World Earth Day
World Earth Day is a celebration that has taken place annually under the aegis of the UN since 1971. Its main aim is to attract people's attention to the problems of maintaining our planet's vulnerable, fragile ecosystem. There are two main times of year when Earth Day is staged: in March (around the time of the vernal equinox) and on April 22. Each year, the Bell of the World is rung in New York, at the UN's headquarters, in honor of this celebration.
The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee traditionally gets actively involved in celebrating World Earth Day. In 2011, for example, an "Eco-bag" contest was held among schoolchildren aged 14-18, in Sochi. The children's main task was to draw designs for an "eco-friendly" bag. The key criteria in selecting the finalists were the extent to which the sketches reflected the idea of nature conservation, originality of thought, and the quality shown in the drawing of the design. The voting was preceded by a themed lesson, during which films about the environment were shown to the students. These films taught the children what an important contribution to environmental protection is made by recycling ordinary domestic waste and re-using plastic packaging.
As part of World Earth Day in 2012, the Games organizers in Sochi joined Olympic champions and Sochi 2014 volunteers throughout the country in dozens of weekend clean-up days, planted hundreds of trees, held environmental lessons in schools and cleared special rest areas for migrating waterfowl. In particular, huge clean-up days and other environmental campaigns took place in Moscow, Omsk, Ufa, Novocherkassk and Saint Petersburg. In Archangel, there was a regional environmental festival called "Earth Day" and a series of lessons about nature for senior schoolchildren. In Krasnodar, volunteers from the Kuban State University of Physical Exercise, Sport and Tourism laid down a tree-lined Alley of Olympic champions in the grounds of the university. The most large-scale events to take place as part of World Earth Day were held in Sochi, where schoolchildren were shown around the Caucasian Nature Reserve, which features on the UNESCO World Heritage List, whilst over half a tonne of various kinds of waste was collected at clean-up days, some of which was sent for recycling after being sorted at the Sochi waste-reprocessing plant.