This year Earth Day is April 22, 2023 and it’s coming up quickly! Earth Day is a day that invites us to take time to consider the state of our planet and how we can take action to make it a better place.
Climate change can seem like an overwhelming issue, however as individuals we do have influence in impactful numbers as voters, consumers, and society members.
What is Earth Day?
Earth day is a global movement and day for environmental awareness and action that has taken shape over the past 53 years:
- Started in 1970 by a junior senator from Wisconsin with 20 million participants.
- Following Earth Days continued to expand in size and impact.
- Earth Day had influence on policy including the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of other environmental laws.
- By 1990 Earth Day was marked internationally by over 200 million participants.
- More recent Earth Days now have billions of participants (Source).
Our individual impact
When thinking about taking action this coming Earth Day, I wondered what I could do personally to make the most impact. Quantifying concepts helps me to understand them better, so I tried a few footprint and energy use calculators in order to highlight areas of improvement, and found this one to be very insightful.
According to this calculator my overshoot day is March 26th which is the day in the year that, if everyone on Earth lived like me, we would overuse the planet’s resources beyond where they can be regenerated. I was surprised as I felt that I would be better than that given our solar panels, growing our own food/sourcing locally, driving a hybrid, all the little choices that I believe add up to bigger change.
Interestingly though, it isn’t possible to get this calculator to show that you live within Earth’s limits individually, because so much of our personal consumption is tied to the systems in place around us. Examples of this are how our laws and regulations influence new development, road building, conservation, trash disposal/recycling practices… So how can we make a difference?
Actions we can take
In a past post, Alison shared 50 easy eco actions to make a difference on Earth Day for some inspiration to get started!
There are some key areas where individual choices on a large scale can make a measurable difference, and many of these changes aren’t hard to make!
- Reduce reliance on animal-based products
- Shop from local sources where possible
- Limit processed products packaged in plastic
- Use energy efficient lightbulbs
- Limit energy usage by turning down heat and dressing in layers
- Turn down hot water tank temperature, if possible
- Improve insulation around windows and doors with weather-stripping/curtains/blinds
- Complete a waste audit toward reducing outgoing trash
- Carpool or take public transit where possible
- Travel sustainably
- Advocate for change
Earth Day activities
There will be many activities coming up in the next couple of weeks, see if there are any in your area here!
Or keep it simple and gather some friends or family to clean up your local stream or beach!
How will you mark Earth Day?
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