Every year on April 22nd, people all over the world celebrate Earth Day. This special day serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting our planet and preserving it for future generations. Earth Day has been observed since 1970 and has grown into a global event with millions of people participating in various activities to promote environmental awareness and sustainability.
As a society, we face many challenges when it comes to protecting the environment—climate change, pollution, deforestation, and loss of biodiversity to name but a few. Earth Day is an opportunity to reflect on these challenges and take action to address them.
We will explore the significance of Earth Day, its history, and some of the ways that people and organizations around the world are working to protect our planet together in this blog post. We will also share tips and ideas for how you can get involved and make a positive impact in your community.
Our time on earth is brief, so let’s make the most of it (by moving on from this introduction already :P)!
Earth Day History and Significance
Earth Day as a recognized event dates back over half a century. The very first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, and it mobilized 20 million Americans to call for increased protections for our planet. Since then, Earth Day has grown to become a global celebration that is observed in over 190 countries with millions of people participating in various activities to raise awareness about environmental issues.
The idea for Earth Day was first proposed by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1969, after he witnessed the devastating effects of an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Senator Nelson saw an opportunity to use the growing public awareness of environmental issues to create a national teach-in about the environment. He enlisted the help of Denis Hayes, a young activist, to coordinate the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970.
The first Earth Day was a huge success—20 million eco-conscious Americans participated in rallies, marches, and other events across the country. The event helped to put environmental issues on the national agenda and led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of key environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
In the years since the first Earth Day, the event has continued to grow and evolve. Earth Day 1990 was the first global Earth Day, with 200 million people in 141 countries participating in events and activities to raise awareness about environmental issues. Today, it continues to be celebrated by millions of individuals worldwide.
The history of Earth Day is a story of activism, awareness-raising, and progress. From its humble beginnings in 1970 to its current status as a global event, Earth Day has played a crucial role in raising awareness about environmental issues and inspiring action to create a sustainable future for our planet.
Earth Day for Businesses
Over the years, companies and organizations have come up with various ways to celebrate Earth Day, ranging from grandiose gestures to more practical initiatives. Some have chosen to raise awareness with eye-catching events, like setting world records or constructing intricate sculptures made entirely of recycled materials. Meanwhile, others have taken a more grounded approach, organizing brown bag "Lunch and Learn" sessions and spearheading recycling drives.
A few organizations have also recognized the efforts of others in the sustainability space by creating a platform for them to share their vision and ideas. Actions speak louder than words, and several businesses have actively participated in environmental cleanups to celebrate Earth Day, such as the Creek to Bay Cleanup in San Diego County, which has been running for 20 years and will return this year (calling any readers who are able and eager to participate).
In addition, companies like Abbott have celebrated Earth Day by holding events for their employees and communities, demonstrating their commitment to creating a healthier world for future generations. Patagonia, another eco-conscious brand, has launched noteworthy campaigns in the past, such as their "Save Our Home Planet" mission.
It is worth highlighting that Earth Day 2023's theme is "Invest in Our Planet," a call to action for governments, institutions, businesses, and individuals to take responsibility for the planet's future. EARTHDAY.ORG, the global organizer of Earth Day, has announced this theme as a continuation of their successful 2022 campaign.
Earth Day 2023
Earth Day 2023’s theme of "Invest in Our Planet" aims to highlight the need to dedicate time, resources, and energy to solve the climate crisis. Many organizations have planned events and activities to mark the day and inspire people to take action.
EARTHDAY.ORG, the global organizer of Earth Day, has announced the theme for Earth Day 2023 and provided 52 ways to invest in our planet. The organization has also released an Earth Day 2023 Action Toolkit with step-by-step instructions on how to organize an Earth Day event such as a community cleanup, march, teach-in, or rally. They encourage organizers to register their events on the official Earth Day Map.
Local organizations are also taking part in Earth Day activities. For example, the University of Washington departments, organizations, and student groups who are working for sustainability are hosting two Earth Day fairs in April to showcase sustainability work and information on how people can get involved.
Individuals and communities can also get involved by finding Earth Day activities that align with their interests, skills, and resources. There are many ways to make a positive impact on the environment, and Earth Day 2023 presents a unique opportunity to take action. Volunteers can also participate in community service events to serve the Earth and highlight the theme of "invest in our planet".
When donating to environmental organizations this Earth Day, it is important to practice intersectionality and redistribute wealth to grassroots organizations that count on support to survive. Some recommended organizations include the Intersectional Environmentalist, Black Farmer Fund, Climate Justice Alliance, Sunrise Movement, Indigenous Environmental Network, and Honor The Earth.
Every Day is Earth Day
Here at Smart Shipping Supply, we don’t think waiting for a special day is necessary in order to invest in our planet, and you can tell from our actions that we mean (sustainable) business.
From the moment we realized we were complicit in the profit over planet approach so prominent in the packaging industry, we have taken and continue to take actionable steps to reduce our environmental impact and promote sustainability in everything we do.
First things first: we source GRS 4.0 certified post-consumer recycled content for all of our products. As a matter of fact, ours are the only poly mailers in the industry to be made from 100% post-consumer recycled materials, so you can feel good about using them knowing that not only are you not contributing to the ongoing waste problem, but you are giving recycled content a second chance at life.
But we don't stop there. We've also taken steps to reduce waste in our operations.
For example, we've optimized our use of materials by tweaking the sealing lip length on our mailers, folding them in half before bagging them, and packing more mailers per case to cut down on the number of boxes we use—not to mention all of our packaging is recyclable, and we even include instructions and a QR code on every SMART mailer to make it easy for you to recycle them when you're done.
We are serious about making a positive impact on the environment, which is why we purchase carbon offset credits certified by the Gold Standard or the Verified Carbon Standard. We've also partnered with Eden Reforestation Projects to plant a tree for every single order we receive - that's over 10,000 trees so far! And we're members of 1% for the Planet, which means we donate 1% of our annual sales to environmental organizations doing important work.
We're not perfect, but we're always striving to do better. We hope that by leading the way in sustainable shipping supply practices, we can inspire others to join us in making every day Earth Day.
If you have yet to celebrate Earth Day, this year provides an excellent opportunity for individuals, organizations, and entire communities to come together to make a positive impact on the environment and invest in our planet's future. Together, we can make a real difference and create a better world for all of us.
Until next time, shop smart and ship smart.