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World Clean-up Day – 17 September

A goal that crosses borders and defies religious and cultural differences. World Cleanup Day is one of the biggest civic movements of our time, uniting 191 countries across the world for a cleaner planet. On that day volunteers and partners worldwide again came together, despite the special requirements and many restrictions of Covid-19, to rid our planet of trash – cleaning up litter and mismanaged waste from our beaches, rivers, forests, and streets.

The humble beginning

This world-changing idea began in the small northern European country of Estonia, in 2008. 50,000 people united to clean up the entire country in just five hours. On that day, a global bottom-up civic movement was born and spread like wildfire around the globe. This captured the imaginations of people worldwide, who were inspired to follow suit with the same ambitious ‘one country, one-day’ formula.

The simple idea has grown into a global movement with millions of volunteers and charismatic leaders. The simple act of cleaning has become a force that binds together people and groups that would otherwise never dream of working towards the same goal. Civil society, governments and global corporations, women in Saudi Arabia, people defying war in Yemen and Syria, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Christians, men and women, children.

Why?

Nearly every human on this planet has a place they call a Home. Be it a mansion, a street, a hut or a flat in a metropolis. Then there are the cities, countries, and regions we call home. And the planet we call home. When 50,000 Estonians cleaned their home in 5 hours, the world got wind of it. The simplicity of the idea and the ‘let’s do it’ attitude took off and the rest, as they say, is history. Anyone can pick up trash. In 2018, a 101-year old man volunteered to clean in Curaçao. In Estonia, a group of mothers carrying their babies went out to clean. In Scotland, a dogs association came out with the dogs. But World Cleanup Day has become so much more than the simple act of picking up trash. Daycares, schools, companies, government officials – the old, the young, the rich, the poor, the able and less able – everyone contributed. Because they could. Because they wanted to be involved in making their home a better place. Because they were given an opportunity to help. Because they belong to a community.
Source: Text & Images: worldcleanupday.org

World Day Against Traficking in Persons – 30 July 2022

THEME 2022: “Use and abuse of technology” 

This year’s theme focuses on the role of technology as a tool that can both enable and impede human trafficking.

With the global expansion in the use of technology – intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift of our everyday life to online platforms — the crime of human trafficking has conquered cyber space. The internet and digital platforms offer traffickers numerous tools to recruit, exploit, and control victims; organize their transport and accommodation; advertise victims and reach out to potential clients; communicate among perpetrators; and hide criminal proceeds – and all that with greater speed, cost-effectiveness and anonymity.

Moreover, technology allows these criminals to operate internationally across jurisdictions and evade detection with greater ease. Traffickers use social media to identify, groom and recruit victims, including children; e-mails and messaging services are used for the moral coercion of the victims; and online platforms allow traffickers to widely advertise services provided by victims, including child photographical material.

Crisis situations can also intensify this problem. Criminals profit from the chaos, desperation, and separation of people – particularly women and children – from support systems and family members.

For people on the move, online resources can become a trap, especially when it comes to phony travel arrangements and fake job offers targeting vulnerable groups.

However, in the use of technology also lies great opportunity. Future success in eradicating human trafficking will depend on how law enforcement, the criminal justice systems and others can leverage technology in their responses, including by aiding investigations to shed light on the modus operandi of trafficking networks; enhancing prosecutions through digital evidence to alleviate the situation of victims in criminal proceedings; and providing support services to survivors. Prevention and awareness-raising activities on the safe use of the internet and social media could help mitigate the risk of people falling victim of trafficking online. Cooperation with the private sector is important to harness innovation and expertise for the development of sustainable technology-based solutions to support prevention and combatting of human trafficking.

 

Source: Text: un.org   Image: 123RF

World Youth Day – 15 July

Young people are drivers of change and must be fully engaged in decisions affecting their future. Guided by the United Nations Youth 2030 strategy, I urge everyone to act for youth skills development as a priority, at the Summit and beyond.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Transforming youth skills for the future

In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared 15 July as World Youth Skills Day, to celebrate the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship. Since then, World Youth Skills Day has provided a unique opportunity for dialogue between young people, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, firms, employers’ and workers’ organizations, policy-makers and development partners.

World Youth Skills Day 2022 takes place amid concerted efforts towards socio-economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that are interconnected with challenges such as climate change, conflict, persisting poverty, rising inequality, rapid technological change, demographic transition and others.

Young women and girls, young persons with disabilities, youth from poorer households, rural communities, indigenous peoples, and minority groups, as well as those who suffer the consequences of violent conflict and political instability, continue to be excluded due to a combination of factors. In addition, the crisis has accelerated several transitions the world of work was already undergoing, which add layers of uncertainty regarding the skills and competencies that will be in demand after the pandemic is overcome.

