Have you ever heard of Earth Day? The impacts of climate change can seem abstract and far-off, but the reality is that they’re already affecting our daily lives. From extreme weather events to food shortages, the consequences of inaction are serious. The good news is that even small individual actions can make a big difference. In honor of Earth Day, let’s explore some practical ways that you can help protect the planet we call home.
What is Earth Day?
Earth Day is a yearly reminder to reflect on our relationship with the planet and take action to protect it. It is celebrated on April 22nd to promote environmental protection and raise awareness about climate change, pollution, and other environmental problems. The first event was held in 1970 in the United States and is now observed in more than 190 countries worldwide.
How is it celebrated?
The theme for Earth Day changes every year, and the event is often used as an opportunity to launch new environmental initiatives and campaigns. Exceptionally, the theme for this year is the same as 2022: #Invest in our planet.
Acting as a continuation of last year’s well-received campaign, the theme is focused on engaging governments, institutions, businesses, and the more than 1 billion citizens who participate annually in Earth Day to do their part.
Several events are organized around the globe throughout April. Individuals and organizations take part in raising awareness campaigns, education, protests against fossil fuel… The 2022 Earth Day featured five main programs: The Great Global Cleanup, Sustainable Fashion, Climate and Environmental Literacy, Canopy Project, Food and Environment, and the Global Earth Challenge.
According to the 2022 Earth Day Report presented by earthday.org:
- 192 countries on 6 continents held Earth Day events,
- 158 million pounds of trash were cleaned up by 13,5 million volunteers in over 187 countries as part of the Great Global Cleanup
- 6.4 billion of #Earthday impressions were made across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.
What can you do?
As we approach another Earth Day, it’s essential to reflect on the state of our planet and the role that we each play in its preservation. Here are some ways that you can contribute to a more sustainable future:
- Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: You can do this by, for example, using public transportation, biking or walking instead of driving, and turning off lights and electronics when they’re not in use. You can also reduce your energy use by choosing energy-efficient appliances and products.
- Reduce Your Waste: A lot of the waste we generate every day ends up in landfills or the ocean. You can reduce your waste by using reusable bags, bottles, and containers instead of single-use items. You can also compost food scraps and yard waste instead of sending them to the landfill.
- Save Water: Drinkable water is a precious resource and is considered a luxury in many parts of the world. You can conserve water by fixing leaky faucets, taking shorter showers, and using drought-resistant plants in your garden.
- Support Sustainable Practices: Choose products that are made from sustainable materials and support companies that prioritize sustainability. You can also support local farmers (buying at farmers’ markets) and businesses that use environmentally-friendly practices.
- Educate Yourself and Others: Be it online or at schools/seminars/meetings, there are tons of easy-to-understand materials on the environment. Learn more about environmental issues and share your knowledge with others.
- Get involved in community organizations that work to protect the environment.
For more information
Here are useful links to learn more about Earth Day, climate issues or get involved:
Individual actions may seem small, but they add up to make a big impact. By making changes in our daily lives, we can help create a more sustainable future for ourselves and future generations. Earth Day is a great time to reflect on our relationship with the planet and commit to taking action. Let’s work together to protect the Earth and all its inhabitants.
Happy Earth Day to all!
Written by A. Fawaz Bagoudou, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Food Science at Shinshu University; Sustainable Food Systems Advocate