How to Make a Difference on Earth Day
Our planet Earth, is unique in the universe as the only known host of life (some would disagree!). As the saying goes, “The earth is what we all have in common,” and it is our responsibility to take care of it.
Protecting and preserving our planet is of utmost importance for us to lead healthy, safe, peaceful, and happy lives.
Earth has provided us with everything we need in abundance, much like a mother does for her children. Now, we must reciprocate and save mother earth.
This is why we celebrate Earth Day every year, happening next week on April 22, 2023. Let’s explore how Earth Day came to be and how we can address the unimaginable destruction that our planet faces.
Earth Day – History and Purpose
On April 22nd, 1970, the first-ever Earth Day was celebrated, initiated by Gaylord Nelson, the U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. He was the mastermind behind this noble act.
The cause for Earth Day was the hazardous disaster that occurred on 28th January 1969, when a well drilled off the coast of Santa Barbara caused more than 3 million gallons of oil to leak into the ocean, damaging animals, birds, and mainly aquatic life.
The disaster prompted Senator Gaylord Nelson to act swiftly. He created a mass movement and convinced the US government that our planet was at risk and immediate action was needed.
He promptly organized an environmental teach-in and recruited Dennis Hayes to coordinate events. It was Hayes who coined the term “Earth Day” for this massive movement.
In January 1970, rallies and events were hosted throughout the nation, resulting in more than 20 million people from various communities, schools, and colleges participating and making it a grand success.
Later that year, in December, the U.S. government responded to these actions by setting up a regulatory body to govern all issues relating to the environment.
Thus the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established, and they later enforced the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and others.
Ten years later, in 1990, almost 141 countries joined and participated in the movement. Presently, 193 countries have joined this movement to save our planet.
The prime purpose of celebrating Earth Day is to create awareness about the need to protect our planet for future generations.
It helps raise concern over upcoming issues and threats that haunt our planet and promotes change by creating environmental literacy and addressing major issues like pollution, climate change, deforestation, mass extinction of biodiversity, and depletion of natural resources.
This worldwide phenomenon aims to promote clean and healthy living and a sustainable habitat for all kinds of species.
Celebrating this unique day reminds us that we can protect our planet in our daily lives as well. A small change brought by an individual can create a big difference in attaining our goal.
Since the First Earth Day; How Has the Planet Changed over the Last 53 Years?
The earth has changed a lot in the last 53 years. Let’s see to what extent it has changed since the inauguration of the first Earth Day in 1969.
It is evident that our planet is experiencing an unprecedented rate of global warming, and the primary cause of this is human activity.
Mahatma Gandhi once said that “the world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”
However, many families now own two or three cars, believing that material possessions equate to prosperity, contributing to environmental degradation by increasing the demand for fossil fuels.
We extract crude oil from our natural resources, refine it for gasoline and petroleum, mine coal for electricity, and extract natural gas for heating to improve our comfort and convenience.
Unfortunately, this has led to a sharp increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In the past 53 years, the concentration of carbon dioxide has doubled that of the previous 50 years.
Our actions have led to global warming, which has already increased the temperature by 1-1.5 degrees Celsius since the pre-industrial era.
World leaders pledged to limit warming to 1 degree Celsius in 2015, with experts recommending an even more ambitious target of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
However, actions to reduce carbon emissions have fallen short, and we are still far from meeting the goals set in the Paris Climate Accord.
As a result of global warming, our oceans are getting warmer as much of the increase gets absorbed by them. This has warmed up the ocean by 0.33 degrees Celsius since 1969.
The ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are rapidly decreasing in mass. NASA’s climate change experiment data shows that Greenland has lost an average of 279 billion tons of ice a year, and Antarctica has lost almost 148 billion tons of ice per year.
Glaciers all over the world, including The Alps, The Himalayas, and The Andes, are retreating. The snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has also decreased over the past five decades, as revealed by satellite observations.
All these factors, in turn, have raised the global sea level by 8 inches in the last century alone, and it is still accelerating every year. Extreme events such as intense rainfall, hurricanes, droughts, and floods are occurring more frequently. We have directly felt this impact at our Mushie headquarters in Florida over the past few years. Just THIS week 25 inches of rainfall came down in Fort Lauderdale over two days, causing massive flooding and an airport shutdown. The chance of this occurring was a 1-in-1,000 year event or more!
Air pollution is a significant threat to human health and the environment. Indoor and outdoor air pollution have both caused damage to our planet, with pollution levels skyrocketing over the past 50 years.
Indoor air pollution results from burning fuels such as firewood and cow dung for cooking and heating, which has been the primary factor contributing to premature deaths. However, this has reduced substantially in recent years.
Outdoor air pollution, on the other hand, is caused by toxic pollutants released by industries and factories, as well as emissions from vehicles.
This pollution is responsible for 7.8% of global deaths, with industrialization being the main cause. Middle-income countries often experience high death rates due to this pollution.
The resulting smog, a combination of smoke and fog, has covered our skies, increasing the risk of various diseases like stroke, pneumonia, and cancer, among others.
The Clean Air Act of 1970 has been instrumental in regulating emissions from factories and vehicles. The regulations have led to a significant decrease in the major pollutants, including nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and lead. However, the damage caused by air pollution is irreversible.
Water, known as the source of life on Earth, is becoming increasingly contaminated due to human activities, endangering our existence.
The Clean Water Act of 1972 was introduced after the 1969 Cuyahoga River incident, where industrial waste caused the river to catch fire, highlighting the need for political action.
