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Shraddha Agarwal @izzkihandmade

Earth Day 2020 – Sustainability Success?

On April 22nd, 2020, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day happened a little differently. Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, which caused public health lockdowns to be enforced all around the world, Earth Day had to change things up if they wanted to continue the planet’s largest public event. This year, Earth Day went digital and solo for the first time in its history.

Our last Earth Day article encouraged us all to improve our sustainability efforts with paper. From swapping out plastic straws to recycling unwanted books, we highlighted the many ways you can help Earth Day from home.

Now, we are taking a look back on the 2020 event to see just what happened on the most unique Earth Day in history.

To provide motivation throughout the day, Earth Day produced the 12 Hours of Hope and Progress. Hosted by Ed and Hayden Begley, this live global program saw musical performances, messages of encouraging, cooking shows, speeches and more, all happening throughout the 12 hours of Earth Day. The entire program can be found on Youtube now if you’d like a little inspiration with your continued sustainability efforts.

The key to every successful Earth Day is our action and of course this cannot be done solely through digital means. This year the 24 Hours of Action was created, an initiative that showed us ways that we can help our planet safely through socially distanced methods. Here are some of the fantastic work started by the 24 Hours of Action movement.

The Great Global (solo) Clean-up

A shocking new publication in the Science Journal has estimated that the current amount of plastic reaching the oceans 11 million tonnes a year. What is even more alarming however is that if our current trends continue, that amount will increase to 29 million tonnes by 2040 – the equivalent of 50kg for every metre of coastline in the world.[1]

With unsettlingly large statistics like this being uncovered, it can be easy to feel like there is nothing you can do to help. However, Earth Day 2020’s clean-up was, and still is, a great way to make a positive impact by removing plastic waste which could otherwise end up in our oceans, damaging the wildlife ecosystem.

The term Plogging is a combination of the Swedish words plocka (to pick up) and jogga (to jog). This term, adopted by Earth Day 2020, emphasises a safe and responsible way of taking part in the clean up during our times of social distancing. By getting outside and doing a solo physical activity like jogging, you can really improve upon your physical and mental wellbeing. By picking up any litter you see in the process, you are simultaneously also improving the environment. Plogging can also be done anywhere outside – at a park, beach, woods, wherever a solo clean-up is needed most. If we all make small changes like this, we create a huge impact on cleaning up our planet, one piece of plastic at a time.

Create For The Earth

Being in lockdown during Earth day 2020 provided us all with the opportunity to create something special within the 24 Hours of Action.

Artists from all around the world took to paper to create personal pieces of artwork that heightened awareness of our environmental issues and inspired change. The use of putting brush to paper not only strengthened engagement with environmental action but also created a stress relieving project for the artists during our times of uncertainty.

You can find all of the Earth Day artwork on their gallery. Take a look and get inspired by paper to make your change for the earth.

Plant A Forest With The Canopy Project

The Canopy Project is an organisation that improves disadvantaged communities by planting trees. Since 2010, the Earth Day Network has been teaming up the Canopy Project to strengthen communities worldwide. Tens of millions of trees have been planted with The Canopy Project and this continued during Earth Day 2020.

By pledging $1 to the cause, 1 tree will be planted within a poorer community. This donation appeal was a great way of allowing people to be a part of the 24 Hours of Action while remaining safe indoors during Covid-19.

The Canopy Project focuses on planting productive tree species that can provide healthy and valuable food resources to the local areas. This ensures that the peoples’ health and livelihoods can thrive as each tree planted generates around $2.50 into the local economies.

Though the 50th anniversary of Earth Day had to adapt to the drastic changes brought on by of Covid-19, it did not see any less success than previous years. On Earth Day 2020 we remembered to take a look of our own impact on the planet and make small positive changes that can last our lifetime. Whether it’s making a small donation, picking up litter on a socially distancing jog, or creating inspiring artwork, this year’s Earth Day taught us all that no matter what, we have the power to make a change.