Sustainability Blog

Zero Emissions Day is “No Time to Die-oxide”

By Apurva Gosalia - Sep 21, 2021

After a production delay of nearly two years, the 25th James Bond film, “No Time To Die” will have its world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall, London, a week from today. Back to 007 later, but today’s date has another important significance.

September 21 is the United Nations International Day of Peace. It is also the autumn equinox, the day when the length of day and night are equal, both in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. And this Tuesday officially marks Zero Emissions Day. Just like the autumn equinox embodies equilibrium, we also need to balance our carbon dioxide emissions so that we’re not radically changing the atmospheric conditions of our planet.

Zero Emissions Day, or ZeDay, is observed by people around the world on September 21 each year. The main message of this event is “Giving our planet a day off a year.” Ken Wallace, a graphic designer from Nova Scotia, Canada, originated the idea of ZeDay. While taking his baby daughter for a stroll, he passed an idling truck with no driver inside, belching exhaust fumes and making the immediate environment highly unpleasant. The idea struck him that if we all turned off our engines for a day, it would be excellent for our world.

Wallace launched a campaign website in 2008, declaring September 21 to be ZeDay. The campaign message has since been translated into Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, so as to draw more attention to the problem of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

The purpose of this day is to give our planet a break from fossil fuels and what they release into the air, at least for one day, every year. The importance of ZeDay is paramount because it aims to encourage the use of renewable energy sources as opposed to finite fossil fuels.

Multiple voices, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are calling for us to reduce our emissions as much as humanly possible in order to halt or reverse the current course of climate change. They say we must also remove historic CO₂ from the atmosphere to achieve net zero.

Wallace’s simple four-point guidelines for ZeDay are:
Don’t use or burn oil, gas, or coal.
Minimize or eliminate the use of electricity generated by fossil fuels.
No change to the operation of emergency services so as not to put anyone in harm’s way.
Have fun and enjoy the day!

If everyone did these four things on this single day of the year, the impact on our planet would be profound. We have already seen how the pandemic lockdowns gave the Earth the chance to heal itself. In 2020, Earth Overshoot Day was pushed by a full month, from July to August. When the lockdowns were eased, it went back to July again.  

ZeDay is also an opportunity for people and organizations to reflect on how they impact the planet and find ways to reduce their carbon footprint with big or small changes. In effect, it is a moment of pause to innovate and find ways to convert the tools that are hurting our atmosphere into solutions that help improve climate impact.

Thinking of all this and of the forthcoming Bond movie, which I cannot wait to see, the titles of other Bond movies raise a cynical, Blofeld-esque smirk, but are also thought-provoking and stimulating in this context.

“Live And Let Die” recalls the uneven distribution of CO2 emissions per capita and the fact that the wealthy are primarily responsible for global warming. The richest 10% of the world’s population is responsible for 50% of global CO2 emissions. Meanwhile, the poorer 50% taken together is only responsible for about 10% of emissions but have to suffer most of the consequences of global warming.

“The World Is Not Enough” leads me to think again about Earth Overshoot Day and the fact that people in some countries live and consume resources as if we had three worlds (Germans) or even five worlds (Americans) or even nine worlds (Qataris, and that is why the World Cup 2022 in Qatar is a … I think we covered that already)!

In the end, it is a fact that “Tomorrow Never Dies” and we who are in charge today must do everything we can to leave behind a planet worth living for our children and their children tomorrow. There is “No Time To Die.” Let us work on it right now and “Die Another Day.”


Related Topics


Comments are closed.

Get your FREE Lube Reports

  • Keep up to date with the global lubricants industry every week.

  • Register for FREE