Today, September 21, is Worldwide Zero Emissions Day. As an international day of action, today is focused on raising awareness of the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions on the environment. Every day, tremendous amounts of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, and fluorinated gases are released into the atmosphere. These gases absorb outgoing infrared radiation from the Earth and trap it in the atmosphere, effectively creating a ‘greenhouse’ effect on the entire planet. As the Earth continues to warm, the effects of this atmospheric imbalance manifests itself as increasingly severe and destructive climate challenges such as natural disasters, mass ecosystem devastation, and biodiversity loss.
So what does ‘zero emissions’ really mean? This term refers to the balance between greenhouse gases that are emitted and the equivalent amount being removed, or sequestered, from the atmosphere. Achieving ‘net zero’ emissions means that the amount of greenhouse gases being released is neutralized by other activities- such as carbon removal projects that capture CO2 from the atmosphere and store it in trees.
Zero Emissions Day began in Nova Scotia in 2008 as a call to action, raising awareness of the impact of greenhouse gases while simultaneously urging us all to take action. The goal of this event is to give the world a break from fossil fuels, and to encourage a global transition to renewable, clean energy sources. Around the world, more and more people are engaging in activities that promote clean air and reduced daily emissions. The goal is straightforward: A one-day moratorium on the combustion of fossil fuels and a minimum use of electricity.
While today is an important reminder of our individual and collective responsibility in addressing climate change, one day is simply not enough. We must dedicate ourselves entirely to divesting from fossil fuels and removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Only by working together will we be able to guarantee a cleaner, greener future for our planet.