Earth Day is celebrated on 22 April every year with the aim of driving environmental action. These days the climate crisis is rarely out of the headlines, but the first Earth Day was actually organised over 50 years ago in 1970 by a US senator, Gaylord Nelson, who was appalled at the aftermath of an oil spill in California the previous year. He was committed to conservation and raising environmental awareness, and with his drive and determination Earth Day was launched. The first event in 1970 saw 20 million people in the US take to the streets – around 10% of the country’s population at that time.
Earth Day is now observed around the world and encourages everyone to take a moment to consider the impact that human kind is having on our planet. This year’s theme is ‘Restore our Earth’, which looks at what we can do to reverse the damage already inflicted on our environment – the loss of wild places and wild forests, and the impact that has on biodiversity and wildlife and, ultimately, our climate. The message is it’s not too late and we can all play a small part in repairing the damage.
It was David Attenborough’s powerful and emotive documentary last year that prompted us to play our own small part as an organisation. Along with Nedgroup Trust, we partnered with a social enterprise called Ecologi, which is a carbon offsetting initiative that we can contribute to. Ecologi works by planting trees and investing in environmental projects around the world, which help to combat climate change and, in doing so, offer work to thousands of people.
Investing through Ecologi, has enabled us to make all our employees carbon positive, which means we are offsetting more than our carbon footprint puts into the environment. Since starting the initiative last year, we have funded over 24,000 trees and offset over 1,425 tonnes of CO2. Our aim is to plant over 60,000 trees by the end of 2021. And by building awareness in this way, we are actively encouraging our staff and their families to consider their environmental impact on a personal level too.
No one can accurately predict what it will take to ‘restore our earth’, but it’s only by raising awareness and each playing our own small part to reduce our impact on the planet that we can begin to tackle the problem.