Earth Day falls on April 22nd and this year’s theme of Restore our Earth couldn’t be more pertinent. It is no longer enough to reduce our carbon footprint; we need to actively restore ecosystems and biodiversity. At a national level this means continued pressure on Governments to protect the natural world. At a local level this could involve tree planting initiatives or making your own garden be pollinator friendly. National, local or individual, we’ve compiled a handy guide to what you can do to help this Earth Day.
Leave your Lawn for nature
It’s always tempting to cut overgrown lawns but try to resist for as long as possible, or consider leaving a patch to nature. An array of Insects, birds, fungi and wildflowers thrive on a neglected lawn. It’s easier for you too!
Clean your local area
Covid restrictions have meant food outlets are takeaway only which has contributed to excessive litter in our parks and beauty spots. Litter pickers can be purchased cheaply online and some local litter picking schemes provide them for free! So why not incorporate some litter picking into your next walk. Children love this activity too. It's fun, helps protect local environments and nurtures a sense of responsibility.
Join an environmental organisation
One of the most impactful things we as individuals can do to protect our environment is come together and put pressure on leaders to make changes at the policy level. There are so many environmental activist organisations to get involved with. From Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Extinction Rebellion. There is strength in numbers.
Write to your MP
MP’s often won’t consider an issue unless their constituents raise it. They simply have too much to do and so prioritise what they believe matters most to people. Find out about environmental issues in your community and write to or email your MP. Websites like writetothem.com can help get you started.
Plant a tree
There are loads of tree planting initiatives to get involved with. Find one in your area. Charities such as ‘Trees for Cities’ work with local communities to plant trees and revitalise neglected spaces. Alternatively, you can purchase a tree from organisations like the Woodland Trust to plant on your behalf.
Reduce meat and dairy consumption
One of the biggest personal changes we can make to help the planet is reduce our meat and dairy consumption. If you can, give it up all together! The conversion of land for beef production and animal feed is a leading cause of deforestation in many tropical regions, including in the Amazon, In comparison to meat and dairy, plant-based foods have much smaller carbon footprints. On average, emissions from plant-based foods are 10 to 50 times smaller than those from animal products (1) Start with a couple of meat and dairy free days a week and take it from there.
Reduce plastic waste
Did you know that only 9% of all the plastics EVER made have been recycled! This is a staggering statistic. The vast majority—79 percent—is accumulating in landfills or sloughing off in the natural environment as litter. (2)
Plastic is notoriously tricky to recycle and it’s cheaper for companies to make more. The best thing to do is avoid plastic as much as possible. This could include buying fruit and veg from markets and taking your own bags, using zero waste shops and buying products with biodegradable packaging.
Grow native plants that attract pollinators and wildlife. Over the last 50 years there has been huge declines in pollinators and other garden wildlife. The UK has some of the lowest biodiversity left in Europe and across the western world. (3)Companies like Seedball are on a mission to tackle this issue by making growing easy, meaning anyone can grow beautiful flowers that provide food and shelter for insects and wildlife that rely on them.
Borrow where possible
Can you remember the last time you used that drill gathering dust in the cupboard? There are so many items we buy that hardly get used. In an effort to reduce waste, many communities have set up ‘share shacks’ where you can borrow free tools and equipment and share skills. This is part of wider moves to connect communities through re-using, repairing, borrowing and sharing. (4)
Walk and cycle
There are so many emotional and health benefits to walking and cycling as well as being better for the environment. A recent YouGov poll showed there was overwhelming public support for making Cities more about people than motor vehicles. (5)
Whatever you do this Earth Day, make it the start of lifelong habits to protect our planet and restore our habitats.
“It is up to each and every one of us to Restore Our Earth not just because we care about the natural world, but because we live on it. We all need a healthy Earth to support our jobs, livelihoods, health & survival, and happiness. A healthy planet is not an option — it is a necessity.”(6)
- Carbon Brief- What is the climate impact of eating meat and Dairy.
- National Geographic- A whooping 91% of plastic isn’t recycled.
- Natural History Museum- UK has ‘led the World’ in destroying the Natural Environment
- The active Well-being Society- Balsall Heath Share Shack
- Cycling.UK- City Dwellers want more space for Cycling and walking.
- Earth Day.Org-Earth Day 2021