Earth Day is an annual event that invites people from around the world to mobilize for the environment. Earth Day has taken place every April 22nd ever since 1970 and has continued to grow both as a yearly occasion and global movement, with 1 billion participants and over 75 thousand partners working to drive positive action. It is now recognized as the largest secular observance in the world!
There are many different ways to celebrate Earth Day, and we have a few ideas for what you can do to celebrate and honor it your own way.
This article walks you through the history behind Earth Day, why it’s so important, and how the tech and IT industry can do their bit for the planet on Earth Day and every day.
What is Earth Day?
Earth Day started in 1970. 8 years prior, in 1962, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was published. A book which many people pinpoint as the catalyst of the global climate movement because of the way it sparked an interest in environmentalism and the natural world. The first Earth Day gave this emerging movement a voice and articulated rising concerns around our impact on our shared planet.
Since then, the day itself and the movement behind it have flourished, becoming a global phenomenon. It is now the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement and works in over 192 countries to promote and spread climate action. It has become symbolic of the international climate action community and global environmentalism, and thus, the Paris Agreement was signed on Earth Day in 2016.
The organization’s mission is to ‘diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.’ It calls for transformational, systemic, cross-cultural, and cross-sectoral change which holds major stakeholders accountable whilst platforming bold, creative, and innovative solutions to the climate crisis.
How can IT and tech companies get involved in Earth Day?
Changing climates can affect us all, and with a little bit of effort, we can each make more sustainable choices.
According to BBC, the technology sector is responsible for between 3.5 and 4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The EU estimates that the ICT sector is responsible for 10% of all electricity consumption across Europe.
That being said, there are several powerful ways that employees, employers, and tech organizations can honor Earth Day:
Educate, platform, and start conversations
Don’t underestimate the power of educating your employees, running events in honor of Earth Day, and simply starting conversations around sustainability and the environmental impact of your company and the industry at large.
Reflect on your company’s environmental impact
Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to reflect on your own company’s environmental impact and what you can do about it. In a tech-specific context, you could consider:
Environmentally friendly workplace practices. Introduce proper recycling initiatives and eliminate single-use plastic from your office canteen, for example.
Reduce the number of emails you send. Did you know that just one email with an attachment is responsible for 50g of CO2? Ask your employees to reduce the amount of unnecessary emails they send, or to send links to cloud-based documents rather than attachments, for example.
Minimize business trips. If you endorse remote working and remote meetings as a company, this removes the need for your employees to travel by air (emission heavy) for business.
Use company devices for longer. Don’t replace perfectly functioning devices until they are truly obsolete. And where possible, try repairing instead of replacing.
Plan and implement your green transition. Reducing your reliance on fossil fuels and minimizing your emissions is inevitable. Act now to strategize how you’ll do so whilst continuing to grow your business.
Research and join green sector-specific initiatives. Climate action is more effective when done as a collective. Why not sign your company up to a green movement specific to the tech industry such as the Green Software Foundation?