Every year on 22nd April, Earth Day reminds us of the importance of raising awareness about issues affecting our planet. This year, it comes in the wake of the IPCC’s latest report, which highlights the “dangerous and widespread disruption in nature” caused by climate change and the need for urgent action.
To mark Earth Day 2023, we asked our team of expert consultants to share their unique perspectives on the key issues facing the planet and what actions we can take. Read on to discover what they each had to say.
“The human race has emitted 2,400 billion tonnes of CO2 since 1850, when the industrial revolution really got going. This is probably a large and meaningless number until you realise two facts. From 2020 we have a budget of just 500 billion tonnes of CO2 left if we are to stay on the 1.5°C pathway and avoid the worst effects of climate change. And, at current emissions rates, this means we have about 12 years to stay on target. We need to act now and reduce our annual emissions by half by 2030.”
“Climate change is one of humanity’s biggest threats. For example, between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress. And up to 3 billion people are expected to be displaced by the effects of climate change. But humanity’s response can also be a huge opportunity. Think about improved water quality, biodiversity and new sustainable economies and jobs. Check out the actions you can take this Earth Day.”
“Getting your head around the potential impact of your business and its supply chain on the natural environment is challenging enough, but more people need to understand the intrinsic links between environmental destruction, climate change and human rights.
For example, consider how extreme weather and droughts can force people from their homes, destroying livelihoods, making them vulnerable and more likely to be exploited. The example of Blood Bricks in Cambodia really brings this concept to life. This earth day I would urge businesses to take a more holistic approach to tackling these issues.”
“To invest in our planet, you must invest in your organisation. This means thinking holistically across all three pillars of sustainability: investing in your impact on the environment; your governance processes and your people.
To be able to make a genuine impactful change you need to have a sustainability strategy – a framework that pulls together all the key things that you can do and what you should be aiming to achieve. Having a structured way of managing your commitments, and KPIs and tracking your targets is the only way to understand clearly how you and your organisation can properly invest in our planet.”
“Nature is important in its own right, but it is also essential for the processes that support all life on Earth, including humans. The natural environment provides benefits to us all through ecosystems. Public authorities in England have a duty to have regard to conserving biodiversity as part of their policy or decision-making. Conserving biodiversity can include restoring or enhancing a population or habitat. Read about the goals for improving the environment and conserving biodiversity here.”
“We need urgent, systemic change to combat the collapse of ecosystems and the harms caused by climate breakdown. This means we all need to advocate for the protection of nature, a rapid reduction in fossil fuel extraction, and a just transition. Earth Day is a good time to re-energise, talk to others, and make a commitment to action, but we need to take opportunities to build a better world every day, both at work and in our communities.”
“Perhaps one thing we should think about on Earth Day is the earth (or soil) under our feet. A quick internet search will reveal that “we’ve only got 60 harvests left” or that we are close to an “agricultural apocalypse”, and whilst these headlines are certainly attention-grabbing, they need to be considered with a pinch of salt.
However, it could be argued that we fail to give soil the respect it deserves. Systematic applications of pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers disrupt and in many cases destroy the range of natural processes, which if managed in the right way, can maintain soil fertility naturally. Large machinery periodically compacts and ploughs up soil, destroying soil structure and potentially exacerbating erosion. Soil is undoubtedly a sustainability issue which will be increasingly important in the future.”
Action Sustainability can provide strategic advice and tactical support on your company’s approach to climate change and our planet. For more information on how we can support you, please contact our team.
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