Helping you to plan climate and sustainability action in May

Graphic: author

Welcome to my monthly overview of the Sustainability Calendar. The full year-long calendar can be found here. Scroll to the end of this post for the full list of events in May.


Endangered Species Day and International Day for Biological Diversity

These two are inextricably linked: lose species, and biodiversity is impacted; similarly, declines in biological diversity can cause species to become endangered if food sources are compromised or habitats destroyed. In the worst case these changes can cause extinctions.

Image: Endangered Species Coalition

Endangered Species Day is for “celebrating, learning about, and taking action to protect threatened and endangered species” (Endangered Species Coalition). It falls on the third Friday of the month, which this year is 21 May.

Events are largely US-centric, but thanks to coronavirus many of them are online and so may be more accessible. Find them through the events map. There are also comprehensive resources for education and action. My highlights are 10 Easy Things You Can Do To Save Endangered Species and 15 Ways To Celebrate Endangered Species Day Online And At Home

Graphic: Convention on Biological Diversity

The very next day (22 May)is International Day for Biological Diversity, marked to “increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues” (Convention on Biological Diversity).

This year’s theme is “We’re Part of the Solution”, which highlights how important biodiversity will be to solve so many of today’s problems today: from the climate crisis to global health, from food and water security to sustainable livelihoods. Biodiversity benefits so many aspects of this world because we are all part of a single complex system.

Graphic: UN SDGs

To get involved, head to the activities page.

Related Sustainable Development Goals: 14 Life Below Water, and 15 Life on Land.

International Compost Awareness Week

This week, from the 2nd to the 8th of May, is to “raise the awareness of the public regarding the benefits of using compost” (Compost Research and Education Foundation), which covers everything from home composting to kerbside collection for industrial composting.

This year’s theme is Grow, Eat…COMPOST…Repeat, which is based on the circularity of the composting process. Our food scraps can nourish the food we grow, and be repeated in an endless cycle. I’m excited about this week, because of its alignment with circular economy principles: the food scraps are no longer waste, but something that can add value to the act (or industry) of food production.

To get involved head to the events page.

Related Sustainable Development Goals: 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities and 12 Responsible Consumption and Production

#DoNothingForTheClimate Day

The Gaian Guild is encouraging us all of us involved in the climate movement, to take Thursday, 13 May off. To have a day when we pull back from fight, a day when we disconnect from social media. To have a day when we live a bit more naturally and intentionally and indulge in a little self-care before we start everything again in earnest on Friday, 14.

On the day, it’s as simple as switching off. Spending less times on your phones, enjoying the company of those around you, and maybe getting an early night and some restful sleep. Between now and then, you can help to spread the word by signing the petition to indicate participation, or sharing news of the event on social media.

Animal Days

This month we have awareness days for Tuna (2 May), Leopards and Koalas (3 May), donkeys (8 May), migratory birds (9 May), Bees (20 May), Turtles (23 May), otters (26 May) and parrots (31 May), and a whole week for hedgehogs (2 to 8 May) because hedgehogs are the best.

Everything happening in May 2021

All month:

until Sunday, 2 May: National Gardening Week (UK)

Saturday, 1 May: Green Up Day (Vermont, US) (first Saturday in May)

Sunday, 2 May:

2 to 8 May:

Monday, 3 May:

Tuesday, 4 May:

Thursday, 6 May: Local elections in the UK (no link)

7 to 16 May: Go Public Gardens Days (US) (see also National Community Gardens Week in April)

Saturday, 8 May:

Sunday, 9 May: World Fairtrade Day (see also Fairtrade Fortnight in February)

10 to 16 May: Water Saving Week (UK)

# Thursday, 13 May: #DoNothingForTheClimate Day (international)

17 to 21 May: Walk to School Week (UK)

Thursday, 20 May: World Bee Day

Friday, 21 May:

  • Endangered Species Day (international) (third Friday in May) (highlighted above)
  • Bike to Work Day (see also Cycle to Work Day in October) (no link)

Saturday, 22 May: International Day for Biological Diversity (highlighted above)

22 to 31 May: Every Flower Counts (UK)

Sunday, 23 May: World Turtle Day

Monday, 24 May: European Day of Parks

Wednesday, 26 May: World Otter Day

28 May to 13 June: The Great British Spring Clean

29 May to 6 June: National Children’s Gardening Week (UK)

Monday, 31 May: World Parrot Day

31 May to 6 June: Garden Wildlife Week (UK) (no link)

Behind the Scenes

I’ve experimented by changing the graphics associated with this monthly update. I’ve done this for a number of reasons; I wanted something that was sharable as a calendar, but also something that stood apart from the graphics for my other articles.

I appreciate this is the second time I’ve changed the presentation since this started in January, but I’ve got a feeling that this one is going to stick. When I put this together, it felt right. I feel it will stick around, and that any future changes will be minor.

But I’m interested to know what you think? Is it clear to you? Too crowded? Too small? Too green? I’d be grateful to receive your feedback, either in the comments or on social media.

The full 12-month calendar can always be found here. I need your help to make this the best resource it can be. If you know of an event that’s missing, let me know either in the comments or on social media.

Previous monthly write-ups: