Can you imagine deer wandering a subway station in Japan? What about mountain goats clogging the streets in Wales or wild turkeys roaming playgrounds in Oakland? All across the globe, these are the kinds of effects social distancing is having on nature.
Our worldwide efforts to stay home have helped slow the spread of COVID-19 – and they’ve also unexpectedly benefited the environment. If we can create such dramatic changes to our planet by staying home, what else could we achieve when we put our minds to it?
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The first Earth Day in 1970 rallied 20 million Americans (10% of the US population at the time!) to advocate for sustainable environmental practices. Those efforts led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. In 1990, Earth Day expanded its reach globally, inspiring 200 million people across 141 countries, leading to the world’s first global environmental summit in 1992.
Since that first Earth Day, we’ve seen an increase in recycling efforts, decreases in the amounts of air and water pollution allowed, restrictions on the carcinogenic output of cars and factories, and so many other positive changes.
But there are more challenges ahead. Without strong worldwide action, the global temperature is predicted to keep rising. Climate change threatens rising sea levels, more extreme weather, and food and water shortages that stand to especially hurt the most vulnerable among us. It’s up to each of us to do our part – not just for ourselves, but for those of us around the world who risk going hungry due to increased droughts, crop changes, and climate-related industry shifts.
The good news is that everyone can make a difference with their spending power. We can support brands focused on renewable energy and sustainable manufacturing. We can buy products with recyclable packaging. We can opt for clothes made of sustainable materials in safe conditions, and try to avoid fast fashion items that we’ll only wear a few times. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be perfect: millions of people doing their imperfect best to practice eco-friendly habits is better than just a handful of people doing a flawless job.
At TO THE MARKET, Earth Day stands as a reminder of so much of what’s important to us. We believe in working with sustainable factories and workplaces that protect employees while supporting the planet. We believe that everyone deserves clean air to breathe and safe water to drink, no matter where they were born or how much they make. Every day, we work to get our planet a step closer to that reality.
This Earth Day, remember that every little bit helps. Every choice we make is a new opportunity to make a difference for our planet. We can pave a better future, one step at a time.