By Anders Lorenzen
Tomorrow’s Earth Day (22nd of April) comes in the shadow of the pandemic, but also in a year that is more crucial than ever before for climate action and environmental protection.
Earth Day was named in 1970 in the wake of the new environmental movement in the 1960s.
But what can you do to commemorate this significant day?
1: Watch the Earth Day livestream
Earth Day is hosting its own livestream, in what they call a digital climate event covering various topics with the focus on ‘Restore our Earth’. You can access it here. The Biden Administration is also hosting a special climate summit, to which 40 world leaders have been invited.
And if this was not enough, We Don’t Have Time and partners are hosting Financing the Race to Zero – also happening online which you could sign up to here.
2: Holiday at home
On Earth Day, commit to not holidaying abroad.
Just before the pandemic started the idea of staycations or at least eliminating air travel had started to take off amongst environmentally-minded individuals. And with international travel being banned for long periods during the pandemic, many people have had no choice but to holiday in the country they live in, instead of jetting off somewhere.
As lockdowns ease the temptation to travel abroad again will be high, though many have realised during the pandemic that holidaying at home can be equally enjoyable, and it gives us an opportunity to explore areas that we know very little about. The environmental and carbon savings are huge, and we get a chance to invest in local and national economies that have been suffering during lockdowns.
3: Support a charity focused on climate action or environmental protection
Many smaller charities that do critically important work have struggled during the pandemic and are finding it hard to survive. On Earth Day support a charity close to your heart that does critical work whether it is to do with biodiversity, protecting the environment or working on climate action.
4: Commit to eliminating single-use PPE’s.
As the pandemic struck, the word PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) which includes face masks, had become a common expression with mask-wearing mandated in many places. Masks bring their own environmental challenges as most are single-use throw-away items ending up in landfill and creating huge waste and plastic problems of their own. Spend a bit extra on long-lasting items which you can wash and use time after time.
5: Watch an environmental focused documentary
Across popular streaming channels such as Netflix and Amazon Prime and many others, you now have a host of climate documentaries to choose from.
Worth mentioning is the powerful film ‘I am Greta’ telling the story of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. And in David Attenborough: A Life on our Planet, the much-loved naturalist took to Netflix to document the state of our planet.
6: Get stuck into a book with an environmental or climate theme
The world is your oyster when it comes to books touching on the climate and environmental crisis ranging from fiction to non-fiction books. The climate fiction blockbuster Ministry of the Future by sci-fi writer Kim Stanley Robinson has won the mainstream accolade. And though a few years old now The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells tells the story of how climate impacts will hit us all.
7: Look at your investments and pension
Surely you do not want to contribute to the climate crisis, but the reality is that your money might be doing that without you being aware of it. Find out what your financial institution is doing with your capital, savings and what your pension provider is doing with your contributions. Make sure they’re not invested in fossil fuels or any other climate or environmentally damaging projects and act to make sure that your money is going towards sustainable investments such as clean energy projects or eco-system restoration.
8: Grow something
If you have the option to do so, what better way to celebrate Earth Day than by growing something yourself. Whether on your own or public land, planting trees or pollinating flora, or creating hedgerows, everything helps and you will be playing a crucial role in supporting and restoring biodiversity. If buying compost remember to use peat-free compost.
9: Drop the car
Following the pandemic and the continuing worry of catching COVID-19, there has been an increase in car usage in many places. But now is the time to drop the car (even if electric), travel by foot or bike if you can or if not support public transport systems by using them. Walking or cycling to get from A to B is not only zero-carbon but the cleanest mode of transport and also the healthiest. But do stay off busy roads as much as possible.
10: Speak to your friends about the climate crisis
Raising awareness and educating your friends, family and colleagues about the climate crisis could be one of the most important actions you could take on this Earth Day. You could for instance host a climate documentary watch party or encourage them to look at the Earth Day livestream.
And above all take a minute to enjoy our beautiful natural world, and remember every day is Earth Day.