A 6 ton sperm whale washed up the shores of southern spain with 64 pounds of plastic in its stomach. Only last month the last male northern white Rhino, Sudan, died bringing with it the witnessing of the extinction of a specie. Ocean Plastics are killing a variety of marine life, including Coral Reefs. The Arctic is losing ice at its fastest rate in at least 1500 years.
Earth Day turned 48 today. With its start to protest the adverse impacts of 150 years of Industrial Revolution today it is observed by more than 1 billion people in nearly 192 countries across the globe. The need for awareness & action about the growing damage to the planet that we call home is increasing. For IEI Pakistan, it is not just a day but an idea that’s at the heart of our organizations ideology, something we feel is our duty to educate our future generations on to create a lasting ripple effect that helps us take action at Individual & Community Levels.
IEI Pakistan’s parent organization Willow Tree Art Residency began in 2013 with the idea of creating Environmental Art and reaching out to communities to not just create an awareness of Art itself but of the environment and what inspiration can be derived from it. In 2016 with the start of IEI Pakistan we decided to take this awareness to the schools & children we work with, for they are the future and hence the protectors of this planet. Since then IEI Pakistan has made it a focus to create environmental awareness both in the classrooms and outside, not just for the communities and children we work with but also for the many volunteers who join us from across Pakistan.
In the last two and a half years of our work we have not just discussed openly and greatly on the subject but also showcased our commitment to the environment through multiple actions. The highlight being Willow Tree – IEI Libraries. An initiative that implements the idea of recycling & upcycling to create spaces that are all-inclusive, nurturing and fostering grounds for the children and community. Each Library is carefully designed & fashioned with recycled material to generate lasting inspiration at individual and community level to Reuse & Recycle material in creative ways.
Our Art Programs are designed to instill the same awareness; with our Founder and Director Art & Spaces Kareem Hunzai’s vision focused on Environmental Art each Art Activity is discussed, planned and executed with an environmental focus in collaboration with the Artists who join our programs. Living with our volunteers for months at hand means constant discussion on what can be done to highlight Environment, its protection and preservation with the activities we undertake.
Inside and outside classrooms we make it a point to hold discussions and interactive activities on various topics surrounding Environment and What we can do to reduce the damage being done to planet Earth – wildlife conservation and its impact on the environment, what glaciers mean and how they impact global climates, identifying the industrial waste and how we can reduce it, global warming and how it affects us and the world at large – we keep adding to these discussions as we grow as an organization and reach more communities, because we believe it is a duty on us as individuals and as communities to do what we can today to protect the sheer beauty and marvels of this planet.
This Earth Day, IEI Pakistan strengthens its resolve to focus on pressing issues that continue to damage our environment & the ecosystems that survive herein. Our focus areas, in line with the global Earth Network and needs of the region for the year are:
“Because we are not on it but a part of it. Because Earth’s health is our health”
[Cover Art Work by Children of Misgar]