Earth Day is commemorated annually on the 22 April each year, with 2020 marking the day’s 50th anniversary. The day is used to bring important environmental issues to light across the world, with an estimate that more than one billion people recognise Earth Day each year.
Ever wondered how you can get involved in Earth Day? We’ve compiled a list of simple things you can do below.
3 Easy Ways to Get Involved in Earth Day 2020
1. Ditch the drive to work.
If you live in Australia, it’s likely you own a car. If you own a car, it’s likely you drive that car to work every day. On the 22 April, ditch the car for the day and walk, ride or catch public transport.
Cars are in fact responsible for half of Australia’s transport greenhouse gas emissions. In total, they emit as much pollution as Queensland’s entire coal and gas electricity supply.
2. Volunteer your time to raise public awareness of Earth Day.
As a society we are renowned for our lack of time therefore volunteering may not be an option for all of us. If you are lucky enough to be able to donate your time there are many organisations around Australia running special events in celebration of Earth Day 2020.
Some workplaces around Australia have ‘paid volunteer days’, which are available to employees. If this is an option consider volunteering for Earth Day 2020. Speak to your manager or HR advisor at your workplace to find out if you’re eligible.
If you’re unable to volunteer, you could consider making a small donation to your local environmental organisation. Alternatively, head down to your local park, or beachfront and pick up any litter you see that has been left behind.
3. Turn your lights off.
Turning your lights off when you aren’t in the room may seem obvious, but, you’d be surprised how many times we forget.
According to research conducted by Boston University, if we get into the habit of turning the light off whenever we leave a room, we can each reduce our greenhouse gas emission by 5.3kg daily. Imagine how much we can decrease it if all 25 million Australians get into this habit!
Alternatively, make the switch to solar lights outdoors. Solar lights are relatively cheap and very easy to instal yourself.
4. Plant a tree or two.
Planting another tree or plant in your garden is a great way to do you part for Earth Day. It’s simple, easy and relatively inexpensive. Apart from improving air quality trees also aid in water conservation, soil quality and support our wildlife.
For those of us who aren’t able to plant another tree, or simply live in an apartment, see this as another opportunity to add to your house plant collection. It is for the good of the environment after all.
4 Easy Changes You Can Make to Help the Environment Long-Term
1. Switch all you bills to e-bills
Switching all your bills to e-bills is super easy to do, but yet many Australians are yet to make the change. Most of us receive many email updates daily, so why not add your monthly bills to that.
It’s super easy to make the switch! Many companies will have a link on their website or information on the bottom of their paper bill about going paperless.
The production of paper is harming the environment and unfortunately, many people still fail to recycle properly. There are many other advantages to going paperless including, enhanced security, reduced costs and automatic payments.
2. Get a recycling plan in place.
Get a recycling plan in place! Ensure your recycling correctly, have a bin indoors for both general waste and recycling. If you’re up for it, get a composting bin for food scraps. There are even some small apartment friendly ones on the market, which don’t require much work.
Some areas in Australia are fortunate enough to have recycling incentives such as Queensland’s Container for Change or the New South Wales Return and Earn program. Both of these programs, and others operating around the country, allow people to exchange their used plastic bottles for a small monetary refund.
3. Avoid bottled water.
Avoid bottled water and other plastic packaging wherever possible. We understand sometimes this isn’t possible, however, if it is an option for you, purchase a water bottle and refill it at home or the office before you leave.
Millions of people purchase bottled water daily and unfortunately, 80% of these bottles are not recycled correctly and end up in landfill across the world. In an attempt to remedy this, many places across the world have adopted recycling programs with an attached monetary incentive.
4. Invest in solar energy.
It is a widely known fact that Queensland sees more than 300 days of sunshine annually, so investing in solar energy is a great option for Queenslanders looking to lessen their environmental impact.
Whilst the initial outlay of installing solar in your home can be quite high for the average Australian, most report that their system has paid for itself within six years. On top of this there are often government rebates running to increase affordability.
Get in contact with your local solar specialist to find out more.
The History of Earth Day
Earth Day began in 1970, with the premise of bringing awareness to the need of us to look after our earth. In 1970, many people were unaware of how their actions were negatively impacting the world around them. The day was founded by Gaylord Nelson, Pete McCloskey and environmental advocate Denis Hayes, whose work with the organisation still continues today.
Originally, Earth Day was only recognised by the United States, and it wasn’t until 1990 that the rest of the world began getting involved. Since then, Earth Day has been the foundation for many groundbreaking environmental laws across the world. The most famous of which being the Paris agreement, with the United States later withdrew from.
2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
Frequently Asked Questions about Earth Day
1. When did Earth Day first start?
Earth Day first began on 22 April 1970 when Gaylord Nelson, a US senator at the time, saw a need for unified climate action. Seeing the catastrophic effects of an oil spill in 1969 prompted his actions.
2. What is the theme of Earth Day 2020?
The theme of Earth Day 2020 is climate action. In 2020, the day has adopted a broader theme than observed in previous years. This is because this year marks the 50th anniversary.
3. What do you do on Earth Day?
Earth Day is a day which many opt to make more environmentally conscious choices. Some may choose to attend climate change rallies, join a community clean up or simply make small changes in their own lives to lessen their carbon footprint.
4. Is earth hour part of Earth Day?
No, earth hour is held on Saturday 28 March between 8:30 and 9:30pm. This isn’t to say that you can’t turn your lights out on the 22 April too.