Nepal-based envoys mark Earth Day
Even as Nepal emerged from unprecedented wildfires that had worsened air quality, Kathmandu-based western ambassadors took to social media on World Earth Day on 22 April with messages urging lifestyle changes to reduce the impact of the climate emergency.
Australian Ambassador Felicity Volk was on Twitter to showcase photographs of the greenery of the embassy compound, and introduced the head gardener Ratna who took care of the greenery, and also thanked her predecessors for their commitment to conservation.
‘Earth Day is not just about one day, it’s about taking action and making commitments over the long term to restore our Earth,’ Volk wrote on her Twitter account. She also drew attention to the embassy’s environment-friendly features, including solar-heated water, colour-coded waste segregation, and efforts to revive community ponds to enhance ground water recharge.
Volk was responding to an earlier ‘Earth Day Challenge’ by the UK Ambassador Nicola Pollitt, who has been a vocal proponent of climate action also because Glasgow is hosting the COP26 Climate Summit in November.
Pollitt also tweeted about her Embassy’s new electric vehicle, saying that battery-powered cars were ideal for Kathmandu. In her Twitter video she also pushed for a circular economy to reduce waste and for climate action
‘By supporting Nepali youth we are tapping into innovation to tackle the climate crisis,’ wrote Pollitt on her Twitter account as she recorded a video from the premises of Khalisisi, a waste entrepreneurship enterprise that recycles her embassy’s garbage.
Pollitt said she was so overwhelmed by the response to her post, that she felt compelled to talk about how the embassy had been using kitchen scraps to make fertiliser from its vegetable garden.
Pollitt, for her part, tagged US Ambassador Randy Berry to share his own sustainability tip on World Earth Day. In response, Berry also took to Twitter to write: ‘We reduce single-use plastic & conserve energy at home by shutting off the lights when we don't need them. Small things together will have a big impact.’
Berry highlighted US President Joe Biden’s initiative to host a virtual Leaders Summit on Climate this week.
Rising emissions and worsening air quality are firmly in the public’s attention in Nepal, and there has been criticism of the government only paying lip service to climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. Nepali experts have also pointed out that this could have been a reason why Nepal was not invited to Biden’s climate summit even though it is one of the most vulnerable countries to the impact of the climate crisis.