Since then, testing of rivers and public water supplies, and monitoring of industrial waste have been implemented. However, despite these efforts, contamination of rivers and reservoirs persists.
High levels of bacteria and viruses render the water unfit for consumption and harm marine life. The main culprits, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and phosphorus contribute to cancer and algal blooms. Despite close monitoring of these pollutants, the issue of water contamination remains unresolved. We fully trust our local friends in Vero Beach, Florida at Ohana Water Systems to help make a difference. They are a family-owned company and leader in water quality and standards throughout the United States - creating the highest quality drinkable alkaline water filtration system on the market!
Over the past 53 years, countries across the globe have witnessed a significant surge in waste production due to the rapid increase in population.
Moreover, the nature of waste generated has also transformed, with hazardous plastic waste constituting a major portion that takes an extended period to decompose.
Despite the growing awareness about recycling and composting, a considerable amount of waste still ends up in landfills.
While statistics indicate a marginal reduction in the amount of waste dumped - from 145.3 million tons to 139.6 million tons in 2017 – the damage caused to the environment remains alarmingly high. Much remains to be done to achieve our goals.
Dangerous of Plastic and What Can We Do to Solve Them?
The word ‘Plastic’ originated from the Greek word ‘Plastikos’, meaning to mold. It is a material that contains Polymers and is manufactured from chemicals obtained from crude oil and gases.
Unfortunately, the invention of plastic, which was once considered a blessing, has turned out to be a curse.
We now live in a plastic era where plastic is used widely due to its lightweight, low cost, easy disposal, malleability, durability, and water resistance. However, the dangers of plastic are significant:
- Plastic is non-renewable and non-biodegradable.
- Plastic is highly toxic and produces toxic fumes when burnt.
- Plastic chokes drains and pollutes water bodies.
- Recycling plastic is difficult and expensive.
- Overuse of plastic may lead to cancer in humans.
- Animals and birds can choke and die from consuming plastic.
We, humans, need to take immediate action to solve this problem. Some of the actions we can take are:
- Reusing plastic bags and containers as many times as possible to reduce the number of bags used.
- Always carrying a cloth or paper bag while shopping.
- Segregating wet and dry waste separately and recycling the thermoplastics.
- Avoiding buying eatables sold in plastic jars and containers.
- Saving crude oil by managing the use of plastics.
- Always following RRR-Reduce Reuse Recycle. Reduce the use of plastic, reuse good quality and durable plastic, and recycle all thermoplastics.
The younger generation is increasingly conscious of the harmful impact of plastic and its waste. As a result, startups around the world are emerging to produce bags, containers, and plates using sustainable materials like mushrooms, bamboo, and sugarcane dust. We wrote a previous blog post on how Mushrooms can Save the World with actions like this.
As a society, we must also take responsibility for reducing plastic use by supporting plastic-free businesses whenever and wherever possible. At Mush More Co, we knew we wanted to do more than just deliver great tasting, healthy mushroom products to you. We want to give back to Mother Earth who so generously provides us with these incredible organic adaptogens.
For every bottle sold, a SeaTree gets planted. Mangroves can store up to 10x more carbon than our rainforests! Plus, you are supporting a 100% plastic-free company. Shrooms with a purpose! Because we all feel we can do “mush” more for ourselves and our planet.
10 Pledges to Take on Earth Day 2023
As Earth Day 2023 approaches, we’re reminded of the urgent need to take action to heal our planet. Here are ten pledges that you can take to reduce your impact on the environment:
- Plant a tree: Trees play a vital role in keeping our planet healthy and sustainable. By planting trees, we can improve air quality, reduce pollution, and prevent erosion. One bottle sold of Mushie Organic Super Mushroom Gummies plants one SeaTree!
- Ditch your car: Instead of driving everywhere, try walking or biking for short trips. This will reduce your carbon footprint and help keep the air clean. If you need to travel further, consider taking public transportation or carpooling with others.
- Use reusable bags: Every time you shop, bring along a reusable cloth or plastic bag. This simple step can help reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills.
- Go paperless: Opt for paperless transactions whenever possible, and unsubscribe from unnecessary catalogs and mailings.
- Buy used items: Before buying something new, consider whether you could find a used item that meets your needs. This reduces waste and helps conserve resources.
- Shop locally: Support your community and reduce the carbon footprint of your food by shopping at a local farmers market.
- Choose sustainable clothing: Look for clothing made from eco-friendly materials and recycled fibers to reduce the environmental impact of fashion.
- Participate in a local clean-up: Join a local group to clean up your neighborhood, park, or beach. With a collective effort, you can make a big impact and even help restore local ecosystems.
- Support environmental organizations: Consider donating to or volunteering with organizations that protect wildlife and work to reduce pollution. We partnered with 1% for the Planet and are committed to donating at least 1% of our annual sales to SeaTrees, an organization that supports ocean reforestation.
- Compost your food waste: Instead of throwing away vegetable scraps, fruit peels, and eggshells, start composting them. This creates nutrient-rich soil for your garden and reduces methane emissions from landfills.
By taking these ten pledges, you can make a meaningful difference for our planet on Earth Day 2023 and beyond.
“If not Earth, then where? If not you, then who? If not now, then when?”
Ours is the only planet that hosts life hence it is of utmost importance to protect and revive our dying planet. Everyone has a role to play here: the world, nations, cities, companies, and YOU!
Each and every small act by an individual will make a huge difference. What will the future Earth Days look like? Together, we decide.
Eat Mushies. Plant a SeaTree. Save the Seas.
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