Tuesday, April 22, 2008


On 22 April, Earth Day will be celebrated worldwide for the 38th time.

The first ever celebration took place on 22 April 1970 as an event at universities and campuses across America. The idea to celebrate this Day was conceived by Senator Gaylord Nelson, who modelled it on the at the time very popular anti-war protests at American universities. More than 20 million people took part in that first mass demonstration for the environment, called a “national gathering for the environment”. A great public interest for environmental issues placed environmental protection firmly on the political agenda. Celebration of Earth Day became topical again twenty years later, in 1990, when 200 million people around the globe participated in Earth Day events. This global phenomenon became official in 1992, when numerous government representatives and NGOs participating in the Rio UN Conference on Environment and Development agreed on a long-term programme for promoting sustainable development.

In Croatia, Earth Day has been celebrated in an organised manner since 1990. Traditionally, it is marked by environmental NGOs in order to draw public attention to the importance of preserving the environment, while the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Physical Planning and Construction joins NGOs in the celebration by inviting all citizens of the Republic of Croatia to adopt environmentally friendly behaviour. Since 1999, the Ministry has been financially supporting NGO projects related to environmental issues, and this year 3 million kuna will be allocated from the 2008 State Budget for environmental projects.

The slogan of this year’s Earth Day is A Call for Climate!. One of today's major challenges is climate change and increase in greenhouse gas emissions. For that reason, in early March of this year, the Ministry participated in the environmental event „Ice Cube“ organised by National Geographic Croatia, the aim of which was to draw public attention to the issue of global warming. An ice cube weighing 3,375 tonnes was placed on Ban Jelačić Square, and its quick melting was a warning to the public that Croatia also, although a small country with a minor share in global warming, needs to be a responsible member of the global community.

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