The United Nations and its agencies,  such as UNESCO-UNEVOC, are well placed to help address these challenges by reducing access barriers to the world of work, ensuring that skills gained are recognized and certified, and offering skills development opportunities for out-of-school youth and those not in employment, education or training (NEET). During this Decade of Action for the 2030 Agenda, the full engagement of young people in global processes is vital to generate positive change and innovation.

 

Source: Text: UN   Image: pngtree.com

 

World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation – 1st September

Pope Francis has asked Catholics and others throughout the world to pray this day and until the Feast of St Francis on 4th October for the care of creation, in line with his recent encyclical Laudato Si.

According to a letter from the Pope announcing the annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, this time “offers to individual believers and to the community a precious opportunity to renew our personal participation in this vocation as custodians of creation, raising to God our thanks for the marvellous works that He has entrusted to our care, invoking his help for the protection of creation and his mercy for the sins committed against the world in which we live.” (Letter from the Vatican, 6th August 2015)

The Orthodox Church also honours 1st September as a Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and Pope Francis notes his hope that this should become an annual occurrence so that it “will be a valuable opportunity to bear witness to our growing communion with our orthodox brothers. We live in a time where all Christians are faced with identical and important challenges and we must give common replies to these in order to appear more credible and effective.  Therefore it is my hope that this Day can involve, in some way, other Churches and ecclesial Communities and be celebrated in union with the initiatives that the World Council of Churches is promoting on this issue.” (ibid)

Source : Text : World Methodist Council  Image: nyfaithformation.org

 

 

World Environment Day – 5 June

« On World Environment Day, the message is simple: reject single-use plastic. Refuse what you can’t re-use. Together, we can chart a path to a cleaner, greener world. »Secretary-General, António Guterres

Humans are both creatures and moulders of their environment, which gives them physical sustenance and affords them the opportunity for intellectual, moral, social and spiritual growth. In the long and tortuous evolution of the human race on this planet a stage has been reached when, through the rapid acceleration of science and technology, humans have acquired the power to transform their environment in countless ways and on an unprecedented scale.

The United Nations, aware that the protection and improvement of the human environment is a major issue, which affects the well-being of peoples and economic development throughout the world, designated 5 June as World Environment Day. The celebration of this day provides us with an opportunity to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in more than 100 countries.

“Beat Plastic Pollution”
Each World Environment Day is organized around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern. The theme for 2018, “Beat Plastic Pollution,” is a call to action for all of us to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time. The theme invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife – and our own health. While plastic has many valuable uses, we have become over-reliant on single-use or disposable plastic – with severe environmental consequences.

India, the host country
Every World Environment Day has a different global host country, where the official celebrations take place. This year it is India.

Source: Text & Image: www.un.org   1st Image:AllEvents.org

World Parkinson’s Disease Day – 11 April

World Parkinson’s Disease Day marks the birthday of Dr. J Parkinson.  On this day there are efforts made to increase the public awareness of this terrible disease, as well as all the good works put forth by the world’s organizations dedicated to eradicating this disease. 

Dr. Parkinson first described the disease in “An Essay on the Shaking Palsy”, he described a pattern of lessened muscular power, involuntary tremulous motion, even if these are supported.  There is at tendency to bend the body forwards, and to involuntarily switch from a walking to a running pace, while the sense and intellect deteriorate.

One of the prominent symbols of Parkinson’s disease is the red tulip, and this was established at the 9th World Parkinson’s disease Day at the Luxembourg Conference.  The story of the Red Tulip can be tied back to J.W.S. Van der Wereld, a Dutch Horticulturalist who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease.  He had successfully generated a Red and White Tulip, and named it in honor of the man who named his medical condition. On the tail of this, the Tulip received the Award of Merit, granted by the Royal Horticultural Society in London, and then was granted the Royal General Bulb Growers, Trial Garden Award.

Many people do not understand what Parkinson’s is, or are unaware of how to identify it.  In the interest of promoting awareness of this disease, a simplified description follows.  It is a disorder that results in the degeneration of the central nervous system, and directly impacts those that nerves that handle motor functions for the body as a whole. As the disease advances, it becomes apparent from the slowness of their body, and the increasing stiffness of their limbs that there is a developing problem.  Their limbs will begin to shake uncontrollably as it gets further on, and eventually an entire scope of additional symptoms will develop as more and more motor functions are impacted.  Sufferers are often tired, and memory problems become more apparent as time goes on.

