What day is it? | Inquirer Opinion
Pinoy Kasi

What day is it?

Writing a newspaper column, I sometimes do run out of ideas for topics, which is when I then look for some special day to commemorate something.

A few days ago, I thought I should write something about the environment and vaguely remembered there was some date in June dedicated to the environment.

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I Googled “UN Days” and, lo, I found a site listing the many official days designated by the United Nations to commemorate something. There it was: June 5, designated as World Environment Day.

You’ll find World Environment Day listed as well in a Wikipedia entry devoted just to “environment days,” and I thought that might as well be part of my focus for today’s column, to show that environmentalism covers so many issues and concerns.

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I’ll narrow down the dates first to the ones I feel are especially relevant for the Philippines.

I also suspect this will be the longest paragraph I’ve ever written:

The year has a slow start — no environment days and the first two months blank until we get World Wildlife Day (March 3); Solar Appreciation Day (second Friday of March); International Day of Action for Rivers (March 14); World Consumer Rights Day (March 15), which serves to remind us that our consumerism often runs counter to environmentalism; Global Recycling Day (March 18); World Sparrow Day (March 20), when we can give attention to our ever ubiquitous maya; International Day of Forests (March 21); World Wood Day (March 22); World Water Day (March 22), so very relevant to a waterless Metro Manila; World Fish Migration Day (April 21); Earth Day (April 22), not to be confused with World Environment Day; World Migratory Bird Day (second Saturday of May in the United States and Canada but second Saturday of October in central and south America); Endangered Species Day (third Friday of May); International Day for Biological Diversity or World Biodiversity Day (May 22); Bike-to-Work Day (third Friday of May), but maybe we should choose another day because that’s at the height of our summer; and, finally for May, World No Tobacco Day (May 31).

There, I had to catch my breath. I’m starting a new paragraph to save your eyesight.

We have World Environment Day (June 5), World Oceans Day (June 8) and Coral Triangle Day (June 9) calling attention to an area in the western Pacific with some 500 species of corals. The Verde Island Passage in Mindoro is the “hottest” biodiversity spot in that triangle.

To continue, there’s Global Wind Day (June 15); World Sea Turtle Day (June 16); International Climate Change Day (June 21); World Rainforest Day (June 22); World Population Day (July 11); International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer (Sept. 16); World Water Monitoring Day (Sept. 18); World Cleanup Day (Sept. 21), a strange coincidence with our commemoration of martial law, so maybe we can talk about fighting the attempts to clean up (revise) history; Zero Emissions Day (also on Sept. 21!); Car Free Day (Sept. 22); World Environmental Health Day (Sept. 26); World Rivers Day (last Sunday of September).

Moving on, there’s World Habitat Day (first Monday of October); World Animal Day (Oct. 4), drawn from the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi; Energy Efficiency Day (first Wednesday in October); International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction (Oct. 13); Sustainability Day (fourth Wednesday of October); International Day of Climate Action (Oct. 24); World Vegan Day (Nov. 1).

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Then there’s the longest name for an environmental day: International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict (Nov. 6).

For the rest of the year, we have World Soil Day (Dec. 5) and International Mountain Day (Dec. 11).

Notice how the days seem to trail off toward the end of the year, almost as if the people doing these days ran out of steam? I smiled seeing one of the listed days, Ozone Action Day, as a “variable date depending on weather conditions.” The very last entry, “eDay or Electronic Waste Day,” observed only in New Zealand, was also listed as a variable date.

There are all kinds of days for particular animals, many clustered around July and August. None of the animals with dedicated days are found in the Philippines: polar bears, giraffes, lions, elephants, orangutans, tigers.

So, there, we didn’t even touch religious days or historical days. Wouldn’t it be a nightmare for school administrators and teachers if politicians ever converted all these special days into holidays?

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TAGS: Michael L. Tan, Pinoy Kasi, UN Days, World Environment Day
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