Not a day or week goes by without there being another reason for us to celebrate our health, lifestyles, and the planet we live on.
Last month, at 8:30-9:30pm local time on Saturday 28thMarch, WWF brought us Earth Hour, when more than 172 countries and territories turned off their lights for 1 hour, uniting people in a bid to protect our planet. Started in Sydney back in 2007, Earth Hour has grown each year and is now more than just an event, but has a massive environmental impact, including forcing legislation changes. Here’s some of their images from across the world that night :
Next year Earth Hour falls on 19th March 8:30-9:30pm local time, put it in your diary now.
Back to the present and today marks the celebration of the 45th Earth Day. Celebrated each year on 22nd April – marking what many consider to be the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970 – this year could be the most important in environmental history yet, with economic and sustainability joining hands, world leaders finally passing a binding climate change treaty and the year citizens and organisations divest from fossil fuels and put money into renewable energy solutions. Inspired by the student anti-war movement at the time, Gaylord Nelson, then a US Senator from Wisconsin, founded Earth Day to force environmental protection on to the national political agenda, by harnessing an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution. Back then 20 million Americans took to the streets in protest, demonstrating for a healthy, sustainable environment. Today Earth Day works with 5,000 environmental groups in a record 184 countries, reaching out to hundreds of millions of people, focusing on global warming and pushing for clean energy.
Here’s just a few of the things that Earth Day suggest we can do to get involved :
“”The possibilities for getting involved are endless! Volunteer. Go to a festival. Install solar panels on your roof. Organize an event in your community. Change a habit. Help launch a community garden. Communicate your priorities to your elected representatives. Do something nice for the Earth, have fun, meet new people, and make a difference. But you needn’t wait for April 22! Earth Day is Every Day. To build a better future, we all must commit to protect our environment year-round.””
I’d like to add another to this list and say “Go vegan”. Avoiding all animal products will dramatically reduce your carbon footprint. As The Vegan Society put it on their website :
““This goes way beyond the problem of cow flatulence!
The production of meat and other animal products places a heavy burden on the environment – from crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other processes involved from farm to fork. The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction. In Brazil alone, the equivalent of 5.6 million acres of land is used to grow soya beans for animals in Europe. This land contributes to developing world malnutrition by driving impoverished populations to grow cash crops for animal feed, rather than food for themselves. On the other hand, considerably lower quantities of crops and water are required to sustain a vegan diet, making the switch to veganism one of the easiest, most enjoyable and most effective ways to reduce our impact on the environment.””
With vegan lifestyles becoming more and more mainstream, and vegan friendly options popping up in your favourite local restaurants, there’s never been an easier time to make the change. Each time you shop for food, or order in a restaurant, you can make a choice to live a healthier life, avoid killing other creatures and leave a smaller carbon footprint.
Even some of my fave vegan brands are getting in the Earth Day spirit!
- Matt and Nat, who use recycled plastic bottle to make their beautiful line of vegan bags and purses, are donating $5 of every purchase made today to The Bee Cause
- Vega are offering 20% off orders made through their eStore. They’ll also plant a tree for every order!
- Food 52 have collaborated with MZ Wallace, producing a gorgeous line of water print bags, with 15% of each purchase going to supporting clean drinking water in developing countries
If you find yourself with a few mins to spare at work today, Google Doodle have a fun little quiz to find out what animal you are, and The Guardian have responded with their own online climate change-themed quiz.
So whether it’s shopping, completing a quiz or changing your lifestyle completely, let me know what you’re doing to celebrate Earth Day today!