Millions of people across the world come together on 22nd April to celebrate our planet and raise awareness about the environmental problems it’s facing. 

Of course, it’s important to look after the planet at every opportunity. But because Earth Day is such a huge event in the calendar, we’re diving into its history and unravelling some popular ‘eco lingo’. The more we understand, the easier it is to have the right conversations and play our part.

When did Earth Day start?

It all began in 1970 with a US Senator named Gaylord Nelson. Pollution was becoming a big problem for America — as its cities grew, so did the waste from industries and factories.

Nelson saw the impact this was having, yet his peers weren’t doing anything about it. So, inspired by student anti-war protests, he called on the nation to get involved in the first ‘Earth Day’. He hired an activist called Denis Hayes to organise ‘teach-ins’ (non-violent, educational protests) at around 2,000 universities and colleges. They chose 22nd April because it was in the middle of Spring Break and final exams. And the turnout was amazing: 20 million people rallied together to demonstrate against environmental pollution.

This was helped by a last-minute name change. Instead of their original idea (‘The Environmental Teach-In’), they went with the much catchier ‘Earth Day’, which caught the attention of the media.

The protests prompted the government to create the United States Environmental Protection Agency later that year, along with the US Clean Air Act. This led to more acts being established and other countries making similar laws.

What is this year’s theme?

‘Invest in our planet’ is the theme for 2023 (continuing the theme of 2022). It’s a plea for everyone, from businesses to the 1 billion individual humans who celebrate Earth Day, to do their bit. We can invest in our planet by educating ourselves about climate change. Or by trying to reduce our carbon emissions. Companies may want to lead the way when it comes to investing in green innovation. And both businesses and individuals can invest in the community.

There are lots of ways to make a difference. From volunteering at food banks and supporting local charities to helping keep your streets litter free.

At D&G, we’ve been getting involved in projects like this through onHand. So for every good deed we log via their app, they plant a tree in a region threatened by deforestation. Since joining forces, we’ve completed over 1,300 missions, planted more than 35,000 trees saving almost 70 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

A guide to ‘eco lingo’

Speaking of CO2… we appreciate that the language used to describe environmental issues can get quite technical. If you’ve ever had to stop mid-scroll to Google a word, take comfort knowing we’ve all been there. Here’s a list of definitions for some of the most common terms:

How can I measure and reduce my carbon emissions?

Scope 1-3 emission calculations are used to work out an organisation’s carbon footprint. But you can use the World Wildlife Fund’s platform to calculate your personal carbon footprint. The Earth Day website also has tools to help you measure your foodprint so you can see the impact your diet has on the environment.

What can I do for Earth Day?

There’s no better day than Earth Day to pick up a new, planet-friendly habit. You could:

  • Take good care of your clothes and belongings (repairing them where possible)
  • Buy second-hand
  • Bring your own reusable bags and coffee cups when you go shopping
  • Walk or use public transport instead of driving
  • Recycle as much of your waste as you can (try to buy items with recyclable packaging)
  • Keep a closer eye on your fridge (so you’re not left with food that’s gone off)
  • Ensure your devices are switched off overnight
  • Experiment with vegetarian cooking (if you prefer a pescatarian diet, try to buy sustainably sourced fish)
  • Make sure your home is well insulated

You can also donate items you no longer need. This includes appliances! We’ve teamed up with the Reuse Network to help our customers do just that.

There are lots more ideas on the Earth Day website, along with activities you can join in with on the day, like the Great Global Clean-up.

We hope you have a great Earth Day and feel empowered to act. Perhaps you’ve got lots lined up? Or maybe you’re setting aside a few minutes to measure your carbon footprint? Either way, know you’re making a difference.

About the author

Charlotte Letch

Charlotte is a resident copywriter at Domestic & General. As well as popping up on the blog, she writes for several different channels across the business. Over the past 7 years, Charlotte has put pen to paper for insurers, jewellers and a homeware brand. Out of the office, she enjoys running, yoga and adding to her ever-growing tattoo collection.

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