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Happy Earth Day! Discover more about it.

When is Earth Day?

Today! Monday 22nd April 2024 is officially Earth Day.

What is Earth Day

Earth Day is an annual global event held on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. The very first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970. This year sees its 55th anniversary and the official theme for 2024 is “Planet vs. Plastics.”

Earth Day is a reminder of the importance of environmental conservation and sustainability, encouraging us to come together and take action for a healthier planet and brighter future.

Through various events, toolkits, and initiatives, we aim to raise awareness, inspire change, and foster a deeper connection with nature. Let’s unite in our efforts to protect the Earth today and for generations to come. Together, we can make a meaningful impact and create a more sustainable world.

https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2024/

How did it begin?

The date of April 22nd was officially recognised in 2016 by the United Nations, when leaders from 196 nations came together on that date to adopt a legally binding treaty against global warming. Countries are expected to try and limit global warming to 1.5°C under the Accord while greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 at the latest and decline 43% by 2030.

Although that date was chosen in 2016 the movement began much, much earlier.

In January 1969, there was a huge oil spill in Santa Barbara , Southern California, which affected a massive area with approximately three million gallons of oil spreading over 35 miles. Senator Gaylord Nelson had been concerned over environmental issues for a while and this event inspired him to enlist students to promote concerns about air and water pollution. Along with Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, he recruited an activist, Denis Hayes, to organize campus teach-ins and get these ideas into the media. April 22 1970 was selected because it was a weekday falling between Spring Break and Final Exams which would maximize student participation.

Why this theme?

Planet vs. Plastics unites students, parents, businesses, governments, churches, unions, individuals, and NGOs in an unwavering commitment to call for the end of plastics for the sake of human and planetary health, demanding a 60% reduction in the production of plastics by 2040 and an ultimate goal of building a plastic-free future for generations to come.

https://www.earthday.org/planet-vs-plastics/

There is a widespread acceptance that microplastics in the eco-system causes harm to humans, animals and the environment in general. Earthday.org aims to promote more awareness, demands more research be carried out on the impact on public health, the phasing out of all single use plastics by 2030 and demand a swathe of policies ending fast fashion and the vast amount of plastic it produces and uses and finally more investment in technologies and materials that build towards a plastic-free world.

Plastic facts

Apparently more plastic has been produced in the last ten years than in the entire 20th century!

More than 500 billion plastic bags, equating to one million bags per minute, were produced worldwide last year.

100 billion plastic drinks containers were sold in the United States alone last year – making a plastic water bottle requires six times as much water as the bottle itself contains. In the UK we use over 35 million plastic bottles every day! 

People are buying 60% more clothing than 15 years ago, but each item is kept for only half as long. Approximately 85% of these garments end up in landfills or incinerators, with only 1% being recycled.

Nearly 70% of clothing is made from crude oil, resulting in the release of dangerous microfibers when washed and continued contribution to long-term pollution in landfills.

What can YOU do?

I suppose it really is what can we do? Even the smallest change can help:

Don’t use plastic straws, McDonalds and many other outlets have gone back to paper, if you are having a party don’t buy plastic!

Reuse plastic bags for shopping, or better still use reusable bags

Don’t use plastic disposable cutlery

Buy refillable water bottles to use at home/school/work

Take a refillable coffee mug

Avoid goods with a lot of packaging

Bulk buy and check out refill stores

Stop using cling film, use plastic pots, silicon covers or alternative beeswax wraps – or equivalent

Make sure your teabags are plastic free – or use loose tea and a strainer

Stop chewing gum! Did you know that gum is made from plastic? Britons are the second biggest consumers of gum in the world, chewing an estimated 130 sticks per person each year.

Buy eco-friendly, biodegradable glitter – or just don’t buy glitter!

Use soap instead of shower gel – nothing wrong with shower gel but the single use bottles are the problem.

Recycle

What interesting facts did you learn today? Be part of the solution, not the problem. Check out wwf,org.uk for some top tips and more information.

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