Today is Earth Day and I thought I’d put a quick post together about it, including the ways that you can help to preserve our planet. You may have read most of the information below before, but I thought that it couldn’t help to re-iterate how important it is to make an effort to be kinder to our amazing planet. You might want to grab a cuppa for this – it’s a long one!
Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement. After the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson formed the idea of a national day to focus on the environment. On April 22nd 1970, 20 million Americans came together in coast-to-coast rallies to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. It became globally recognised by 1990 and is increasing in popularity every year. You can read about the histroy of Earth Day here and I recommend you do, as it’s an interesting read.
With more and more people becoming conscious consumers, vegans, sustainable lifestyle advocates, etc, Earth Day is a massive movement now. With that in mind I thought I’d list some facts about the negative impact our actions can have on our planet and ways that you can help reduce that impact. It’s not all about plastic!
- Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation (13 percent).
- Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.
- Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of the Amazon rainforest destruction.
- 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef.
How you can help:
Educate Yourself – Watch documentarys and realise the impact that you’re eating habits are having on animals and the environment. Shows like Cowspiracy, Earthlings and Forks Over Kinves are just a few that offer a brilliant insight into the way meat is produced.
Research Vegetarian & Vegan Recipes – If you were to pick just one recipe that you aced and used at least once a week that would make a massive difference to the environment.
Become Vegetarian or Vegan – The biggest impact you can have on the environment is to cut out meat and dairy products. As mentioned above animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of the Amazon rainforest destruction. Don’t be part of that! You don’t have to go vegan to make a difference – you can become vegetarian, cut down on meat and dairy products, or even have a meat free day a week. It all makes a difference.
- The fashion industry is the world’s second-largest polluter
- The world now consumes a staggering 80 billion pieces of clothing each year
- Only 10% of the clothes people donate to charity or thrift stores get sold
- It takes an average of 7,000 litres of water to produce one pair of jeans. That’s about the amount of water you drink over the course of 5-6 years.
- In the USA, 10.5 million tonnes of clothing is sent to landfill every year.
How you can help:
Quality Over Quantity – Places like Primark may be cheap but I find that also reflects in the quality too. The items that I’ve bought from there before have never lasted me more than around 6 months before they start to wear and fall apart. Investing in pieces that will last years, will not only help the environment but will also save you money in the long run.
Ditch Fast Fashion – Seasonal trends are fun to follow, but in reality they aren’t sustainable. That bright pink, tassle crop top may be on trend now, but come the winter you won’t get any wear out of it. Next year it will probably be out of fashion. Where does it go then? Most likely it will eventually end up in landfill. All for something that you’ve worn 5 times. Making an effort to buy basics that will always be on trend and then add in a couple of statement pieces each season is much more sustainable.
Buy From Sustainable Brands – If you want to go that extra mile, you could look into buying from sustainable brands too. Brands like People Tree, Fat Face, Madewell and Everlane are just a few brands that try to ensure that they have a minimalist impact on the environment when producing their products. By supporting them you can also ensure that you’re supporting the planet.
- In the UK alone, more than 5 million tonnes of plastic are consumed each year, of which only an estimated 24% is recycled. The remaining 3.8 million tonnes of waste is disposed of in landfills.
- Since the 1950s, an estimated 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced, of which an estimated 9% has been recycled and another 12% of plastic waste has been incinerated.
- Each year 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals die from ingesting plastic.
- It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish.
How you can help:
Swap Your Plastic Toothbrush For A Bamboo One – All plastic toothbrushes go straight to landfill. You’re supposed to change your toothbrush every 3 months, so imagine how many toothbrushes we are getting rid of a year. Bamboo toothbrushes are completely recyclable and in-expensive too.
Use Soap Instead Of Hand Wash – I used handwash in our bathroom and kitchen for quite a while before I realised how many bottles we were going through. I switched to soap and it’s actually so much cheaper and has reduced my plastic waste drastically.
Invest In A Safety Razor – Okay, so these may seem expensive to begin with but you will only ever need to buy one (as long as you look after it) and the blades cost pennies. I’ve been through so many plastic razors in my years and the heads are soooo expensive. Switching to a safety razor is not only better for the environment but better on your bank balance too.
Buy A Reusable Coffee Cup – If you find you’re always in a coffee shop, you should definitely get a reusable coffee cup. It saves so many disposable cups being thrown away and most shops actually offer a discount off coffee if you take your own cup. Bonus!
Buy Metal Straws – Plastic straws are the devil. It takes up to 200 years for a plastic straw to decompose and a lot of them end up in the ocean. Have you seen the video online of the turtle that has a straw stuck up his nose? It’s horrible to think that we are causing harm like that to other creatures.
The Ethical Box is a great way to pick up 4 of the main reusables that benefit our planet; straws, coffee cup, shopping bag & bamboo toothbrush. One easy purchase to make a massive impact on the environment.
There is obviously so much more that you can do to help the environment and protect the planet we live on. A quick google search will give you so many more tips and tricks that you can do to reduce your negative impact. I’m still learning to follow some of my own advice and it won’t all happen overnight. Making small changes will still help and you can always add in more changes as you go along. In honour of Earth Day I challenge you to pick just 2 things from the above list and put them into action. Let’s all make a conscious effort to save the planet.
Let me know what you’re doing for Earth Day this year in the comments below.