Since its beginning in 1974, World Environment Day has developed into a global platform for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. These days can be brilliant vehicles to educate the public and push political will and resources to create change.
Millions of people have taken part over the years. This day is now celebrated in over 100 countries, and is helping drive change in consumption habits as well as in national and international environmental policy.
So here are some ways you can get involved this year, even from home!
Support global reforestation with Treedom
Treedom work to support reforestation around the world, allowing anyone to plant a tree remotely and follow the story of their impact online. Since 2010 they’ve planted over 1.7 million trees, supporting over 100,000 farmers across 17 countries including Kenya, Colombia, Guatemala, and Cameroon. They partner directly with farming communities: each tree thrives under the care of local smallholding farmers who are trained in sustainable land management and maintenance, with each tree bringing food security, income support and community power as well as environmental benefits like carbon sequestration, improved soil health and thriving biodiversity.
Treedom are celebrating World Environment Day this year with the launch of five limited edition trees to continue their mission of greening the planet and changing lives at the same time. Each tree has been chosen for its multiple benefits, showing how something as simple as a tree can make a tangible, lasting difference.
The limited edition trees include:
- Lime, planted in Guatemala in a project specifically designed to encourage women in agriculture.
- Coffee, planted in Ecuador, working to reduce poverty by producing fruit that will not only be used for personal consumption but can also be sold to certified distributors and at local markets.
- Avocado, which significantly contributes to a community’s food security by producing between 200-300 fruit per tree a year. Treedom’s avocado trees are grown in areas where they naturally thrive, without putting any undue stress on resources.
- Baobab, which are traditional gathering spots for local communities, providing a symbol of the importance of trees as well as the strength of nature and its role in our lives. The baobab’s size and longevity mean that it is also capable of capturing huge quantities of CO2.
- Tephrosia, planted in Madagascar. Treedom’s work in Madagascar focuses on empowerment, bringing quality education to local communities and offering training for individuals and small organisations. Their goal is to establish collaboration opportunities with both national and local partners, in order to bring more stability, education, and independence to the region.
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Take your money out of fossil fuels
Often our money can be invested into industries we would never actively support without us realising. Who we choose to bank with makes a huge difference, as banks often use our money to invest into both fossil fuels and the arms trade. Switching to an ethical bank is one of the easiest things you can do: it’s a one time action that has long lasting impacts for people and planet. As this behaviour grows increasingly popular, telling your provider why you’re leaving will also add extra pressure for industry change.
Plus, switching to a renewable energy provider in your own home can have a large difference too. We all have to pay for energy in our homes, the more of us that deliberately opt for this energy to come from renewable sources will push further decarbonisation and continue to make fossil fuels increasingly irrelevant.
Dress for the outdoors without harming the earth
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If you’ve got outdoor adventures planned this summer, chances are you may want the gear to do so. I’ve written on my general approach to sustainable shopping, some tips for thrifting and a recent clothing guide if it’s general activity-friendly clothing you want. However, if you’re in need of specific items, let me introduce you to a few things to consider.
If you’re planning on surfing, wild swimming, paddle boarding or something similar, have a think about your wetsuit materials. Patagonia was one of the first to remove neoprene from its materials, replacing it with Yulex, a more eco-friendly alternative that isn’t fossil-fuel derived. They made this material available to other brands and, as of 2021, all of UK-based Finisterre’s swim and surf collections will also use Yulex. Whatever your water-based needs, look out for this material when making purchasing choices.
You can also ditch the plastic and opt for sustainable sea options such as wooden bellyboards from Dick Pearce or regeneratively sourced wooden surfboards and paddleboards from Otter (both of these companies hand-make in Cornwall).
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If you’re interested in hiking, camping, or general outdoor adventure then Millican’s sustainable bags could be perfect for you. Designed from the heart of the Lake District, they create sustainable bags to last a lifetime for travellers across the world. With hiking bags, rucksacks and duffle bags galore, sizes range from 15L to 60L, equipping you for a day trip or long term adventure. All pieces are made from recycled plastic bottles, with external certifications from BlueSign and GRS, all dyes are Bluesign approved, and their factories are externally certified and audited to ensure a living wage, no sub-contracting and safe working conditions. Plus, they also offer repair services (if needed) and you can re-home any bag with them, as long as it’s in good condition.
Use the code UNICORN15 for a discount at checkout!
Join the Ecocide Movement
Implementing an Ecocide Law internationally will make any actions that cause serious loss, damage or destruction to ecosystems, climate, and culture, illegal. Rather than individual laws for each country, the Earth Protector movement is working to add Ecocide to the Rome Statute, which will make it an international law that applies to everyone. It’s simple to implement, as the small countries that are most affected by climate breakdown are able to put this law on the table. All it needs is public support and backing,
Sign Greenpeace’s petition to stop sending plastic waste abroad
The UK is the second biggest producer of plastic waste per person in the world, behind the USA. And the government is dumping it on other countries who can’t cope with it either. Every single day the UK sends 1.8 million kilograms of waste to other countries, that’s 688,000 tonnes a year of plastic that is fuelling health and wildlife emergencies around the world. Plastic kills hundreds of thousands of marine birds, sea mammals and turtles every year, but it’s harming people too.
Plastic being sent overseas is being dumped or burned in the open air, with local communities in Turkey and Malaysia reporting serious health problems such as respiratory issues, nosebleeds and headaches. Dumping plastic waste on other countries is literally fuelling a health emergency.
It’s illegal for the government to send plastic waste to countries if it’s not going to be recycled, but a new Greenpeace investigation has found more evidence of plastic waste being dumped in Turkey. Turkey receives over a third (38%) of all UK plastic waste exports.
The government must take responsibility, they must take proper action to reduce plastic pollution.
Support carbon capture technologies with Climeworks
In order to achieve global climate targets we need to not just reduce emissions, we need to actively remove CO2 from the air. Nature-based solutions are vital, but innovative technologies that also help without creating further risks are key too.
Climeworks direct air capture technology is one of the best examples. It’s already running across Europe, capturing CO2 from ambient air and either returning it to the earth, where it is stored safely for thousands of years, or upcycling it into products like bubbles in fizzy drinks. The technology runs exclusively on renewable energy while using a minimal amount of land and water, making them ideal for use in tandem with other solutions such as reforestation, rewilding and regenerating soil. With so much CO2 to capture, combining solutions like this helps us reach the ultimate goal as fast as possible!
To support this work you can purchase a Climeworks subscription (with prices starting as low as 7 EUR per month). This doesn’t just remove CO2, it’s also fully tracesable, as Climeworks will be able to exactly measure and tell the recipient how much CO2 has been removed in their name.
SPONSORED POST DISCLAIMER: this post contains some brands who I have paid relationships with (or have in the past), but they’re all brands I independently support and love. I would never recommend something I don’t believe in, all editorial decisions my own.