Earth Day 2016: Make a DifferenceWritten by Jenn Glinski
On the 22 April 1970, nearly 20 million Americans took to the streets to demonstrate.
It was not for peace or civil rights but for a concept that was very far removed from the American conscience at this period in time: the environment. 20 million Americans across the United States demanded a healthy and sustainable environment for themselves and future generations, and Earth day was born.
46 years later the environment is firmly on every political agenda, but progress is slow, if not stalled. We still face many of the same challenges as we did in 1970: high petrol consumption, air pollution, destruction of the rain forest and further endangerment of certain species. We also face exciting new challenges (sarcasm) like climate change, increased use of fossil fuels and fracking.
Earth Day placed the environment on the political agenda, but we have been slow to bring about real change and serious commitments to saving our mother earth.
This is why, after all these years, we still need Earth Day and why the Earth Day Network invites everyone all over the world to organise and participate in Earth Day events on 22 April every year.
It might be too late now to request an Earth Day Toolkit to mark this year’s occasion, but it’s something that you can start thinking about for next year (because hey, we’ll still be fighting for a clean, green environment next year!)
If you’re not organising a big Earth Day event, don’t worry: there are things which we can all incorporate into our day-to-day lives right now which will can make a HUGE difference.
- Eating less meat – yup, all those stories about cow farts contributing to greenhouse gas emissions is true!
- Stop using disposable plastics – seriously, just stop.
- Buying local produce – added bonus: fresher food is yummier.
- Composting – smelly but worth it.
- Recycle, recycle, recycle – so much more than just cans and bottles!
- Install energy meters in your house/flat – knowing is half the battle.
- Take 5 minute showers – it’s tough but it gets easier. Plus, more sleep!
Looking to mark the day in a special way (PLUS doing all the great things listed above)?
The Earth Day Network encourages us all to plant a tree to help absorb all those harmful excess CO2 from our atmosphere.
And/or get involved with the events that are being hosted across Scotland. Unfortunately, there are only four registered events this year; all the more reason for us girls to get together and add some events to the map for next year!
Like most days that exist to mark a special occasion, Earth Day exists to remind us that we should bear in mind the impact our actions have on our environment. However, participating in that one day won’t make a big difference in the long run.
It’s the little things we do, day in and day out, that will bring about lasting change.
If you’re uprooted (see what I did there?!) about missing out on hosting an event to commemorate this year’s Earth Day, you can get planning for next year and start incorporating daily habits that will help the planet now.
Jenn Glinski is a PhD researcher on violence against women at the University of Strathclyde and a women’s rights advocate. She has a LL.M. in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex and has been active in human rights for eight years. She has organised international conferences on maternal mortality, taught human rights at the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh, and co-authored the Harvard Initiative on Violence Against Women report on Scotland. Jenn, originally from Michigan, USA moved to Glasgow in 2011 and lives there with her fiancé and their black lab, Hector. Tweet her @jennski_27.