Earth Day 2020: Improve your sustainability efforts with paper

Earth Day began in recognition of the growing environmental crisis in 1970. On April 22nd, 20 million people took to the streets to protest the ignorance of our environmental impact and demanded change.

This first launch saw an influx of action being taken by both individuals and as a collective, with the passing of The Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Act and the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in America. It wasn’t long before countries across the world began adopting similar laws and regulations for environmental protection. Today, Earth Day has become a worldwide event in bringing people together to help our planet in a variety of meaningful ways, from wildlife conservation to plastic pollution to agriculture. This year, on April 22nd 2020, the theme for Earth Day is a call to climate action.

In a report on The Causes of Climate Change and The Role of Human Activity, NASA stated that, “In its Fifth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of 1,300 independent scientific experts from countries all over the world under the auspices of the United Nations, concluded there’s a more than 95 percent probability that human activities over the past 50 years have warmed our planet.” [1]

The need for climate action is definite. Without action being taken to reduce greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, temperatures will continue to rise, creating extremely negative environmental occurrences such as, heat waves and droughts, Arctic ice melting, rising sea levels, stronger hurricanes, etc.

Paper is a brilliantly sustainable and renewable resource, capable of being a modern-day answer to fulfilling our resource needs while keeping our greenhouse gas emissions low for the climate. As stated by Two Sides, “The European pulp and paper industry produces original bio-based products using wood, a renewable material. It is also the biggest single industrial user and producer of renewable energy in the EU (…) By buying paper from sustainably managed forests and always recycling, we really do not have to feel guilty about using this natural and renewable product.” [2]

It is more important than ever to spread the message of our climate crisis virtually and take action at home through Earth Day’s their digital events. However, in our time of global uncertainty, it is also important to focus on our own health and wellbeing while taking part in Earth Day this year. That is why we have put together a few ways to help you show your support for Earth Day using the naturally sustainable resource of paper.

1. Take Up A New Hobby

If you are looking for the perfect time to take up a new hobby, Earth Day might just be that time. On the Love Paper website, we have a wide range of paper-based activities you can try at home, that are both easily accessible, inexpensive and environmentally friendly.

From paper crafting to our Love Paper Creations, you can find many activities to try out by yourself or with your household that can keep you active and entertained.

2. Switch To Paper

Attitudes towards single-use plastic have dramatically shifted in recent years and paper is increasingly recognised as the sustainable choice. As stated in an article by the BBC, “The last few years has seen numerous retailers announce that they are switching to paper bags, while paper-based chocolate wrappers, ready-meal trays and water bottles have also started to emerge.” [3]

With continuous, positive action being taken by retailers across the UK to remove single-use plastic, Earth Day comes at a great time for you to make those changes too. From switching out your normal plastic straw to a paper-based one or refusing to buy a plastic bag at the shops and instead reusing a paper one, these small and progressive changes demonstrate your action for sustainability and the fight against climate change.

3. Keep on Reading

Studies show that reading is one of the highest mediums for reducing stress, and in our time of such uncertainty, lowering stress levels should be taken as priority. With facts and figures about Covid-19 flooding the internet, now might be best time to remember to take a break from your computer and pick up a book instead.

But why come off your screen to read a book? Well, not only is reading a paper book a cheaper alternative to buying an e-reader, it also has a significantly better environmental impact. According to The New York Times, the fossil fuels, water use and mineral consumption in creating one e-reader equals to roughly forty to fifty books. [4] Therefore, celebrating Earth Day could be as easy as reading a chapter of a good book.

4. Start Writing

Whether its writing a heartfelt letter to a family member you haven’t seen for a while or taking up bullet journaling to make sure you get all your work done for the day, Earth Day could be your opportunity to step away from the computer, put pen to paper and start writing.

Handwriting for yourself or to loved ones can be a wonderfully personal way of showing your care and support. You could even begin writing a diary during this pandemic to keep your own, personal record of this historic event you’re living through.

5. Have A Spring Clean

If the motivation to give your house a full spring clean hasn’t hit you just yet, why not plan to do it on Earth Day?
Cleaning out all your unwanted items can be a great way of keeping you busy inside your own home, but it can also be great for the environment too. Recycling that pile of office papers that has been building up or boxing up books and clothes for donation to a charity shop will decrease landfill capacity, which is a contributing factor in global warming.

But not only can your spring clean support Earth Day, it can also positively impact your own mental wellbeing, as studies show that cleaning for as little as 20 minutes can reduce stress and anxiety levels by 20%.[5]

More information on Earth Day’s digital events and how you can take part can be found on their website.