By Kenedy Witherow
Sustainable Investment Group (SIG)
Earth Day 2023 is upon us, and the theme this year is Invest in Our Planet. Celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd by participating in an educational opportunity, challenging yourself to adopt a new eco-friendly habit, or join us in participating in the six highlights that EarthDay.org features on their website.
Investing in our planet can mean something different to everyone, and EarthDay.org provides 6 broad methods that can appeal to many different interpretations and interests. These 6 key methods include: Climate Literacy, End Plastics, Plant Trees, Vote Earth, Global Cleanup, and Sustainable Fashion.
Along with the following recommendations that EarthDay.org highlights, the website also features an event finder, which you can utilize to locate and share nearby Earth Day events year-round.
Now, we’ll explore the 6 highlights from EarthDay.org. If you navigate to their site, you will see that each highlight features a toolkit with additional information on the impacts, along with helpful resources and guidance on how to participate.
According to NOAA, climate literacy is an understanding of one’s influence on the climate as well as the climate’s influence on individuals and society. Climate literate individuals make informed and thoughtful decisions based on a range of factors including science, economic, and social factors to reduce their overall impact.
Climate literacy is something that many of us reading this may already possess! However, there’s always room for improvement. Surely there are some areas we may not fully understand, and others we are experts in and could share. EarthDay.org describes the benefits of climate literacy and includes strong civic education, job creation, a growing green consumer market, and increasing positive engagement between citizens and their governments. To get involved in expanding these benefits, on EarthDay.org you can sign petitions pertaining to expanding climate literacy globally. You can also contribute by joining a local environmental group to discuss expanding climate literacy in your area.
Ending plastics is not just good for the environment, it is also better for human health. Microplastics and chemicals in plastics are known to damage human cells and cause a range of problems. Plastic production also contributes to climate change.
EarthDay.org has an End Plastic Pollution Campaign that helps people understand the impacts of plastic pollution on human and ecosystem health and shares how simple habit changes can lessen the problem. EarthDay.org features a plastic footprint calculator, a plastic-free challenge, a global clean-up finder, and highlights petitions you can sign to support the initiative.
While it sounds daunting and can be extremely difficult to live “plastic-free,” or “zero waste” there are many swaps you can make over time that can significantly reduce your plastic use. And, while also focusing on plastic reduction, you can check with your local recycling facility to learn about what types of plastic can be recycled.
If you’re up for making some sacrifices, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and EcoChallenge partner and host a plastic-free challenge every July for a month of plastic-free living. The challenge is full of helpful tips and swaps and can help keep you accountable. You can find more information here.
EarthDay.org has planted tens of millions of trees with their Canopy Project, which works with global partners to reforest areas in need of rehabilitation, especially places most vulnerable to climate change and environmental degradation. The website offers a reforestation map and showcases highlights from their work in different communities around the world.
Planting trees can help us tackle the unavoidable emissions and balance our impact.
To participate in the “Plant Trees” initiative, you can volunteer to plant trees, plant a pollinator garden, or investigate the Eevie app. The Eevie app was designed to help citizens and companies alike understand how to lead a sustainable life. The Eevie app allows you to join a community that is committed to building a climate-friendly future and help community members make environmentally friendly decisions every day. The Eevie app can help set goals to reduce your carbon footprint and lessen other impacts. For more information on the Eevie app, check out this website: Unesco Green Citizens
EarthDay.org’s page on this topic is short and sweet. You can pledge to vote on their site, and by doing so you will receive reminders about upcoming election dates and deadlines, so you never miss an election. EarthDay.org also provides a climate civics toolkit, with details on the local impacts of climate change and how to actively participate in community civic activities. Keep in mind how important it can be to be conscious of your monetary decisions and vote with your wallet.
EARTHDAY.ORG participates in the Great Global Cleanup, a worldwide campaign to remove waste and plastic pollution from the environment. Using the website, you can join local clean-ups or start your own for others to participate in. These events occur throughout the year all across the world, and can be found using the “Find a Cleanup” map here.
Along with a range of events on Earth Day, World Cleanup Day is the third Saturday of September and is another day many leaders and organizations choose to host a clean-up. Make sure to check the website and try to participate in a clean-up near you!
Sustainable fashion is a clothing industry that follows sustainable practices throughout the entire supply chain and aims to reorient the industry away from fast fashion, which is extremely detrimental to the environment and to people. For more information on sustainable fashion, check out a previous SIG blog here.
EarthDay.org provides fact sheets, a toolkit for making sustainable swaps, and information on how consumers can change the trajectory of fast fashion. Some of these changes include education, prioritizing quality over quantity, purchasing secondhand clothing, and participating in a local clothing swap. The website provides a multitude of links and information on how to fight the fast fashion industry that I encourage you to check out!
Supporting Earth Day Year-Round
Earth Day initiatives cannot just last for one day – this is a battle we must continue to fight and there is so much you can do to help, even with a busy schedule! There are citizen science projects for all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts, so whether you enjoy birds or clouds or pollinators, you can contribute to research. Check out how you can contribute to research via citizen science platforms like iNaturalist, Merlin Bird ID and CitizenScience.gov.
Remember to check out EarthDay.org any time of year for global clean-ups, petitions, and other events you can participate in to support the wellbeing of the planet and society.
Earth Day 2023 – Earth Day
What is Climate Science Literacy? | NOAA Climate.gov
Plastic Free Ecochallenge 2022 – Home Page
Circular Fashion Instead of Fast Fashion (sigearth.com)
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