Loss of biodiversity, climate change, extinction of species, pollution and the overall degradation of the earth´s ecosystems have a profound global impact on the enjoyment of human rights and require the widest possible cooperation by all. Earth Day is an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First held in 1970 in the USA, it now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by EarthDay.org including a billion people in more than 193 countries. On Earth Day 2020, over 100 million people around the world observed the 50th anniversary in what was referred to as the largest online mass mobilization in history.
“Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.” – Dolores Huerta
This year’s theme is Invest In Our Planet and features five primary programs: The Great Global Cleanup, Sustainable Fashion, Climate and Environmental Literacy, Canopy Project, Food and Environment, and the Global Earth Challenge
As individuals, we can make our voices heard through our choices, our actions, and our personal interactions. What each of us does, and how we do it, has a huge ripple effect on our ecosystems, and on the pace of corporate and government action. Notably, Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2012) are providing inspiration, with reportedly 45% of polled individuals having stopped purchasing certain brands because of ethical or sustainability concerns. We can support businesses that take active steps to protect our environment and fight against those that don’t.
Here are some suggestions on how you can effect change in society:
- Write to your local MP or politician to hold them accountable to their electoral promises as well as to be more pro-environment
- Write to large businesses enquiring about their green policies
- Organise a community clean up with family and friends
- Write to your Planning Authorities on protecting the country’s environment and look to supporting pending or starting appeals.
- Encourage your workplace or education institution to host debates, info sessions etc and implement a green policy
- Become a member and/or volunteer with voluntary organisations
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
Otherwise, you do not need to go too far afield to make immediate changes. Here are some home based initiatives that you can carry out not only on Earth Day but throughout the entire year:
- Implement Meatless Mondays, or swap one meal a day to plant-based.
- Challenge friends and family to see who can make the best plant-based meal.
- Be portion smart so there are no leftovers.
- Be a conscious consumer when purchasing products and services.
- Count how many single use plastic items you have in your bathroom and kitchen. Research alternatives you can use to replace them.
- Research where to send hard to recycle items like toothbrushes and markers.
- Plant a pollinator garden in your yard or in containers.
- Make an insect hotel to give bugs a safe place to live.
- Set up a compost bin
- Designate areas of your yard as natural areas, let native plants grow!
- Find eco-friendly alternatives to your cleaning products.
- Repurpose materials from around your house into new items.
- Calculate your carbon foodprint and set goals to reduce it.
Invest In Our Planet. What Will You Do?