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Earth Day 2011

May 3, 2011

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Brenna Nyznik/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Mercy Corps Scotland staff celebrate Earth Day 2011 by spelling it out with recyclable bottles and cans from the office. Photo: Brenna Nyznik/Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Mike Byrne/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Screening of the movie "Dirt!" at Edinburgh's Gorgie City Farm. Photo: Mike Byrne/Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Mike Byrne/Mercy Corps  </span>
    There was also an opportunity for children to get their hands dirty and feel different types of soil. Photo: Mike Byrne/Mercy Corps

The 22nd of April 2011 was not only Good Friday in the United Kingdom (UK), but was also Earth Day. To celebrate this wonderful occasion, the Global Citizen Corps (GCC) group in Scotland held a film festival with the "Take One Action" film group at Gorgie City Farm in Edinburgh. It was a fantastic day, with many people coming to see the film "Dirt!" — which highlights the issue of modern agriculture and how it is damaging our precious earth.

During the film, GCC leaders facilitated thought-provoking discussions with members of the audience. The film managed to bring a very serious message across in an interesting manner, such as the adorable story of the hummingbird, which demonstrated how even a small creature like the hummingbird can make a big difference.

It proved how even little actions can make a big difference, which was this year’s global Earth Day theme: A Billion Acts of Green. Thanks to the "Take One Action" film group, who promote such influential films on a regular basis across the UK, GCC leaders were able to bring this issue to the centre of the community.

Along with the film, there were several other activities and sources of information which people could use to further inform themselves on environmental issues. Children could learn how to plant seeds and were given information sheets on how to keep their plant alive. This would encourage people to start growing their own food and plants, which is not only a way of beautifying a garden, but also learning about self-sufficiency and increasing biodiversity and thus helping the soil.

There was also an opportunity for children to get their hands dirty and feel different types of soil, which showed them how dirt comes in various forms and is as diverse as we are. Information cards were also available, which gave some examples of things that people can do at home to help the environment, such as avoiding using plastic shopping bags and taking shorter showers.

These little things that we can do at home reflect the message of this year’s theme of taking small actions to make a difference. People who were inspired by the event could also sign a pledge card, saying what they will do at home in order to make a difference, which will hopefully make people more aware of the role they can play in combating climate change.

The event was held at Gorgie City Farm, which was the perfect venue as it promotes everything the film was about. It is a small farm in the middle of Edinburgh, with some animals and self-grown food. It allows people to see what a farm is actually like and teaches people the importance of buying locally grown produce rather than imported food from the supermarket.

All in all, the event was a great success and everyone enjoyed themselves. The GCC leaders gained some experience on how to run an event and make a film and how to present serious issues in an interactive way. The event was fun and informative for both the visitors to the farm, and the GCC leaders involved.