Istanbul, Turkey- April 22nd, 2012

Happy Earth Day, friends!

As you know, WEDO is a women’s global advocacy organization working to ensure that sustainable development policies, programs and funds include women’s rights and perspectives and aim to advance gender equality. But a sustainable world – one that includes equitable and just allocation, management of and control over resources – is in jeopardy; destructive global production and consumption cycles and unfulfilled rights are part of the reason. This Earth Day, as we approach Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, WEDO recognizes that our efforts to achieve sustainable development will be futile if the conference does not uphold the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and if it allows shifting blame or diverting attention from those most responsible for environmental damage and therefore those most obligated to act. On the road from Earth Day 2012 to the Earth Summit 2012, let’s ensure that equity and human rights remain central to any and all outcomes at Rio+20.

With a focus on our own backyard (as WEDO is based in United States,) below we’ve compiled 22 Facts for April 22nd, with the hope of raising awareness of opportunities for creating change to ignite transformation. Today is the day to commit to action! We are – every one of us – agents for change.

  1. 102: the estimated weight of garbage – in TONS – that the average American will toss out in his or her lifetime
  2. 2,400: pounds of carbon dioxide saved by recycling half of your household waste. Recycle!
  3. 7 million: the size – in TONS (or twice the size of Texas) – of plastic, chemical sludge and other debris swirling in a giant trash patch in the Pacific, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
  4. 400 million: the weight – in TONS – of old computer hardware, mobile phones and other electronic waste that are shipped from the U.S. to landfills in developing countries every year
  5. 200: dollars per year you can save by using CFL and LED lighting. Make the switch!
  6. 35,000: the miles of rivers and groundwater contaminated by U.S. factory-farmed hog, chicken and cattle waste
  7. 60: the percentage of carbon monoxide emissions from vehicle exhaust nationwide. In cities, this percentage jumps to 95%
  8. 3 million: the weight of toxic chemicals – in TONS – that U.S. factories spew each year into the air, land and water
  9. 2,000: gallons of water wasted per year from one drip a second. Fix leaky faucets!
  10. 80: the percent of items in landfills that could be recycled – but have not been
  11. 50: gallons of water washing machines can use per load. Wash full loads of laundry!
  12. 63,000: number of garbage trucks that we could fill every day with the trash we throw away
  13. 1 million: bushels of litter that Americans throw out their car window every day
  14. 3.4 to 8.4: BILLIONS of gallons of water a day that would be saved if all plumbing fixtures in the U.S. were replaced with water-conserving fixtures. Buy water-efficient plumbing fixtures!  
  15. 2.2 billion: pounds of pesticides Americans use every year, which eventually washes into our rivers and lakes
  16. 12 million: barrels of oil required to make the 380 billion plastic bags used in the U.S. every year. BYOB- Bring your own bag!
  17. Less than 2: percent of plastic bags in the U.S. that end up getting recycled
  18. Over 1 million: number of birds and marine animals that die each year as a result of plastic pollution
  19. 10 billion: number of paper bags consumed by Americans every year; approximately 14 million trees are cut down every year for paper bag production
  20. 46,000: pieces of plastic litter floating in every square mile of the ocean, as estimated by The United Nations Environment Programme
  21. 6 months: length of time Americans could provide energy to heat and air condition the average home by recycling 1 ton of paper
  22. 782 million: number of trees that could be saved if Americans recycled 70% of the 85.5 million tons of paper they use each year (currently only 22% is recycled)

By the way, did you know that Earth Day is now observed in 175 countries and is the largest secular modern day holiday in the world? In light of that, anything should be possible!


Celebrating Earth Day

Earth Day at AWID!

For the past few days, WEDO team members have been actively (and eagerly!) participating in the 12th Forum of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) in Istanbul,Turkey. A gathering of thousands of feminist activists from around the world, the AWID Forum is a space for engaging in transformative dialogue on progress, challenges, opportunities and next steps for the women’s movement.

On Earth Day, WEDO is proud to take to the streets with our fellow feminists for a march in Istanbul, led by a number of Turkish women’s organizations who have hosted us in their beautiful country. We will be marching with signs calling for a “just and sustainable world” a “peaceful and healthy planet” and honoring  women’s leadership for environment!

Some helpful (and cheerful) young activists at AWID who helped us make some signs for Earth Day!


Share Your Actions

Make a pledge to do something for our environment: join our partners at Earth Day Network in their A Billion Acts of Green ® Campaign– the largest environmental service campaign in the world. Let’s get to one billion acts of environmental service before the Rio+20 in June!

Define the Future YOU Want!

Make your voice heard at Rio+20! Share your ideas for a sustainable and equitable world. Help make poverty eradication and gender equality a reality. In preparation for Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (20-22 June 2012), the official Women’s Major Group is collecting women’s views and gender perspectives from around the world. Spend 10 minutes on the Rio+20 gender survey (also in [Spanish] [French]) and contribute to the strategy and focus of the Women’s Major Group. Be sure to answer the 6 key questions (marked with stars in the online version; also attached as PDF file) by 5 May 2012 to add your perspective to the diverse views of women from all parts of the world. The attached toolkit might be useful for sharing the survey with your networks.


FACEBOOK- Earth Day Facebook Cover

Use our Earth Day Facebook cover photo to show your support of women’s rights and environmental sustainability. Let us know if you use them, and we will highlight you on our wall!

Click on the image to view then right click to “Save Image As”.

Donate your tweets on April 22nd to raising awareness about the importance of working towards a just world which promotes and protects human rights, gender equality and the integrity of the environment. Share some of the resources above and follow the worldwide conversation using #EarthDay. Let us know what you’re up to @WEDO_Worldwide.

join the movement

Women and girls around the world are demanding and creating systemic change and a sustainable future for all. We need collective power to attain a just future – we need you.