Eco dates for the diary

If you're galvanised by a 'day/week for a cause', you'll be wanting to jot down in your diary these upcoming weeks which cover a host of environmental themes. Take part as an individual, a family, a business, a team and feel virtuous and productive. 

save the earth in 2022

From Veganuary to World Water Day, there are plenty of weeks to focus the mind on living more sustainably. Diary dates courtesy of Zero Waste Scotland

JANUARY

Veganuary: Kick off the new year by making a pledge to try a plant-based diet for a month...or maybe longer. You'll find plenty of recipes and eating guides to help you plan your menu on the  – and if four weeks seems a big stretch, why not try it for a few days each week?

Big Energy Saving Week runs from 17-22 January with the aim of helping people cut their bills and make sure they're aware of any financial assistance that is available to make their homes more energy efficient.

FEBRUARY
2 February is World Wetlands Day, helping to raising awareness of the importance of wetlands to the planet. 

21 February-6 March is Fairtrade Fortnight when organisations highlight where our food and clothing come from and help promote a fairer global economy.

MARCH
Returning in 2022 is Food Waste Action Week (7-13 March) which aims to bring people together with the aim of halving food waste by 2030.

March 18 is Global Recycling Day, when the focus, not surprisingly, is supporting the planet by recycling. Now in its fourth year, it centres on the importance to the planet of recycling rather than simply throwing stuff away, where it ends up in landfill sites, generating methane and other greenhouse gases.

22 March is World Water Day, an annual date declared by the UN in 1993 focusing on the importance of water in all our lives.

26 March, from 8.30pm to 9.30pm (local time, whatever time zone you're in) will be Earth Hour, which was started in Sydney in 2007 by WWF. Join people around the world who'll be turning off their lights for an hour. 

The Great British Spring Clean runs from 25 March to 10 April. Get together with your neighbours to help clean up your local community.

APRIL
22 April marks Earth Day, an annual event that started way back in 1970 when people were just beginning to realise that human activity was destroying the planet. 

MAY
No Mow May was a newbie last year. Organisers Plantlife say leaving the mower in the shed for a month results in nectar for 10x more bees. So create buzz and don't mow that lawn!

1-7 May is International Compost Awareness Week (it started in Canada in 1995), which falls in the first full week of the month. The theme for this year is Recipe for regeneration: Compost.

Walk to School Week runs from 16 May. It's a week that promotes healthy minds and bodies for youngsters and encourages them to connect with the natural world.

16-22 May is the week to ditch the meat for National Vegetarian Week. Stephen Fry, Chris Packham and Joanna Lumley are among celebrities who support this week. 

20 May is World Bee Day. It's one of a number of awareness days that focus on the importance of the humble bee and the important role bees play in bringing food to our table. 

The International Day for Biological Diversity falls on 22 May. 

JUNE
5 June is World Environment Day which has been on the calendar since 1974. This year's theme is Only One Earth. A different country is selected each year as the host nation and for 2022 it's Sweden.

6-12 June is the week to get on your bike for Bike Week. Leave the car at home and reduce your carbon emissions by using two wheels instead of four. Get pedalling folks!

8 June is the day we celebrate World Oceans Day. Do your bit to promote awareness of the need for healthier, plastic-free seas.

15 June is Global Wind Day…and it doesn’t involve baked beans. Of course not, it's the day celebrates wind power and all things wind turbine.

International Clean Air Day will be on 16 June. Air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths each year in the UK, so this is the day to improve your understanding of the problem and take action to tackle the issue.

Also on June 16 is National Refill Day, which aims to get the UK public to stop bottling it when it comes to our drinking water. The organisers want to help create a new social norm for refilling on the go – saving us money, keeping us hydrated and preventing millions of single-use plastic bottles at source.

Plastic-free Beauty Day is on 17 June and raises awareness of the amount of plastic that is used by the beauty industry that ends up either in landfill or the sea. Visit the website and sign the pledge.

18 June is the day adopted by the UN as Sustainable Gastronomy Day. Do you know where the meal on your plate has come from? Today is the day to reflect. 

JULY
Plastic Free July is a global month of action to encourage everyone to refuse single-use plastics in order to reduce the plastic pollution in our oceans and landfills. Sign up on the website for a month of tips and advice.

Net Zero Week will run from 1-8 July, encouraging everyone to focus on reducing their carbon emissions.

