We like to know the history behind everything! Curious creatures we are! Aren't we?

Zero Emissions Day or Ze Day is recognized and practiced on September 21 every year from 2008 onwards.

The very first Zero Emissions Day was set in motion in 2008 in Nova Scotia, Canada. But amusing is the fact that the actual idea of giving the emissions or their source-the fossil fuels, a day off came into the mind of a man several decades ago. A man named Ken Wallace of Sea Level Special Projects was taking a leisure walk with his little daughter where he noticed a truck without the driver in it thrusting emissions via the tail pipe. He goes into his own zone of imagination of how it would be to stop all these emissions for a while. It is even more intriguing to see how this idea or thought stuck around for years to finally get some recognition and to take a form to be represented as a significant day.

Now that we have seen the inspiration behind the "Zero Emissions Day" or "The Ze Day". Why has it become a significant day after all those years? What is it all about? I'm not an environmentalist. Is it a day I should be bothered about as a commoner? Is there a way I could be a part and make impact via this day?

The answer is yes! Yes! You can!

Firstly, Why is "Ze Day" - A bigger deal than ever?

Years ago, mother earth was resourceful. Earth was beaming and flourished with eccentrics of assets and riches of nature. We took to it to support our survival. As years rolled by, green revolution, industrial revolution, huge massive industries, well networked transport systems were yielded by the creative minds of humankind. And what not for the sophisticated life of us. Technology at each and every inch of our life. We keep envisioning, creating, inventing more and more power feeding gadgets or technological advancements. On the other hand of this outgrowing progress, it has cost us the basic necessities for life to flourish on this earth.

Emissions in every possible way. Deforestation releasing the sequestered carbon once and for all. Fossil fuels for energy generation. Mining and burning to meet the spiking energy demand that has no odds of going down anywhere in the future. What have we bestowed the earth with running behind our demands, advancements and comfort? We've gifted ozone depletion, endangering species diversity, biodiversity depletion/exploitation, unbreathable air quality, degraded water resources, degraded land resources, rising temperature, unpredictable weather and climatic conditions, more frequent natural calamities you could ever anticipate.

Well! To put in simple terms! We say we care and work for the best of nature. But aren't we putting in our efforts for our mere survival. As selfish as it sounds, we can't deny it. We try to conserve forests, biodiversity, and conserve species in the danger of extinction. All for our own good. While yes, it feels good and motivates us to say that we work for the good of mother earth. Directly or indirectly we are the beneficiaries. Because the world never needed our help in the first place. It is us who needed nature and its resources for our survival. Now that we've put it all at stake doubting our future means of survival, we are taking actions and creating awareness to witness the world with less impact from us. One such action is Ze Day. To witness the less utilization of manmade comforts and opting less emissions life for a day.

What has a commoner to do in it anyway?

On Ze Day, there's a lot an individual could contribute.

Here are some guidelines laid by zeroemissionsday.org that we could follow:

1. Don’t use or burn oil or gas or coal:

Try to have food that doesn't require heating or cooking. For the fun of it we'll notice that we have lots of cuisines/dishes to explore that doesn't require heating. Bring out the head-Chef in you. Let your creativity run wild. For a day try using bicycles and tricycles to the workspace or take a work from home shift for the day. In unavoidable circumstances we can opt to public transports and carpooling too.

2. Minimize (or eliminate) your use of electricity generated by fossil fuels:

A few advice to turn down electricity supply to our homes by taking down the fuse. While a few take on to unplug all the major electricity run appliances like fridge, tv and much more to dial down our enticement towards them. The main idea is to reduce our dependence on them thereby naturally reducing emissions. While usage of solar chargers may not be viable for many, we can take the day without the use of these gadgets. Take the visit to the park with the family. Make a small picnic out of it. Play like a child with no inhibitions. Also keep in mind the COVID situation in your area. Stay home and stay safe.

3. Don’t put anyone in harm’s way: All essential and emergency services operate normally:

All being said to use less or no vehicles, one needn't worry about the emergency services. They will be on duty full time.

4. Do your best, have fun, enjoy the day!

As mentioned before, take the day as a challenge with your family and friends. If you are skeptical about the impact the day would make, here's a quick experiment. Take note of your per day electricity consumption at home. For the experiment's sake, let's generalize this per day electricity consumption for the whole country you reside in. Now calculate the units of electricity the country could save in a day. Now, keep in mind, the urban consumptions are actually higher than a middle class family's electricity consumption and the per day electricity consumption in a rural family too.

Also not to forget that developed countries have a high per capita energy consumption and vice versa with the underdeveloped and developing countries.

Think of the huge impacts one day could make. It could also become transformative if you could adhere to reducing one's carbon footprint on a daily basis.

The Ze Day is more like "The 7th Day" on which God opted to rest. Let’s rest our power/electricity/ fossil fuel fed advancements for a day. Shall we?

Share with us in the comment section how you plan on reducing your emissions be it planting or opting to digital billing instead of paper bills.

Written by: Rasiga Selvaganesan


  1. http://zeroemissionsday.org/
  2. https://www.whatsorb.com/climate/zero-emissions-day-let-s-try-it-together