World Energy Day
Yesterday at a gathering of 24 heads of state, October 22nd was declared the first annual World Energy Day; joining Earth Day (April 22) and World Environment Day (June 5), World Energy Day will be the third day set aside every year to focus on a major issue related to the environment and long term sustainability. The declaration proclaims, “we are called upon to create a world where every human comes to this planet earth will have a plentiful of energy that is harmonious with nature. Working towards this end, World Energy Forum hereby proclaims October 22 of every year to be commemorated annually as the World Energy Day. The World Energy Day shall serve to stimulate worldwide awareness of energy issues and the political will and passion to support universal energy access that can benefit all nations and peoples.”
Certainly the idea of setting aside a day to concentrate our planet’s environment is a long standing practice of Judaism; recall that Tu B’shvat is the day we set aside to care for trees. In keeping with and expanding on that tradition, I think the proliferation of days dedicated to the reflection on key environmental issues is not only good practice but also a necessary step in our efforts to achieve environmental sustainability; however, I must include the caveat that observance of Earth Day, World Environment Day and World Energy Day is a useful exercise if and only if it is coupled by genuine action by individuals, governments, and corporations to reduce the impact of their daily activities over the long term and not merely the solitary day of observance. In much the same way boycotting gas stations for a single day is an ineffective means of attempting to lower gas prices, practicing good environmental policy for a single day has very little impact if it merely entails differing environmentally damaging policies for a day. To that end, we need to continue to refine our daily habits, think carefully and deliberately how we use energy and plan for the future so our planet is still habitable for future generations.
Image Courtesy of Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern University.