Inaugural National Green City Day! Climate Champ–Rinzin Phunjok Lama, World Animal Day!

by | Oct 3, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

The Inaugural National Green City Day! Plus Climate Champion, Rinzin Phunjok Lama, and World Animal Day!



Quick shout out to Monica Tierney of Mio Reggio, who worked tirelessly with National Today ( to make last Saturday, October 1, the inaugural National Green City Day! National Green City Day highlights the progress and innovations cities are making to become more sustainable. It also gives cities the chance to highlight milestones addressing the issue of climate change. And it encourages people to share various eco-friendly ideas and solutions to meet the need of sustainable urban planning.

What is a green city? Also known as a sustainable city, a green city is a city that is addressing social, environmental, and economic impacts through building eco-friendly alternatives by removing harmful chemicals and waste from communities. While ways to help the planet is essential to sustainability, reducing costs and creating a vibrant culture for citizens are equally important. Through planned infrastructure, green cities can leave behind a net zero footprint for a more sustainable world and create vibrant, healthier spaces for everyone. 

So why does National Green City Day matter to us? According to a recent UN report, around 2.5 billion more people will be living in cities by 2050, highlighting the need for sustainable urban planning and public services. Green cities:

  • Lower emissions.
  • Conserve energy.
  • Reduce waste.
  • Ensure rich biodiversity.
  • Increase housing density and improve public health.
  • Encourage the development of sustainable local businesses.

Becoming a green city is simple. It involves a commitment to building and maintaining parks and other greenspaces, improving and electrifying transportation, installing or buying from solar powered energy providers, and composting. Check out Washington, DC’s mayor Muriel Bowser’s proclamation of National Green City Day in DC by clicking on the link in the Deeper Dive section of this story at

DEEPER DIVE: DC Proclamation, National Today



At just 16 years old, Rinzin Phunjok Lama had a life changing moment. He witnessed a Himalayan snow leopard prowling near his home in northeastern Nepal. According to Buddhist lore, the snow leopard represents the god of Nepal’s high pastures. But more significantly, the snow leopard only reveals itself to humans when humans violate the natural order. That was 14 years ago. 

Lama went to college, majoring in forestry and then returned to his hometown of Humla to work in conservation. Exemplifying the phrase, “Climate change is here, it’s just unevenly distributed,” the remote region in which Humla sits has been disproportionately affected by climate change, in proportion to the emissions it has emitted.

Humla’s snow-capped mountains are no longer snow-capped and the sources of the region’s water are desiccating, but why does Rinzin Phunjok Lama matter to us? He matters because Lama leads a team of locally-trained conservationists. Their job is to track and document threatened and endangered wildlife. The team also facilitates workshops and runs youth clubs. The goal is to learn from the gathered knowledge OF the locals while also engaging local children in conservation early.

Because of food insecurity in the region, and because of past failed eco efforts by non-Nepalese, gaining community trust had been hard. Lama and his team’s efforts, by contrast, have paid off. The team has taught beekeeping and forms of regenerative farming.

Lama points out the people leading those projects are from Humla. Said Lama, in an interview with Time Magazine’s Eloise Barry, “Gaining community trust should be the first step. There can be no prouder moment than this for us.” Lama is a 2021 Rolex Awards laureate. The Rolex Awards for Enterprise support exceptional individuals who have the courage and conviction to take on major challenges that make the world a better place.

DEEPER DIVE: Rolex,, Google Scholar



Happy World Animal Day! World Animal Day is an international day of action for animal rights and welfare celebrated annually on October 4, the feast day of Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. World Animal Day, was originated by cynologist Heinrich Zimmermann. Cynology is the study of matters related to canines or domestic dogs.

Zimmerman organized the first World Animal Day on March 24, 1925, at the Sport Palace in Berlin, Germany to align with the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, patron saint of ecology. I do know if him as the patron saint of animals, and animals are part of the natural world, so…that tracks.

In May 1931 at a congress of the International Animal Protection Congress in Florence Italy, his proposal to make October 4 World Animal Day universal was unanimously accepted and adopted as a resolution.

World Animal Day has also become an arena for ecologists to discuss the problems associated with endangered species. Beginning in 2003, the UK-based charity, Naturewatch Foundation, has sponsored the event and organized ways for animal lovers all over the world to take part and make their voices heard in support of our animal friends.

Why does World Animal Day matter to us? This day is not just for domesticated animals, it’s for wild animals, endangered species, and those threatened by environmental devastation or lack of protection. This day is a reminder not just to love the animals in our homes but to appreciate and respect all living things that are a part of our ecosystem. In the Netherlands it is as well known as Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.

DEEPER DIVE: Wikipedia, National Today, St. Francis of Assisi