Today is Earth Day.
The campaign encourages everyone to "Invest In Our Planet" this year. While many environmental protection goals have remained consistent throughout the years, this year's theme is all about “accelerating solutions to combat our greatest threat, climate change, and to activate everyone – governments, citizens, and businesses – to do their part. Everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable.”
Around the world, more than a billion people are participating in protests, marches, and large clean-ups to highlight the grave importance and urgency of preserving the environment.
We will not, however, tell you that saving our world starts with you. Since the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, CO2 emissions have climbed by roughly 90 percent, and humans have depleted the majority of the carbon budget available for all the time and all humanity, pushing us toward the verge of climate catastrophe. This is why protecting the Earth needs the action of governments to bridge the gap between the net-zero rhetoric and reality by phasing out oil and gas production.
Nevertheless, being a part of the solution instead of the problem does have its rewards. From picking up trash to insulating homes and becoming politically involved, there are countless ways to take action against pollution, expand awareness and understanding, and safeguard the precious environment that surrounds us.
Consider this day to be a catalyst to ignite action. If you want to do your share this Earth Day, and hopefully every day, kindly encourage others to do the same to make the third rock from the sun a better place for all of us.
There are a plethora of small things you can do to celebrate, and we’ve compiled a list of some of our best suggestions below.
6. Support the transition to a green economy
In line with the theme of Earth Day 2022, understanding the financial aspects of climate change, agriculture, food, and product manufacturing, as well as tracking where your money goes, can be an excellent place to start.
Individuals cannot change the whole economy, but they do have the simple yet powerful ability to make their voices heard through choices. Gen Z is a notable example in this regard, as 45 percent of the generation has stopped purchasing certain brands due to ethical or sustainability concerns. Conscious customers hold power to keep businesses focused on clean manufacturing, the use of low-carbon materials, and energy efficiency.
5. Demand accountability from the government
As long as federal laws are in a place that supports and enables a fossil fuel-based economy, the worst effects of climate change will only escalate. As a climate-conscious citizen, you can shape policies by voting for candidates with good climate scores and writing to your congressperson directly about your climate concerns.
You can also become involved in climate organizations and social movements to demand corporate, and government leaders decrease climate pollution under their jurisdiction.
4. Participate in a local event
There are numerous activities taking place all across the world, which means all the more opportunities for you to become educated and get involved.
Site cleanups, festivals, conservation events, teach-ins, film screenings, and webinars are all available, and you can find many more events on the EarthDay.org database. To give you some ideas, you can volunteer for a community cleanup, start a recycling program, or even plant pollinator-attracting plants into your yard. The possibilities are limitless.
3. Act green
From cooking and cleaning to fashion and finance, there are numerous actions that you can undertake to ensure you are responsible to the planet.
You can strive to recycle as much as possible and reduce your trash through conscientious shopping choices and reusing as much as you can. Keep in mind that repairing worn or used items and opting for vintage or secondhand is one of the simplest ways to shop sustainably. As a rule of thumb, shopping in person is usually more environmentally friendly than shopping online — especially if you walk there! And try to avoid buying fast fashion. In fact, don't let Earth Day be hijacked by opportunistic brands looking to profit from rapacious overconsumption.
Considering where you can make cuts in your energy consumption is also important. You can turn off lights when not in use, never leave electronic devices in standby mode, and replace your light bulbs with energy-efficient LED options. Lowering the heat a few degrees, as well as insulating your house wisely, will also make a difference.
When it comes to what you put into your diet, consuming fewer animal products is crucial. The meat industry has a significant impact on the environment, from fueling climate change to contaminating landscapes and waterways. Consider this: According to a study, if every person in the U.S. reduced their meat intake by 25 percent, annual greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by a little more than 1 percent. If everyone in the country went vegetarian, the savings would be roughly 5 percent!
Also, don't be that person who recycles cans and collects trash before turning around in their SUV to go home. Taking the bus, subway, or train instead of driving your car is one of the best things you can do for the environment.
2. Take a walk
Earth Day serves as a reminder of just how beautiful and magnificent our planet is. You are welcome to take advantage of it.
Spend the day outside if you are lucky enough to have a backyard, reading, inspecting, or simply enjoying deep breaths of fresh air. Plant a tree and make it a yearly tradition, and observe plants – marvel at their vibrant hues, delicately woven veins, and remarkable resistance that enables them to grow in the most peculiar places of the world.
If you live in a major city with a lot of people around, seek out a green place and learn about the plants and animals that live in your area. Enjoy the endless blue skies and tap into that feeling of awe that somehow can easily be sparked by a pinkish sunset that you've seen thousands of times before, and show some love to the wonderful place we all call home.
1. Keep it going
So, let’s say you’ve decided to celebrate Earth Day by skipping a shower to conserve water. That’s kind of you to do something nice for the environment; however, what's even better is to keep that mindset going after Earth Day by not letting your acts of energy-saving be a one-time thing.
The climate crisis is a massive, tangled mess that will require all of our intelligence and ingenuity to unravel. If we can work collectively to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and reverse the destruction of nature, only then will we truly have something to celebrate in the future.
Editor’s Note: This is a part of our series PLANET SOLVERS, where IE explores climate challenges, solutions, and those who will lead the way.
Check out the other stories here: a timber cargo ship that sails without fossil fuels, a hydropanel that makes drinking water from air and sunlight, a high-flying kite that could power your home, a tower that turns pollution into diamonds, and a genetically engineered super-tree to better capture carbon.