While Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22nd, the month of April is known as Earth Month, and the week preceding Earth Day is known as Earth Week. This year’s theme is “Invest In Our Planet,” which raises the question of how we can invest in our planet.
There’s a lot going on around here. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released two new report (WG 2 and WG 3) that has everyone talking. The reports discussed the urgent need to reduce global emissions and halt new investments in fossil fuels. Rather than listening to the science, Governments are busy approving new oil fields because to them, it’s business as usual. This is in the midst of a climate crisis, and only a few weeks after COP26.
Let’s look at ways you and I can invest in our planet, in keeping with this year’s theme.
Holding leaders and the so-called Oil Giants and Big Polluters accountable is one way you can play your part and invest.
Let’s go back to the year 2015.
In the Paris Agreement of 2015, World leaders committed to reduce emissions and limit global warming to “ideally 1.5 degrees Celsius.” We’re still talking about it seven years later, with little to show for it from our leaders – except new oil fields, of course. We must hold them accountable.
“Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels. Investing in new fossil fuels infrastructure is moral and economic madness.”António Guterres, UN Secretary-General
Oil tycoons like Shell and BP released their report early this year, and these folks made a lot of money in 2021 while damaging the environment and fuelling the climate crisis (thanks to the backing of our leaders).
Big Polluters like Coca-Cola and Nestlé haven’t left this group discussion. They are steadily contributing to the global problem of plastic pollution. Coca-Cola, for example, has remained among the world’s top polluter for four years in a row.
Legal action is one approach to hold governments and huge polluters accountable. Individuals and organizations have brought several legal actions against governments and corporations over the years. If necessary and possible, take on governments and big polluters. They must take responsibility for their inaction. It is critical to maintain a clean and healthy environment.
Protests and Strikes:
Protests and strikes are another way to invest in the environment. Protests and strikes are used to raise awareness and demand action. They’re usually well organized/planned, and non-voilent. We’ve seen how powerful they are and how they’ve influenced change over the years.
Individuals, groups, networks, organizations, and the like organize environmental protests and strikes that address a variety of environmental issues that require attention. We have a large number of them on ground such as the Fridays for Future (also known as School Strike for Climate) strike, and yes, we have our Scientists (over 1,000 of them) who recently took action and risked arrest in global protest on climate inaction.
These strikes and protests take place both on and off the streets, so if you can’t make it to the streets, you can still participate from the comfort of your own home. All you have to do is find one or two (near or far) and join in the strike or protest online using the appropriate hashtags.
Knowledge is power! Many people are unaware about climate change and the need to protect the environment in general. Some people have no idea what the current climate crisis means or how serious it is. Some believe it’s a “white people thing” or it’s just affecting a particular set or group of people. Talk about climate denial at its peak!
Environmental education can be a good way to invest in our planet. In its own sense, this is activism. You can take on the duty of educating others in your neighborhood, school, workplace, friends, and family. You can find a wealth of information on the internet to help. To do this, you don’t need a degree in environmental science or a similar discipline. You’re good to go as long as you care about the environment and grasp the science.
While you’re at it, keep up with the latest environmental news so you know what’s going on, where, and how you can assist. I recommend that you use social media. There are lots of environmental accounts you can follow to stay updated.
Campaigns and Petitions:
There are many campaigns and petitions out there addressing issues such as climate change, plastic pollution, environmental injustice, ocean conservation, tree planting, animal protection, and many others. Stop Cambo, Stop EACOP, and Paid to Pollute are examples of recent campaigns and petitions created to help raise awareness about environmental issues and fuel action.
Sign, promote, and share campaigns to petitions to reach a larger audience. If the media won’t cover them, talk about them. You too can start a petition and launch campaigns to raise awareness about environmental issues in your community.
Subscribing to newsletters on environmental websites and having petitions/campaign information delivered directly to your inbox is one method to stay up-to-date on the latest. I’ve been on the Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace email lists for long, and I’ve been receiving emails on recent campaigns/petitions and how I can help. I highly recommend. If you’re not into emails, you can use social media to follow some campaign accounts, activists, and organizations.
Our products, food, clothing, energy sources, packaging, and many more have negative environmental impacts. Animal agriculture is contributing to the climate crisis, fast fashion is destroying the world, we have a global plastic pollution problem, and fossil fuels of course.
Investing in sustainable alternatives can be a good way to help the environment. Think less meat, clean/renewable energy, recycling, slow fashion, plastic alternatives, the list goes on.
Several environmental organizations are in desperate need of funds, volunteers, and other forms of assistance in order to continue their efforts to safeguard the environment. You can donate to these organizations, volunteer, partner with them, or support in anyway you can. If you’re able, join them.
You can also support the work of local environmental groups, networks, and organizations. As an individual, you can organize beach clean-ups, tree planting events, and other activities in your community.
So, these are the ways you can invest in the planet. While some of these options may be out of reach for some of us, you can pick one or two and go for it. Remember to celebrate Earth Day every day.