3 July is International Plastic Bag Free Day, so if you’re daunted by a plastic-free month, why not start small and pledge not to use a single-use plastic bag today? Here are some interesting facts to consider – the average plastic bag is used for 25 minutes, yet it takes between 100 to 500 years to disintegrate.

10 July is another opportunity for us to celebrate the bee with Don’t Step on a Bee Day. They might be small but they have a mighty role to play in our ecosystem. So, take care where you’re walking.

28 July marks World Nature Conservation Day when we are encouraged to do anything from planting trees and growing vegetables to recycling and turning off appliances. In other words, steps that will help in any small way to protect our planet.

In 2021 Earth Overshoot Day fell on 29 July, almost a month earlier than in 2020. It marks the day when we have effectively used up nature’s budget. We cannot predict if Earth Overshoot Day will occur in July this year – but we will keep our fingers crossed it happens after the 29th.

AUGUST
4 August is another day to saddle up and take to two wheels for Cycle to Work Day. Not only will you be helping to save the planet, you’ll get a good workout and probably beat the traffic.

8-14 August should see you out working the soil to mark National Allotments Week. First started in 2002, the week highlights the benefits of growing your own fruit and veg, as well as eating healthily and uniting communities. Think about those food miles you’ll be cutting out by picking your own peas.

SEPTEMBER
This is the month for Organic September – well, it wouldn’t make sense to hold it in any other month. According to the Organic Soil Association’s website, if Europe’s farmland was cultivated using organic principles, agricultural emissions could drop by 40 per cent by 2050. There is more interesting reading to encourage you to think about the food you eat through the month.

Zero Waste Week takes place from 5-9 September. From its small beginnings in 2008, the campaign has now grown to unite more than 56 million people across the globe, all focused on reducing waste and building a more environmentally sustainable future. Get familiar with recipes that use leftovers so you don't have to bin what is perfectly edible food.

The International Day of Clean Air for blue skies falls on 7 September. Last year’s theme was Healthy Air, Healthy Planet. UN Member States recognise the need to reduce the number of people dying or falling ill from pollution.

16 September is International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, another UN-designated day. It helps raise awareness of the harm we're doing to the ozone layer and action being taken to prevent further damage.

World Clean-up Day will be on 17 September when millions of people across 180 countries unite to help clear up rubbish from beaches, rivers and streets.

The Great British Beach Clean takes place from 17-26 September.  Now in its 28th year, it's an event that's cleared hundreds of tonnes of rubbish from Britain's beaches. 

21 September is Zero Emissions Day. The concept is that for one day, we give the planet a day off by not burning any fossil fuels.

22 September is World Car Free Day. Ditch the motor for the day and enjoy walking streets without all the vehicle emissions.

Celebrate our waterways on September 25 which is World Rivers Day

The UN holds its International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction on 29 September to help raise awareness of the need to reduce food wastage. It is estimated that around a third of food that is produced around the world goes to waste each year.

Recycle Week was held in the last full week of the month last year and is likely to take a similar slot in this year’s calendar. The premise of the week is clear – to reduce waste by recycling. Most of us have recycling bins from our local authority, so it should be on everyone’s radar, but the message is: we can still do better.

OCTOBER
This month is Unblocktober, a national campaign and awareness month to encourage the great British public to consider the health of our drains, sewers, rivers and seas. We all know about icebergs, but this campaign turns the focus to fatbergs. It’s a time to think about what we pour down our sinks or flush down our toilets.

October is also International Walk to School Month. A poll on their website says children who walk to school are more engaged with their streets and aware of the impact of cars than those who don’t. It’s also healthier for them and their parents.

1 October marks World Vegetarian Day. Even if you are a committed meat eater, why not give it up just for one day? Learn about the benefits and how you can support the day on their website.

World Animal Day is marked on October 4, the saint’s day of Francis of Assisi, known for his love of animals. The day’s focus is on animals being treated as sentient living things. Dame Maureen Lipman and Virginia McKenna are among its supporters.

NOVEMBER
Challenge yourself to go vegetarian or vegan by joining the Veg Pledge for Cancer Research UK.

1 November marks World Vegan Day. Globally celebrated to recognise how far the vegan movement has come and to highlight how accessible and beneficial veganism is. 

DECEMBER
5 December marks World Soil Day. This day is dedicated to raising awareness on how to keep soil alive and protect biodiversity 

11 December is International Mountain Day. Mountains host about half of the world's biodiversity hotspots. Unfortunately, mountains are under threat from climate change and overexploitation. See how you can get involved in this campaign because #MountainsMatter.