Today, 22nd of April 2020, is the day we celebrate Earth Day 2020. Do not get confused between Earth Day and Earth Hour though. We celebrate Earth Day by demonstrating our support for environmental protection and participate in Earth Hour by switching our lights off in support of nature and our planet. Anyway, do you know that the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, and that this is the 50th anniversary? On this special occasion, this year’s theme is climate action.
I would like to take this opportunity and bring your attention to the fact that we now face a climate emergency, that we have less than 10 years to act and keep the global temperature to a maximum of 1.5 °C above the pre-industrial level. The science is unequivocal. If we fail to act, we will be confronted with a global crisis, in the form of extreme weather, on an unprecedented scale very soon. But if you see what I see, and if you feel as I feel, then I ask you to join me in taking up the following Earth Day challenges at home:
- Join a Digital Earth Day event today. Here, you get to choose from a variety of virtual activities: marine conservation artwork challenge, submit an audio recording of your environment, join a live online EarthDay50 presentation or submit a record of the wildlife that you see outside of your window. Have a look at the event list and see if there is anything that interests you. You can contribute or learn something new today.
- Download and use the Earth Challenge 2020 app. Join the world’s largest citizen science initiative and help monitoring the air quality and plastic pollution around your environment. All you have to do is to take a photo and submit your observation. Also, you can access the global submissions map and learn about the air quality or plastic pollution in your area. It’s a rather simple and convenient app to use.
- Take a quiz and find out how much you know about climate change, if you are feeling up to it. I would recommend taking the climate change quiz which is available on the Earth Day website first. If you manage to sail through it, then you should give this one a try. Do you know that which of the following is the most effective climate solution for the transportation sector: drive an electric car, invest in high-speed trains, fly less and travel on fuel-saving planes or ship goods more efficiently? If you don’t know, you should find out.
- Go zero waste today. If you are not sure how you can achieve a zero waste lifestyle, here are 101 easy tips for going zero waste. To begin, I strongly recommend the following three tips: bring your own reusable bags to the store, stop impulse buying and plan your meal to avoid food waste. Don’t let your perishable food stay inside your refrigerator too long!
- Try a vegetarian diet today. From tempeh, ratatouille, burger, pizza, curry, lasagna to stew for you to choose from, here are 52 plant-based recipes. Take a glance at what you have in your refrigerator and pick one recipe that you would like to experiment today. Or you can share one of your favourite vegetarian recipes with us.
- Support green energy, especially solar power. You do not have to start installing solar panels now but you should start thinking and planning for it, especially if you can afford it. Otherwise, convince your parents and friends to support green energy. It is found that there is a significant neighbour effect on solar panel installation in California and Kyoto, meaning that one solar panel installation in one neighbourhood will increase the probability of additional installations in the same area.
- Take a moment and reflect on your carbon footprint. If you are not sure how to calculate your carbon footprint, you can use an online carbon calculator. Otherwise, you can think about your carbon footprint in terms of your monthly expenses. For example, how much money have you not spent on traveling or transportation since working from home? Are there cheaper alternatives? Think about how you can make your lifestyle less carbon intensive without making too huge of a compromise.
- Share this blog post and tag three of your friends. Of course, the more the merrier!
Where there is a will, there is a way. And most importantly, you are not alone. Let us make every day Earth Day!
Win Sim, MSc Environmental Protection and Management