“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”—Margaret Mead
Earth Day is here, marking another year to bring awareness to the condition of our planet and encourage action to make it greener.
Today, the event is observed all over the world with individuals, organizations, and more inspired to work towards a more conscious planet. Through the decades it has been celebrated, it has grown into a widespread global movement so, today, we wanted to shed a little light on its history, what the focus of this year is and how you can participate (whether in big ways or small!)
Why was Earth Day created?
The day was first observed in 1970 in the USA and was brought about due to growing public awareness of the human impact on natural environments. In the decades before its celebration, a widespread industrial boom saw mass amounts of smoke and pollution being produced while Americans in their everyday lives were consuming large quantities of leaded gas used for automobiles - all with little to no thought as to how it would be affecting our Earth’s ecosystems.
However, this changed with the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962 and then, in January 1969, the public witnessed the ravages of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, that inspired the first Earth Day to come about.
“Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, urban dwellers and farmers, business and labor leaders. By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of other first of their kind environmental laws, including the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Air Act.” - earthday.org
Evidently, the day was a catalyst for change, and at present, it’s still a day we need to continue observing because our planet’s issues still exist. Most notably, the IPCC’s latest findings dictate how dire the global situation is: “It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F); without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible,” said Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.
And so, it’s important to keep up the good, green work and continue bringing millions around the world together to focus on one thing: creating a sustainable world for all.
It’s also important to note that the work should not solely fall to one day in the year. In fact, Earth Day (the organization itself) is responsible for a great number of campaigns that address a wide variety of climate issues throughout the year. This includes:
- Vote Earth
- Fashion for the Earth
- Women and the Green Economy (WAGE)
- Athletes for the Earth
- Campaign for Communities
- Faith and the Environment
- Artists for the Earth
- Green Cities and Local Governments
- Act on Climate Change
This year’s theme: Invest In Our Planet.
“We need to act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably). It’s going to take all of us. All in. Businesses, governments, and citizens — everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable. A partnership for the planet.” - earthday.org
This year calls for effective and immediate collective action!
It’s not enough that we live sustainably as individuals (although it is a great starting point), we need to come together and find solutions that will create lasting, systemic change, change that impacts our communities.
We need to get involved, encourage others to join in the movement, donate to sustainability-focused charities/NGOs, petition for better environmental policy, and more. You can click here for more tips on what you could do.
Why we also need to talk about Fashion’s environmental impact
Fashion is one of the main industries that contributes highly to climate issues.
In short, here are some key facts:
- Approximately 40 million tons of textile waste ends up in landfills or is incinerated - source.
- Approximately 20% of global water waste comes from fashion’s dyeing and finishing production processes - source.
- Fashion is responsible for one-fifth of global water pollution - source.
- Although notoriously difficult to consolidate, it is estimated that fashion is responsible for about 2 to 10% of global carbon emissions - source.
There are so many ways that the industry harms our planet and, although there is growing public awareness of how it does so with more conscious fashion ideals becoming mainstream such as thrifting and upcycling (we can thank recessions and a global pandemic for that), the industry itself still remains wholly unsustainable.
But we can still do something about it. Slow fashion - that being clothing that is made ethically and sustainably - can play a key part in a greener future. In fact, how we view and consider our clothing on a daily basis can create a lot of change in the industry, it’s all about building a connection to what you wear and you can do that by:
- Learning about how your piece was made
- Finding out who makes your piece (if that info is available)
- Being aware of the materials used to make the piece
- Understanding how the processes used to make the piece affects the world around us
By considering these notions every time you purchase a garment, brands will have to start meeting your conscious demands and, hopefully, we’ll start seeing a greater shift in the industry.
In saying that, there are plenty of slow fashion brands and NGOs that advocate for slow fashion that exist today, so we encourage you to support them as well as be loud and proud about it.
We hope you’ll be joining us in spreading awareness and taking some green action today for Earth Day, but do remember, it doesn’t end here! This event may just be a day but we’d like for everyone to consider everyday Earth Day like we in the SUI team do. By taking these steps daily and actively coming together to make change, we’ll get closer and closer to a more sustainable world.