In 1970, the first ever Earth Day movement witnessed over 20 million US citizens come together to demand climate and environmental action. 50 years on, Earth Day is now observed by almost 100,000 organisations, in over 190 countries, and approximately 1 billion people partake in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Earth Day 2020 events, rallies and protests were cancelled all over the world. Rather than lining streets, parks and stadiums, people joined the first ever Digital Earth Day. It received a warm reception on social media, with businesses, communities and individuals, all sharing their actions and pledges for the betterment of the Earth and environment.
Families uploaded their images of beach cleans, gardening, as well as sustainable lifestyle choices they were going to make – the list goes on! Whilst people were socially isolating at home, the inspirational and supportive messages that emerged across social media throughout the day demonstrated, that whilst we are living in a time of separation, people are connected now more than ever.
SodaStream, an in-home water brand that transforms tap water into flavoured and sparkling drinks, unveiled their commitment to reduce single-use plastic waste by around 67 billion bottles by 2025. They also announced that they would be switching all of its flavours from plastic to metal bottles. Not only will this have a massive effect on ocean pollution and marine life, but also sets the right tone for other businesses and corporations to follow suit.
Online retailer Etsy recently announced plants to offset 100% of its carbon emissions generated from shipping items, free of charge for its customers. This Earth Day they announced that their latest acquisition Reverb, will now be covered under the offset initiative. They stated that they would offset 100% of shipping emissions for every item purchased on Reverb by investing in environmental projects, including those that conserve hardwoods traditionally used to make musical instruments. They are also working towards powering their operations with 100% renewability, demonstrating just how important the environment is to them.
In September 2019, Timberland announced their plans to plant 50 million trees over the next 5 years – a massive increase from 10 million trees over the past 18 years. This Earth Day 2020, they said that they were still planning on running 50 eco-service events worldwide this year, but have been put on hold due to the coronavirus.
To say that Digital Earth Day 2020 was a success, would be an understatement. If there is one thing that we can all take away from the 50th anniversary of Earth Day is that no matter what boundaries or constraints we face, there is no reason we can’t come together (virtually) and stand up for what is right. Whilst we may not be able to partake in mass beach cleans or other gatherings of environmental activities, we can all do our own part towards contributing positively to the environment.
Whether your picking up rubbish from the ground, switching out single-use plastics for re-usable ones, or shopping sustainable (go order your pair of Ocean Refresh flip flops if you haven’t already!), no act is too big or too small when it comes to caring for the planet.