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Make This Earth Day Matter

The Earth is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old - that’s a lot of birthdays! But it’s only since 1970 that we’ve had a global day to celebrate the planet that sustains us, and every other living thing we know about.

By Kay Sexton, Contributor 

22 April is Earth Day

Designed not just to acknowledge our debt to the planet, but to encourage action that will help preserve our world and improve it.

The climate clock is ticking
Scientists claim we have less than seven years to reverse global warming – that’s just six more Earth Day celebrations before we’ve burned through our carbon budget and created irreversible change. Rising sea levels, prolonged drought and extensive wildfires are just the headline problems we can expect if we don’t manage to put the planet first.

So what can we do to make planet day matter? There are so many ways to make a difference – and they fall into two categories; daily Earth Day activities and big annual events.

Some things we can do to make today a day of the earth are:

Educate & Inform – know your own environmental footprint and help others to know theirs – there’s an online calculator by WWF that makes it really easy.

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Image credit: Ocean Cleanup Group

Small Actions – often makes a big difference when done on a large scale – here’s just one example: most washing machines consume 90% of their energy in heating water. Washing at 30 degrees rather than 40 uses 40% less electricity.

Celebrate & Sustain – put a pond in your garden, make a hedgehog hole in your fence, plant a mini-meadow of native flowers to support local insects… There are many ways to help the planet and create an area of natural beauty to enjoy.

Creating an Earth Day Celebration
An Earth Day event could be as simple as planting a tree – a native tree, of course! Or volunteering for a local environmental organisation. What about a Zero Waste day at work? One day where we don’t use plastic, buy non-disposable products and recycle everything. This can create planet-saving behaviours in a large group as well as being fun for those who take part.

Travel, Tourism & Earth Day

We’ve learned a lot about consumption since the pandemic began – and travel is one of the areas that has been most affected by the various quarantines and lockdowns. Back in 2018, a survey of Americans who travel internationally found 91% believed ethical travel was important and 78% considered themselves more ethically aware when travelling than they had been a year earlier. But while at the end of 2019, tourism created 1 in 10 jobs and 10% of GDP globally, in February 2021 IATA reported that international travel had declined by 75.6% throughout 2020. It’s been a huge, transformative change for the travel industry and it’s also a chance to do things differently in the future.

“We only get one planet. Humankind must become accountable on a massive scale for the wanton destruction of our collective home. Protecting our future on this planet depends on the conscious evolution of our species.”

Leonardo DiCaprioAmerican actor, film producer & environmentalist.

As our horizons shrank, and staycations became mandatory, many of us began to think about what responsible travel could look like for our future, and our planet’s health. Leonardo DiCaprio has been an icon in this field. His foundation supports more than 35 conservation projects that protect fragile ecosystems and key species around the world. 

As a UN Ambassador for Climate Change, DiCaprio stated in 2014: “We only get one planet. Humankind must become accountable on a massive scale for the wanton destruction of our collective home. Protecting our future on this planet depends on the conscious evolution of our species.”

Why not use 22 April 2021 to make this day of the planet a turning point for your family, your business or your community?

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