As you hopefully know, today is Earth Day 2014. Earth Day is an annual event where people around the world unite to share their stories, activities and ideas about how we are saving, or can save, the planet. Just take a look on Google, Twitter or Facebook and you'll see hundreds of influential figures and organisations sharing their environmentally friendly actions and advice, and some making donations to environmental protection charities or companies.
Sunrise, Casa de las Olas, Tulum
Today is the first day I've had a few hours to myself to sit and start to catch up with my blogging and correspondence (don't you just love that word?!). I also think it's wonderful that today, Earth Day, is also my last day in Mexico, which is giving me the time to reflect on everything I've seen and learnt here, the people I've met and the experiences I've had.
Sian Ka'an Sunset
Mexico is an utterly beautiful country. It has thousands of miles of protected land, such as the Sian Ka'an bio-reserve and Calakmul, and the countryside is covered in different ecosystems, supporting animals and human life side by side. Along the coasts - which are probably the parts of Mexico you know of best - there are miles of coral reef, natural underground water reserves and pure white beaches. These environments are so important, to the country for tourism as well as having huge environmental value.While I've been in Mexico, I've come across the damage that can be done to these environments first hand, and what is being done to protect them.
I have been in Mexico studying sustainable tourism for three weeks now, and it has devastated me to learn about the true cost and damage of mass tourism on these environments. Did you know that the beaches of tourist hot spot Cancun are washed away almost every year due to the increasingly severe storms that pound the coast during hurricane season, and that the water is now so heavily polluted it is beginning to affect the once 'infinite' supply of fresh water from the peninsula's Cenotes?
Whilst there are of course wonderfully environmentally conscious hotels and tourist activities here, the majority of tourists who hit Mexico each year (8 million in the Mayan Riviera to be exact) neither care for nor realise that damage that they are inflicting on the environment, or see that if this behaviour continues, within our lifetimes the area will be destroyed.
I'm not trying to depress you, but I feel that on this really important international day, it is easy to look at the impacts of large corporations and think 'this is their fault, and their responsibility'. Wrong. If we all look at our own impacts on the environment, we'd realise that for each person on this 7 billion plus person plant, each tiny piece of damage we do contributes to the overall mess we're making of the world. So, I ask you, take a moment today to think about some of your impacts, from the clothes you wear to the food you eat, the way you travel to the electricity you use in your home. Have a little think about the way you personally impact on the environment, and then think back over the beautiful places in this world you want to protect - maybe to visit one day, or ones which hold important memories. The smallest change to your lifestyles can make the largest impact on the health of the environment.
So, now you've had a think, please enjoy this earth day and cherish those places you hold dear. Who knows what they'll be like in ten, or twenty years time? Think about your actions, and the changes you can make. If you'd like any advice, take a look at the Earth Day website, or drop me an email and I'll happily point you in the direction of some top environmental tips!
If you're looking for ideas, inspiration or information about Earth Day and what it means to you, take a look at some of the following:
Greta's first book Wear No Evil has been released today. Described as the ultimate guide to eco conscious fashion, without compromising on style, it will guide you comfortably into a new eco conscious wardrobe. Check out her other work (and my blogging for her!) at FashionMeGreen.
A year on from the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, a range of events are being held around the world to commemorate the disaster and discuss what it means and how any similar future disaster can be prevented. particularly look at the work by The Rainbow Collective, War on Want and TRAID.
Sass, the fabulous Sass. Involved heavily fashion revolution day, if you're state side check out the events she's involved in (particularly in NYC) and for other events around the world, click here.
The iconic panda could do with some help/ Check out their website to see if there are any campaigns you would like to sponsor. Alternatively, why not google some local charities or organisations that you could get involved in to make an immediate impact in your area? Students, check your Student Union and societies for ways to get involved!
Of course, please take a flick through the Bexceptional archives (remember there's Instagram and Twitter info too!) to see how you can make steps to save the planet with your wardrobe and beauty regimes.
So sorry for the lack of posts .... My days here are really long, often starting before 6 and fininshing after 11 and I'm struggling to find places in my spare time that have wifi. Hopefully on Friday I will have a few hours where I can update you all and tell you about the amazing things I'm learning here and the adventures that I'm having.
In the mean time, my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages and the best sources of info as these are quick to update when I'm short on time.