Earth Day 2023: Climate Action for a Sustainable Planet
Earth Day is celebrated on the 22nd of April every year. It is celebrated to demonstrate support for protecting the environment, and our planet has been through a lot since last year.
Since last year, our planet has seen an increase in the number and fortitude of natural disasters, such as the devastating floods in Pakistan.
It was estimated that around 25% of the country was underwater, with the natural disaster causing $15 billion of damage. The World Weather Attribution Group believes climate change affected the severity of the flooding. They found that rising temperatures lead to a significant increase in rainfall and subsequent floods.
We also saw the impacts of climate change closer to home.
The summer of 2022 was the joint hottest summer on record for England. For the first time ever, temperatures rose to 40 degrees. Scientists believe a future heatwave like the one seen in the summer of 2022 is now ten times more likely due to climate change.
Climate emergencies, such as natural disasters, are widely reported across the globe. But what can we do to help combat climate change and invest in our planet this Earth Day? Before we look at what is being done presently, it is essential to look back and see what has already been done previously to help the fight against climate change.
How Can I Take Part During Earth Day?
There are many ways to participate in Earth Day 2023. Here are five ideas from Astutis for positive environmental action for this year's event.
Make the switch to reusable bags:
Many shoppers use single-use plastic grocery bags when shopping; around four trillion are used worldwide each year. These plastic bags can have a significant impact on our environment. Plastic carrier bags are made from fossil fuel-derived plastics. This increases the global consumption of fossil fuels and drives pollution. Even worse, plastic bags are often used for as little as 15 minutes; think about how quickly you can get home from your local grocery store. However, plastic bags will stick around for much longer. Some can take over 1,000 years to fully decompose. A simple alternative is to carry reusable shopping bags. The UK has a charge for single-use plastic bags of a minimum of ten pence per bag. So not only will your reusable bag help the environment, but it could help your wallet too.
Switch to online billing:
Think back to the start of the millennium, before advancements in email technology, when you had dozens of paper bills through your letterbox. From bank statements, water and gas bills were all sent as paper copies. By switching to online billing, you will be saving hundreds of sheets of paper from being used. Every little really does help.
Use reusable utensils, dishes and trays:
Many of us live on the go. In our hectic world, we don't always know where we will be when we eat our next meal. With the busy lifestyle, convenience can often come as a rudimentary luxury, such as using plastic utensils. These create an unnecessarily large amount of plastic pollution as single-use utensils often can't be recycled at the curbside. Therefore, they end up in landfill, causing pollution. However, a step of climate action could be to dedicate a set of reusable utensils to areas where you spend much time. Keep a set of utensils in your office drawer, car, or backpack.
Consider consuming less meat:
Around 1% of the world's population is expected to follow a vegan diet. However, eating less meat doesn't mean you have to commit to a fully vegan diet. Committing to having one meat-free meal per week is a great starting point, also swapping some of your snacks for meat-free alternatives. Reducing your meat consumption can help lower greenhouse gas emissions, as meat production generates 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Begin meal prepping:
We all know the benefits of meal prepping for our week ahead as it allows us to plan ahead without worrying or thinking about what is for lunch or dinner. But did you know that meal prepping can benefit our planet?
By preparing your meals at the start of the week, you will be able to reduce your amount of food waste. Pre-portioning meals will mean you won't have any leftovers at the end of the week. Less leftovers, less waste, less food pollution.
These are some short-term changes that you can make to have an impact on our planet. However, we can take long-term actions to help invest in our planet's future. These actions include fitting solar panels to homes and commercial buildings. This will help reduce our planet's reliance on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions.
Another meaningful change that will positively impact our planet is the increasing number of electric cars on our roads. Research has shown that electric vehicles emit fewer greenhouse gasses and air pollutants into our atmosphere. The increase in electric car usage will help reduce the effects of climate change.
What Does Climate Action Look Like in the 21st Century?
This year the theme for Earth Day is to invest in our planet. The theme encourages governments, institutions, businesses, and individuals to do their part and be accountable. At the most recent COP27 conference, world leaders confirmed their promise to limit a global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Earth Day is a chance for individuals to consider how to implement climate action and its benefits.
One of the easiest ways to invest in our planet this year is through social media. Social media is a powerful tool if used in the right way. Climate spearheads such as Greta Thunberg have shown the power of social media to influence others. So, this Earth Day, why not engage with some climate activists on social media? See what the climate experts post and open your mind to their understanding.
Why not share your climate action pledges with your friends and family on social media? That way, you can highlight your positive impact on the environment while allowing your friends and family to hold you accountable for your climate pledges. Around one billion people participate in Earth Day annually across 190 countries, so why not engage with other social media users this Earth Day?
The 21st century has also seen an increase in awareness of climate change and our planet's challenges. The knowledge and solutions are there for public consumption, from climate figureheads on social media to thought-provoking documentaries. So, this Earth Day, why not educate yourself with a climate change documentary? Or reading the latest climate news?
The bedrock of meaningful and lasting change is knowledge. We must be educated about our planet before we can act to help reduce the impacts of climate change. Our IEMA courses look at key environmental concepts whilst also giving you the skills to apply your knowledge for the benefit of the planet. They provide the blueprint for environmental sustainability when our planet needs it the most. Click the button below to learn more.
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