It’s not too late to save the Earth. Today marks the 51st Earth Day since the movement began in 1970; more than half a century of climate action from millions of people. This Earth Day comes with a stark warning and a small glimmer of hope.
CO2 emissions have risen by 60% since the 1992 Earth Summit, a number that threatens irrevocable damage to the Earth in as little as ten years. While a wealth of the blame sits on the shoulders of the massive corporations contributing to plastic pollution, going green is something every company — and person — can do. Here are five of the easiest ways to start.
Donate to a cause
There’s no shortage of worthy charities, organizations, and non-profits to fund a better Earth. Start by finding your cause. What you’re passionate about? What would you like to see last forever? A great place to begin is the rainforest. Deemed by Vox as one of the six best “high-impact, cost-effective, evidence-based organizations” fighting climate change, The Coalition for Rainforest Nations is an intergovernmental organization that developed a mechanism called the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) mechanism that ensures payment to countries for actively preventing deforestation.
Embrace reusable packaging
When it comes to ditching single-use plastics and other harmful trends, more and more companies are embracing eco-friendly materials while shifting their messaging and culture toward a green spectrum. Old Navy recently released a denim collection made with natural dye extracted from the soil that uses 59% less water than conventional dyes. SodaStream partnered with PangeaSeed Foundation to release limited “Art for Action” bottles aimed at helping consumers reduce their single-use plastic consumption.
Meanwhile, companies like Blueland and Grove Collaborative are breaking the rules of home essentials by supplying customers with eco-friendly products while eliminating unnecessary waste.
Embrace nature when you can by traveling responsibly; bike instead of driving, spring for a train ticket that takes you on a scenic route through the country, and always leave your campsite the way you found it. This may not seem like much, but it adds up. TripZero founder, Eric Zimmerman, genuinely believed he was living greener than the rest of his peers until he looked at the way he traveled. By 2050, global aviation will generate 43 metric gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions if we keep flying at the rate we are now. TripZero calculates the footprint of your trip (by factoring in your flight, hotel, and rental car)and offsets it with renewable energy and reforestation programs.
Eat less meat
Guess what produces more greenhouse gases than cars, planes, trains, and ships combined. The livestock industry. If Americans embraced a “flexitarian diet” (i.e. eating something like two small servings of meat per week) we could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 56 percent. As it so happens, we’re in the middle of a plant-based renaissance led by companies like Impossible Foods, Good Catch, and Ripple that use ingredients like pea protein, chickpea flour, and potato protein to make burger-less burgers, milk-less milk, and crab-free crabcakes. Reduce greenhouse gases while eating your favorite foods; win-win! If you want to see some awesome statistics on how much plastic and water is saved producing Ripple milk vs. dairy milk, check out The Ripple Effect.
As defined by the USDA, composting “turns household wastes into valuable fertilizer and soil organic matter.” Why is this important? Good question. Composting speeds up the natural decay of organic materials by allowing detritus-eating organisms to thrive, thus producing nutrient-rich soil that supports ample life. Pela holds the title of producing the world’s first compostable phone cases and is also in the middle of funding Lomi — a home composting unit that breaks down waste, creates compost, and decomposes bioplastics.
By Jeremy Glass, April 22, 2021