A Moratorium on Oil
Zero Emissions Day — or Zeday, as it is commonly referred to — is intended to be a temporary respite from using fossil fuels, to increase awareness of this finite resource and how we might change our actions on a daily basis to conserve it.
History of Zero Emissions Day
ZeDay was the brainchild of Ken Wallace, of Halifax-based graphic design firm Sealevel Special Projects. Walking down the street with his baby, he was struck first by the polluting traffic and idling vehicles, and then by the thought of how beneficial it would be to stop it all, if only for a brief time.
Flash forward 20-some years to March 21, 2008: Sealevel launched a website calling for September 21 to be a day for a global moratorium on fossil fuel consumption. Its purpose: to give our planet one day off a year. The date was chosen partly because it is the autumnul equinox and days and nights are of equal length, and partly because it is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace.
The guidelines for the 24-hour period on September 21 were simple: Don’t use or burn oil, gas or coal, and minimize, or even eliminate, the use of electricity powered by fossil fuels. Essential and emergency services should operate as usual, and above all, just “do your best, have fun, enjoy the day.”
Since then, ZeDay has become a worldwide movement, and is observed annually, often with a theme, anything from “Buddy Up” (sharing ZeDay with friends and family) to “Get Creative”.
The Importance of ZeDay
Being aware of our consumption of fossil fuels is important: Electricity derived from fossil fuels is the biggest contributor to air emissions in the United States. And these emissions contribute to smog, acid rain, climate change, and other factors. In turn, climate change is believed to create conditions that cause catastrophic events like forest fires, disease breakouts, and droughts.
Doing Your Part
Next September 21, consider participating in ZeDay yourself. Here’s how:
- Choose to bike, walk, or take public transportation to work.
- Plan a no-cook meal to eat.
- Go to bed early so you’ll need less electrical power to light lamps… and consider using a candle for the dark hours you are awake.
- Unplug everything that is not essential, and instead of watching TV, playing on the computer, or doing other activities that involve electronics, get together with a friend for tea, take a walk, or play a board game with your family.