On 22nd April, Earth Day 2020 celebrates its 50th anniversary. As the world rightly turns its attention and resources to the global health pandemic, there have been some interesting environmental impacts from the global restrictions. Air pollution has dropped in many places - quite dramatically in some - and wildlife has been positively impacted as a result. Many say that they have less food waste because of concerns about supply.
Fifty years ago on April 22nd, 20 million Americans - 10% of the population at the time - took to the streets to protest about the worsening state of the environment and its serious impacts on human health. That first momentous event led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and a host of environmental laws protecting humans from disease, animals from extinction and the environment from ruin.
Since then, Earth Day has gone truly global and its mission is to “diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.” Every year, millions of people mobilize to campaign for change, understanding that one single lone voice may be hard to hear, but 1 billion voices in unison are hard to ignore.
This year’s theme is 'Climate Action', with the movement asserting that ‘climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.’ Many young people are leading the conversation around global warming - as highlighted by TIME Person of the Year Greta Thunberg’s impassioned speech to the UN in 2019 - making climate change a topic that's increasingly in the public consciousness.
What Can We Do?
This year, Earth Day 2020 has gone online and thousands of events will be taking place to bring people together to raise awareness and lobby for change. There will be global conversations, teach-ins and even performances to highlight the issue and the actions we can take. Find an Earth Day Live event to join, here.
How the current crisis affects the environment in the long term depends on all of us - individuals, companies and governments - making choices (however small they seem) that can have a huge long-term impact. Choices such as using energy wisely, choosing and investing in renewable energy instead of fossil fuels, buying organic and local food, and eating meat-free more often. Traveling smarter to reduce carbon emissions is also an important change we can make: biking instead of driving, and flying less (and if you do fly, offsetting your emissions).
We believe that every small change is worth making. At LUV for example, our paper packaging is made in a carbon-neutral facility in Portland, Oregon. We strive to incorporate responsible practices into how we run our business at all stages of the supply chain; working with local farmers, endeavoring to use raw ingredients that are sustainable, and choosing glass over plastic. You can find out more about some of the ways in which we are mindful of LUV’s environmental impact here.
Getting the Kids Involved
Teaching younger generations about these issues is an important part of this. As we all tackle homeschooling, how about taking the kids on a virtual field trip this week to help them understand the issues and to make better choices as a family? Find a family friendly Earth Day Live event or have a look at National Geographic’s Earth Week activities for fun and educational things to do.
Reconnecting in Challenging Times
As we all go through these troubling times, many people are finding enjoyment and comfort in nature. Have you noticed how in the busiest of cities, you can hear birdsong again? Or that even if you’re in an apartment, huge reductions in air pollution (50% in New York) mean that opening a window allows you to feel fresh and much cleaner air on your face?
Taking pleasures in these simplest of things is not just a welcome mental health boost; it also reminds us why this issue is so important and why creating a healthier planet is not just in our own interests, but in the interests of our children and future generations beyond them.