Earth Day 2022: Time for Change is Now

Today is Earth Day 2022, the theme this year is ‘Invest in our planet’ which is centred around finding solutions to combat the threat of climate change.

Top Contributors to Climate Change

Climate change is a problem that isn’t going away. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that we have until 2030 to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. According to the World Resources Institute the biggest contributors to climate change are burning fossil fuels, transportation (driving, flying), manufacturing and construction, agriculture, burning wood, cement and aluminium production, deforestation and landfills. The planet is getting hotter due to burning of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal as when these fossil fuels are burnt, they release carbon dioxide into the air. The level of carbon dioxide has risen by 40% during the 20th and 21st century. Therefore, we all need to consider how we use fossil fuels and how we can reduce our usage.

Fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal are causing huge implications on the planet. We need to reduce our usage and utilise other renewable sources such as solar and wind.

image of a person walking in nature in the wood and having to decide what path to go down

Making Positive Changes Across the World

Huge attention has been drawn to making a change now to preserve and protect our health, families, and our livelihoods. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that the biggest thing any individual can do to reduce their impact on the climate is to stop using gas powered vehicles. So, in New York this weekend there will be a Car Free Earth Day as reported by NYC Department of Transport commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez who started the initiative back in 2016. This has grown from the streets of Manhattan to now across more than 100 streets and 22 plazas in all five boroughs by April 2022. The impact of diesel and petrol cars on our environment is frightening . In 2019, France became the first country to phase out combustion engines through legislation, with the target year of 2040 set. In the UK, from 2025, the government have banned the sales of all new petrol, diesel and even hybrid vehicles. The government has pledged to spend £2 billion on meeting the target for net zero emissions by 2050. Likewise, in California, Gavin Newson, the state’s Democratic governor, has proposed a $22.5 billion climate change wish list to invest in electric transport to protect his people. Evidently, transport is playing a big role in the health of our planet. That’s why walking when you can has a positive impact on your health and our planet. Go check out our walking blog to see how you can increase your daily step count.

UK Businesses and Climate Change

At the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) event, Mr Sharma, the President for COP26, advocated that climate change has to be a joint endeavour between nations, societies and businesses. A recent study revealed that 66% of people feel businesses should do more to help customers reduce their impact on the environment. Likewise, 63% agreed that businesses should act now to mitigate their impact on the environment. These results highlight how customers are willing to walk away from brands which do not support the environment. Big stores are seeing a big increase in the sale of vegan food, for instance, Aldi saw a 500% spike in January 2022 sales with a whopping 629,351 people signing up for Veganuary and Ocado revealed a 34% increase in vegan sales compared to January 2021. In 2021, the sales of plant-based alternatives hit $7 billion according to data compiled for the trade group, Plant Based Food Associations, and an advocacy non-profit, The Good Food Institute.

Customers are making it clear they expect businesses to tackle climate change and buying decisions are being made based on  a company’s effort to make positive social and environmental change.

What can we do to Mitigate against Climate Change?

It can be so easy to feel helpless to the current environmental affairs and feel down and out of control. However, the power of one and what we do, can inspire and help all those around us. There are main things we can do individually and collectively to help to save our planet.  Here are some mini changes we can all adopt in our lives:

1. Get a Food Waste Bin

Over 30% of the food we produce is wasted, that is about 1.8 billion tonnes a year. If food waste was a country, it would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases after the USA and China. Getting a food waste bin can help reduce your impact on the planet. You can put tea bags, coffee granules, fruit and vegetable skins and leftovers in the bin. This is a simple and affordable step we can all take. Get in contact with your local council and they will be able to supply you with biodegradable food waste bags, or click here for a link to bags you can buy online.

2. Bring your own Reusable Coffee Cup

Across the world, we drink 1.6 billion cups of coffee every single day. In the UK, 1 in 5 of us visit a coffee shop a day and there are more than four times the amount of coffee shops today compared to 2000. Only 1 in 400 cups are recycled and the vast majority end up in the landfill. So, moral of the story, bring your own coffee cup wherever you go.

3. Meat Free Mondays (or breakfast and lunches?) 

According to a recent study, if each person in the US cut their meat consumption by 25% this would reduce the annual greenhouse gas emissions by 1%. If every nation followed this advice, this would have a massive impact on the environment. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change advocated that plant-based diets present a huge opportunity for mitigating against environmental damage. So, why not try eating no meat for breakfast and lunch? And perhaps switching to Oat or Soya milk? Here are some of our favourite brands leading the way on plant-based living with delicious recipes, educational pieces on plant-based living and so much more: Deliciously Ella, The Happy Pear, Minimalist Baker,  and Made by Blitz. 

image of the sun going down after a beautiful day

Our Top Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Companies:

  • An incredible brand is The Flavourists who have designed a range of delicious dishes. They are doing some great eco-friendly and sustainable movements as over 95% of their packaging can be recycled and their plastic trays are made of 100% recycled material. The Sticky Teriyaki is our particular favourite, they are stocked in Waitrose across the UK – go check them out!
  • As we mentioned earlier, over 30% of food goes to waste. In the UK, 3 million tonnes of fruit and vegetables go to waste. That’s why Odd Box has created a service which saves too ‘odd’ or perhaps too many fruit and vegetables being wasted. Each week (or when you like) you get delicious seasonal fruit and vegetables dropped to your door. Go check it out, it is such an amazing idea! 
  • Another great food saving, and plant-based company is All Plants who have created 100% plant-based meals which are tasty, easy and convenient. You can build your own box to be delivered weekly or whenever you’d like, there is a selection of balanced and tasty meals which are all sustainably made. Go check out their meals (especially their protein power bowl).
  • We understand going cold turkey (pardon the pun) from meat to a plant-based diet is difficult, that’s why there are companies such as the Ethical Butchers provide a range of meats whereby farmers honour natural systems and farm in ways that increase biodiversity and regenerate the land, having a positive impact on the British countryside. They use a proportion of their profits to help educate and train farmers on eco-friendly regenerative techniques. Go check them out and see the range they offer. 
  • Ecologi is a social enterprise and market leader in the climate action space who are on a mission to avoid 50% of global emissions by 2040. They provide innovative and progressive tools for people and businesses to act on climate: a subscription service to reverse climate change; a marketplace for climate solutions; and most recently real-time carbon footprinting for businesses. Go check them and see how you and your company can get involved!

At VISTA, we acknowledge our clients who drive sustainability and eco-friendly initiatives as part of their corporate agenda. We are so proud to see them continuously grow and adopt strategies to help the planet and their people. We can all invest in simple and affordable measures on a daily basis. Think small and start by picking one step every day to play your part. You are protecting the planet you live on and the future of the planet for generations to come.