “Water makes life possible”.

An international study by the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz from 2023 classifies groundwater as essential for humanity and the earth's biological diversity. "After all, water is the basis of life on earth. If we ignore the ecological integrity of the world's largest freshwater resource, we endanger the sustainability of entire ecosystems - and our own societies," says Prof. Dr. Robert Reinecke, who was involved in this study.

About two-thirds of our planet is covered with water. However, only a fraction of it is fresh water and even less of it is so clean that it can be safely used as drinking water. Even though we in Germany currently only notice in summer at most that there is too little water for agriculture, parks and gardens in many places - from a global perspective, this is already a big problem.

How much water do we actually use?

Did you know that every cup of coffee contains almost 140 liters of water, which is used during cultivation, processing and transport until you finally pour your coffee powder with a little hot water? 140 liters is about as much as fits in a bathtub.

A lot of water is also often used to produce clothing: growing cotton uses a lot of water and land, even if it is organic cotton, which at least uses fewer pesticides. Clothing made from artificial materials such as polyester or acrylic puts an additional burden on the environment: When washed, these materials release microplastic particles, i.e. plastic parts that are smaller than 5mm. According to BUND, around 35% of the total input of microplastics into the world's oceans comes from our clothing.

We are rarely aware of the 'invisible' amount of water that lies behind our food, clothing and consumer goods. In this context one also speaks of 'virtual water'.

If you want to find out more precisely how much water is behind everything you use and consume every day, you can calculate your water footprint here.

What can we do in everyday life to protect water?

If you want to make a very specific contribution, you can pay attention to the following things, for example:

  •      Buy food as regionally and seasonally as possible and reduce meat consumption. (Wondering what meat consumption has to do with water? You can read more on the topic here.)

  •      Keep water bodies clean and/or support clean-up campaigns.

  •      Buy environmentally friendly clothing or buy second-hand clothes directly and repair broken items of clothing.

  •      Do not overdose on detergents and cleaning agents and avoid cleaning products that are harmful to the environment.

  •      Avoid wasting water.

  •      Reduce plastic and paper consumption. (You can read more about waste and waste prevention here.)

  •      Make better use of rainwater.

There are many other small actions through which you can make a small contribution to more environmental protection in your everyday life. But we can only achieve the ideas and solutions we need to build a more sustainable and fair world through collective action, solidarity and collaboration from local communities and across borders. So network, get involved politically or support civil society engagement.

Let's take action for climate protection!

Under the motto "Let's take action for climate protection", since 2022 we are dealing with the topic of climate protection in forests and bogs both in our camps and in our office team and with our voluntary group leaders and teamers. Will you join us?