Earth Day 2024: Planet vs Plastic

Written by Poppy Stringer
April 19, 2024
6 min read

As Earth Day dawns us once again this month, it is not just a day for celebration but one for deep reflection and perhaps change. In 2024, as we mark the 54th anniversary of this global event, the need for environmental action has never been more apparent. Although we express these sentiments annually, the essential transformation required to curb global warming and mitigate extreme climate change has yet to fully materialise. While strides are undoubtedly being made in the right direction, Earth Day serves as not only a reminder of why we're undertaking these changes but also as an impetus for further action toward preserving our planet.

What is Earth Day and when did it start? 

It might be impossible to imagine a world where environmental concerns are not in the forefront of every business, government and organisations mind. But before 1970, there were no legal measurements in place which prevented businesses from acting in any which way they liked with no regard for the environment. However, under President Nixon, who took a particular interest in the environment this was changed. He created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970 and allowed Senator Gaylord Nelson to create Earth Day that same year.

It took place on April 22nd 1970 and inspired over 20 million Americans to take to the streets protesting the recent oil spills in Santa Barbara and the damage that 150 years of the industrial revolution had done to the planet. 

This day has continued to be celebrated in April every year since the 70’s with people from all walks of life coming together to advocate for a cleaner, healthier planet. 

Why is Earth Day important? 

Environmental Awareness: 

Earth Day serves as a powerful platform to raise awareness about pressing environmental issues, such as climate change, deforestation, pollution, and loss of biodiversity. It educates people about the threats facing our planet and encourages them to take action to address these challenges.

In 2024, whilst we are certainly a more climate conscious society, this does not mean the rate of climate change and global warming has slowed. In the summer of 23’ our world faced record breaking temperatures and it is predicted the temperatures will continue to rise in the next 5 years. 

Additionally, the frequency of natural disasters is increasing, as evidenced by events like the devastating fires in Maui last year, which inflicted widespread damage on the island. Many of these disasters can be attributed to the adverse conditions exacerbated by the climate crisis, leaving countries and regions vulnerable to extreme weather events and other environmental challenges.

Advocacy for Change: 

Earth Day mobilises individuals, communities, and organisations to advocate for policies and practices that promote environmental sustainability. It provides a collective voice for environmental activists and encourages civic engagement in support of environmental protection.

The Earth Day organisation has acquired over 75,000 partners since its conception 50 years ago, all working together to drive positive action. 

Global Cooperation: 

Earth Day is celebrated worldwide, fostering international cooperation and solidarity in addressing environmental issues. It brings people together across borders, cultures, and backgrounds to work towards common goals for the health and well-being of our planet. There are over 1 billion individuals who have participated in Earth Day since 1970 all committee to securing a healthy future for our planet. 

Long-Term Impact: 

Earth Day inspires long-term environmental action and commitment. While it is celebrated annually, its impact extends beyond a single day, catalysing ongoing efforts to protect and preserve our planet for future generations.

Earth Day 2024 

The theme for this years earth day is; 

“Planet Vs. Plastics” 

The Earth Day Organisation is dedicated to eliminating plastics for the betterment of human and planetary well-being. They aim to reduce all plastic production by 60% by 2040. 

Plastic pollution and production is a real problem particularly for our oceans, there is an estimated 171 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the ocean and it poses a grave threat to marine life, as it kills fish and sea animals and takes hundreds of years to break down into less harmful materials.

It also poses a grave threat on land, the primary component in the majority of plastics originates from crude oil and natural gas, both of which are fossil fuels. The process of extracting, refining, and manufacturing these fossil fuels into plastic results in significant emissions of greenhouse gasses, predominantly carbon dioxide. Additionally, most plastic is single use meaning it ends up in landfills and as it decomposes it releases toxins into the air and soil. One of the most commonly released gasses in the degeneration is methane and ethylene. Methane is a dangerous greenhouse gas as it has 28 times more warming potential than CO2 as its molecular structure means it traps more heat in the atmosphere than carbon.  

Therefore, it is crucial that we reduce plastic production and pollution hence it being the theme for this year. 

How you can get involved:

Register for an event

EARTHDAY.ORG offers a variety of events such as beach cleanups in a number of locations meaning that you can get hands on and make an impactful difference this year. 

Sign the global plastic treaty petition

You can sing the treaty here to help force the United Nations Government Organisations to commit to plastic reduction. 

Join the Earth Day Organisation

Click here to join the largest environmental movement, whilst this will help you navigate Earth Day 2024, it will also help you take action all year round. 

Join the SkootEco Community

We have been helping stop Ocean Plastic as part of our wider programme to support NGO’s helping make the world cleaner and greener and it’s easy to get involved.

Through our partnership with Plastic Bank SkootEco has collected over 100,000 plastic bottles and stopped them reachin the ocean. SkootEco’s plastic prevention climate projects take place in Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Philippines, Cameroon and Thailand. Our communities gather plastic waste from various sources, including beaches, riverbanks, and households, directly addressing ocean plastic pollution by preventing it from reaching the ocean in the first place. 

As a Business, you can sign your team up for SkootLife which plants trees and stops ocean plastic for as little as £2 a month.

Or add a small Eco-Contribution to every invoice to help support stopping ocean bound plastic. Whether you’re a restaurant, hotel, accounts, or marketing agency, it is as a simple process to help solve a complex issue.  

As Earth Day 2024 approaches, let's carry forward the spirit of unity and determination that this day embodies. Let's not just celebrate Earth Day once a year but let's make every day Earth Day – a day to honour, cherish, and protect the wondrous planet we call home. Together, let's rise to the challenge and build a brighter, greener future for all.

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Written by Poppy Stringer
April 19, 2024
6 min read