Source: Text (summary): DAYSoftheYEAR  Image: HydroWorx

 

World Day of Migrants and Refugees – 14 January

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FOR THE  104th WORLD DAY OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES 2018
“Welcoming, protecting, promoting and
integrating migrants and refugees”

Dear brothers and sisters!

“You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:34).

Throughout the first years of my pontificate, I have repeatedly expressed my particular concern for the lamentable situation of many migrants and refugees fleeing from war, persecution, natural disasters and poverty.  This situation is undoubtedly a “sign of the times” which I have tried to interpret, with the help of the Holy Spirit, ever since my visit to Lampedusa on 8 July 2013

Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age (Matthew 25:35-43)…

This solidarity must be concretely expressed at every stage of the migratory experience – from departure through journey to arrival and return.  This is a great responsibility, which the Church intends to share with all believers and men and women of good will, who are called to respond to the many challenges of contemporary migration with generosity, promptness, wisdom and foresight, each according to their own abilities…

In this regard, I wish to reaffirm that “our shared response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.”

Source: Text: Radio Vatican Image: The Independent

NOTE: An article in French on this topic is available at: https://image-i-nations.com/journee-mondiale-migrant-refugie-14-janvier/

and a video presents the same theme in an interview of David Minier with James Marchant at: https://image-i-nations.com/banc-james-marchant/

 

 

 

 

International Mountain Day – 11 December

Towering, majestic, and beautiful. Mountains are some of the most beautiful of nature’s structures, stolid and regal they stand against the sky, of such a size that they can catch entire countryside’s in their shadow, and turn back the ravages of storms against their unflinching sides. They are the source of recreation and resource, with snow covered sides providing ski slopes to enthusiasts, and minerals in abundance to those brave enough to delve into their stony sides.

In certain areas of the world they are also a source of unique agriculture, providing ample space for the production of those products that grow best on their slopes. Coffee, Cocoa, Herbs, Spices, and the form of handicrafts that spring from the minds of those who live in the unchanging protection of these towering edifices to geology. International Mountain Day is your opportunity to head out and appreciate these unique landforms, and all they have to offer.

History of International Mountain Day
Established in December of 2003, the United Nations General Assembly created this day to help bring awareness to all of the things we rely on mountains for. Whether it’s all of the glories mentioned above, or how necessary they are for the health and well-being of the flora and fauna that call them their home, International Mountain Day promotes them all.

Source: Text & Image: DAYSoftheYEAR

26th Sunday of Year A

« What is your opinion? » 

These are not my words but those of Jesus himself in the gospel of this Sunday (26th of Year A – Mt.21:28-32).
He was speaking to the people who had come to hear him, but he is now addressing also each one of us today.

I imagine that when Jesus started speaking to the crowds in this way, they must have been wondering what was to follow.
They might have guessed – as we do – that, in fact, Jesus did not only want to know what they thought.
What he wanted them to be aware of was how they, themselves, would act in a given situation.

This is the case with this gospel text.
He uses strong language to reproach them their attitude.

What is it exactly that Jesus condemns?

  • They saw, but they did not believe.
  • They heard, but they did not change their way.

“You refused to think better of it,” says Jesus.
In other words: You did not change your mind… and your behaviour.
An indictment that many would deserve nowadays as well.
Perhaps even some of us, at some time… in some circumstances…

Changing, accepting to correct, to amend, to improve our ways – our ways

  • of thinking,
  • of judging situations,
  • of reacting to events,
  • of relating to people.

A time to change our minds… and our ways – this is God’s gift today.
An opportunity to identify with the first son of Jesus’ parable.

Source: Image: viewsfromthetreehouse.com

 

 

World Physical Therapy Day – 8 September

The human body is remarkably easy to damage and break, and no more so than when participating in strenuous physical activity such as sporting or athletic activity.

Physical therapists work to undo damage, educate on healthy behaviour and to restore lost or damaged functionality. Physical Therapy Day, then, is dedicated to these professionals throughout the world, and aims to recognise their commitment to keeping us all fighting-fit.

Source: Text: DAYSoftheYEAR  Image: Freepik

World Physical Therapy Day is on 8th September. The day is an opportunity for physical therapists from all over the world to raise awareness about the crucial contribution the profession makes to keeping people well, mobile and independent.

Theme and message

The overarching theme for World Physical Therapy Day each year is Movement for Health. This year, the suggested message is “Physical activity for life”, highlighting the important role that physical therapists play in healthy ageing.

Source: Text: World Confederation for Physical Therapy