In case you missed it, last Thursday 22nd April was Earth Day 2021, which marks the anniversary of the modern environmental movement in 1970, following the destruction caused by a large oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969.
Earth Day was a unified response to an environment under attack from pollution, and on April 22nd 1970, 20 million North Americans took to the streets in protest to raise awareness for human impact on the planet we call home.
Now, on the 51st anniversary of the original, Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action to change human behaviour and create global, national and local policy changes.
We are all now in a "decisive decade" for tackling climate change
This year's theme is ‘Restore Our Earth’, focussing on natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems.
And things are indeed getting very, very urgent as it is now universally acknowledged that we have the rest of this current decade to make significant changes to the way we consume energy.
Thankfully, we are seeing more and more focus and commitments from government, with the recently elected US President, Joe Biden not only re-signing the Paris Climate Change Agreement, but this week, going far beyond that to now commit to cutting US carbon emissions by 50-52% of 2005 levels by 2030.
POTUS told a virtual summit of 40 global leaders that we are all now in a "decisive decade" for tackling climate change and his commitment, which essentially doubles the US’s previous target, is a sign post and a challenge to other leaders to now follow.
Here is the UK, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson reference to ‘bunny hugging’ the UK is hastening its own climate reduction targets.
The government has announced that it is planning to cut carbon emissions by 78% by an end date of 2035.
Hitting that target requires a significant increase in low-carbon heating, renewable electricity, more electric cars and changing consumers eating and buying habits.
During the summit, Boris Johnson called the President’s announcement on how the US would cut greenhouse gas emissions "game-changing" and pointed on the need for to the world’s richest nations to come together and exceeding the $100bn commitment already made in 2009.
Later this year, the UK hosts the critical COP26 event in Glasgow, which will examine how countries have met the commitments they have already made and point to future steps that need to be taken.
A better future
For us at Mitsubishi Electric, the ‘Restore Our Earth’ theme aligns very well to our own Environmental Vision 2050: to 'Protect the air land and water with our hearts and our technologies to sustain a better future for all' http://cftb.me/3aS2z1G
I’m proud to say that I now offset my own carbon footprint through a company called 'Ecologi' who have produced this video with George the Poet called 'Seeds of Hope'.
Although quite short, it is very poignant and well worth a quick watch.
Jack Bain is a member of the sustainability team