This year, Earth Day’s 50th celebration falls on April 22nd. By celebrating Earth Day, a response to earth’s growing environmental crisis, the world continues to learn how to preserve the planet we all call home. One important step in preserving the planet is making responsible decisions on the activities we participate in and the items we consume. Large and small businesses have found ways to adhere to pollution regulations and adopt eco-friendly ways in the workspace to support the earth. In this Astronology®, we will discuss six ideas your organization can use to support Earth Day, regardless if your workspace is a traditional office setting or working remote by choice or by necessity due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Why Make the Effort to Support Earth Day at Work?
Without going into a deep dive on the scary possibilities for the earth due to climate change now and in the future, two quotes may help us to understand why it is important to celebrate Earth Day this year. In a January 2020 Forbes online article, the Earth Day Network, the coordinators for Earth Day activities throughout the year, tell us that “The urgency has never been greater, and the stakes have never been higher. We are now in an environmental emergency and a climate breakdown.” Earth Day Network President Kathleen Rogers expressed in an EcoWatch online article this month, “Our current pandemic demonstrates that governments must embrace science early. As we see now, many governments were slow to respond or even indifferent about the science of the coronavirus pandemic. But the last few weeks have also demonstrated that our society, even at the international level, is capable of mass shifts across all sectors to meet a crisis head-on. We must apply the same scale and urgency of our response to climate change.”
Ideas for Celebrating Earth Day at Work — Even if We are Remote
The current COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a majority of employers adopting a remote work environment. This means we may have to be creative in finding ways to help the earth while we also help each other by social distancing. The ideas listed below could be used in office or could be adapted for out of office work.
- Host an Expert: Take advantage of local clean living / eco-friendly organizations nearby. Request someone to come to the office or hold a teleconference to speak about ways each employee can do his / her part to help the environment. For instance, you can reach out to your local recycling plant to learn about what items in the office / home are not recyclable, and alternatives to those items. A resource to find other local organizations is Volunteer March.
- Digital Earth Day: Although done in previous years, but especially under our current circumstances, a lot of organizations are choosing to host on-line Earth Day events. Preparing an email / newsletter for your employees with some of these remote activities may prove to be motivating. While the official Earth Day website has a listing for local digital Earth Day events here https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2020/#map, Eventbrite also has many free Earth Day celebrations available https://www.eventbrite.com/d/online/online-earth-day/ .
- Hands on Activities: “Hands-on activities bring theory to life” states an article from tsheets.com. To help your employees see that they can have a hand in preserving the earth with their day to day activities, host practical contests:
- Who can effectively reduce their home energy by having home energy audits?
- Who can create the best business strategy for reducing the company’s carbon footprint?
- Who can recycle the most items in the office (and / or home office) over a one- or two-month time period?
- Participate in the 22-day Earth Day Challenge
- Earth Day Lunch Break: If possible, employers also can provide an eco-friendly lunch break remotely. Using on-line food delivery services such as UberEats or Grubhub will allow organizations to find more eco-friendly local restaurants that offer vegetarian, all vegan, and even compostable catering & delivery. Companies also can give digital vouchers to employees to order and have food delivered from their local area. You can then organize a lunch break via video conferencing with staff to talk about their Earth Day lunch choices!
- Earth Day Book Club: Pointing your employees to books and other useful references to learn more about everyone’s personal impact to the environment can be a fun, resourceful way to celebrate Earth Day. Some recommendations include:
- “Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage” by Heather Rogers
- “The Backyard Beekeeper, 4th Edition: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden” by Kim Flottum
- “The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World” by Jeff Goodel
- “101 Ways to Go Zero Waste” by Kathryn Kellogg
- “Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash” by Edward Humes
- “Let it Rot!” The Gardner’s Guide to Composting” by Stu Campbell
- “Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade” by Adam Minter
- “Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste” by Bea Johnson
- “Junk Raft: An Ocean Voyage and a Rising Tide of Activism to Fight Plastic Pollution” by Marcus Eriksen
- “Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change” by Elizabeth Kolbert
Gifting these books digitally to your employees also can be an additional way to increase eco-literacy.
- Fundraising / Volunteering: Finding a local eco-friendly organization to support can be a motivating tool for the whole organization to celebrate Earth Day. This can include monetary donations on behalf of your employees or even designing a future day for employees to volunteer. Some organizations that can use volunteers include
Does your organization traditionally celebrate Earth Day? Will you in 2020? What are the ways you plan to celebrate the day remotely? Please share your thoughts below in our comment box!