As World Earth Day approaches, we look at the things we can all do to show a little empathy on behalf of our local environment and the wider world.
This year’s Earth Day 2022 has been described as a ‘code red for humanity’ in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), with scientists warning that ‘temperatures are set to rise beyond 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels this century (a scenario that would have catastrophic effects worldwide).’ This, combined with the generally disappointing and anticlimactic Cop26 agreement in Glasgow, is deepening the cracks we already knew were there.
It really feels like it’s up to us. The select few that accept our reality and want (and need) to do something, anything, to combat the challenge we face.
So, for Earth Day this year we thought we’d share a few ways you can look after your local environment and the wider world around you.
Pick it up (and side eye those who don’t)
It more than feels like littering is getting worse. SHOCK! It is. Over a third of adults in England (38%) have seen more litter near to where they live since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. I hope this trend reverses itself, but in the meantime I'm going to be picking up what I can, where I can, when I can.
Admittedly this isn’t the biggest change we can make. Nor is it going to solve the climate crisis, but it won’t hurt. Plus, it makes that morning stroll a hell of a lot prettier. If you’re really into it, sign up to a local litter picking group here. These communities have an image problem for sure, but anything with civic duty and responsibility at its heart gets my support. Facelift or not, get yourself into one of these groups and get picking! And maybe throw a little shade at those neglecting their local environment - you are a local hero after all!
Walk the walk
Walking around is there to fall in love with. It’s good for your soul and limits journeys that might otherwise be taken in fossil-fuel-mobiles (my new name for cars). Living in London, this is much easier for me and I try to walk everywhere. But wherever you are, if your destination is less than an hour by foot, take a slower scenic route and enjoy the peace of mind in guilt-free travel.
It’s also good exercise that helps tackle whatever problems or questions you're facing in life or at work. As Einstein once said, ‘If I had an hour to solve a problem I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions’. So take your own 55 minutes out of working from home or the office (if you’ve been dragged back), and refresh your creativity.
Find a podcast and zone out. Try this popular white noise podcast to help you find clarity.
Let minimalism in
We own too much stuff. Stuff we don’t use and clearly don’t need. All this ‘stuff’ comes from our nurtured desire to always want more. This isn’t our fault, it's something we’re taught from an early age through advertising and the behaviour of our parents and peers. But this cycle of buy, buy, buy actually clouds the ability to think uninterrupted, interfering with our comprehension of our true wants and needs.
Did you know that the average 10 year old owns 238 toys and yet plays with just 12 daily (Daily Telegraph)? Or that, over the course of our lives, we spend a total of 3,680 hours (153 days) searching for misplaced items? Of these items, we lose 9 everyday, which equates to 198,743 in a lifetime (Daily Mail). Think Phones, keys, sunglasses, and paper…
Having less, means less of an impact on the planet. Buy less, contribute more. It’s that simple. It means we can focus on making room for more. Embracing minimalism in your life, through big and small changes allows you more time, peace of mind and an enhanced space to think freely. From personal experience, it also helps reevaluate what you truly value in life, which is never a bad thing.
Matt D'Avella’s Youtube channel is a great place to start.
Try one (or all) of these and start with a small change today.