This month, #natucollective shares James’s post in honor of Earth Day!
James lives in England and is a communicator, sportsman, history-lover, enthusiastic world citizen, political onlooker & aspiring BBC WS presenter, not always in that order.
More articles from him on jimbocharlieash.medium.com
The history of our planet has been billions of years in the making, but the reality of man-made climate change means the need for massive, internationally coordinated action to combat this issue has never been more important, even against the short-term backdrop of the Coronavirus crisis.
The current pandemic however, has not shut down the world, instead it’s simply forced us to change the way we do things. It has hopefully also reminded us of what’s at stake in our fight for each other & for our planet too.
Coronavirus has accelerated & forced changes across many sectors & now is the time to seize this opportunity to demand long-term change in the ways global communities, local Governments, corporate organisations & economies (in general) operate as part of an effort to kick-start a greener, more sustainable & fairer future.
Marked by millions around the world, Earth Day is an annual event designed to shine a light on the serious environmental problems we’re facing as a global community: from air pollution & rainforest deforestation, to species extinction, coral bleaching, loss of natural habitat & even our use of energy & plastics.
For Earth Day 2021, US president, Joe Biden has invited 40 world leaders to take part in a live-streamed virtual summit on 22nd & 23rd of April to highlight the urgency for stronger climate action. This action signals a significant change of policy from the previous administration & could well (along with the USA’s renewed membership of the Paris Climate Agreement) provide the catalyst for a more internationally coordinated response to the climate crisis.
It’s maybe because of this renewed vigour, spearheaded by the Biden administration, the expectation of COP26 in Glasgow in November & the voice of climate activists like Greta Thunberg & Sir David Attenborough that this year’s Earth Day message is maybe resonating more loudly than any previously.
With figures showing that global CO2 emissions are now back at above pre-pandemic levels & the recent report published in the Guardian, highlighting that just 3% of the world’s land remains ecologically intact (with healthy populations of all its original animals & undisturbed habitat), it is fitting that this year’s theme is Restore Our Earth.
Earth Day this year will focus on recovering from the effects of Coronavirus, but also how we play a role in repairing the damage we’ve done to the planet in the two & a half centuries following the industrial revolution. Considering that we need to dramatically cut emissions by an estimated 45 per cent by 2030 to keep global warming to 1.5°C, the magnitude of the challenge we’re facing is clear.
By no means am I advocating that for six months a year, countries shut down their economies (in an effort to reduce emissions) as we saw during Coronavirus. The socio-economic fallout associated with wiping out trillions of dollars of international trade & millions of jobs means this is not a viable option.
However, as we celebrate a sixth decade of Earth Day, it’s important to realise that there is a pay-off to be had & maybe some of the innovations & sea-changes that have come to the fore over the last 14 months can be continued on a longer-term basis as part of a ‘Green Recovery’.
If we learn nothing more from the recent pandemic, hopefully it will be this: we have a duty to not just humanity, but also to our planet, to challenge the reliance on inherited geo-political, business & economic models; & at an individual level, we have a duty to challenge our own consumer behaviour far more as well.
With that in mind, here are some suggestions about how we can all live more sustainably; including being more conscious about what you buy, switching to renewable energy, flying less, shopping more seasonally to discourage intensive farming techniques, or simply eating more plant-based foods. You can also join campaign groups, write to your local politician, or simply donate to environmental charities such as Greenpeace, WWF, Earth Day or The Rainforest Trust.
Ghandi once said: “be the change you wish to see in the world.” On that closing note, let’s all pledge that the differences we make on the 22nd of April, become a blueprint to follow in the fight against climate change across the other 364 days of the year too.