Here’s what you need to know about each of these “holidays”, plus a few tips on how to participate.
Zero Emissions Day
- Canadian company Sealevel first conceived Zero Emissions Day (ZeDay) in 2008, with the mission of “giving the planet one day off a year.”
- Participating is simple: for 24 hours, don’t use gas, oil, or coal, and use minimal or no electricity generated by fossil fuel.
- ZeDay coincides with International Day of Peace and World Gratitude Day.
- The date was chosen because the length of days and nights are equal, and the amount of light is fair to those in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
- Prepare in advance by eating most of the food stored in your fridge or freezer, so that when you turn off your power for the day, you can feast on what’s remaining in the refrigerator, then give it a cleaning before restocking it when you turn the power back on.
- The organizers have a vision that one day, perhaps ZeDay will even halt transportation like planes, trains, and boats… if you have someplace to be on September 21, get there beforehand.
- Enjoy the mindfulness and the discipline of not automatically turning on light switches and appliances.
World Carfree Day
- This international event encourages people to leave their cars behind, and instead take public transportation, bike, or walk to where they need to go.
- Supporters hope that the results of the day will inspire citizens and city planners to envision a world where we are less reliant on cars.
- World Carfree Day was originally scheduled to coincide with European Mobility Day, but its roots lie in car-free days organized during the oil crisis in the 1970s.
- The prevalence of car culture is believed to increase pollution, use resources faster than they can be replaced, destroy habitats, and diminish the quality of communities, not to mention cause deaths via accidents.
- Map out a route to work or school that is possible without driving a car. Combine transportation — e.g. biking to a train station — if you can’t get there easily.
- Encourage friends and neighbors to join you in going car-free for the day. You can even bike or walk together to work or school for support or safety.
- Motor vehicles account for about 14 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Carfree Day really does show results: at a 2004 Carfree Day event in Montreal, Canada, measurements showed a 90 percent reduction in nitrogen monoxide and a 100 percent reduction in carbon monoxide at the traffic intersection where the event took place.