Earth Day 2021: a day to reflect on our environmental impact and educate ourselves on changes to be made
The following blog was written by Social Value UK’s Digital Marketing, Communications and Events Assistant, Maddy England. Social Value UK continues to show a commitment to accounting for social and environmental value, thus working to decrease environmental degradation and inequality.
Whilst the healthy biodiversity of our Earth is a celebrated demonstration of mother nature: an ever-increasing loss of biodiversity is a huge indicator of our failure to acknowledge the impact our decisions have on our delicate surroundings. Now, more than ever, it is vital that we work to prevent crimes against our planet such as pollution and deforestation to preserve the precious flora and fauna of Mother Earth.
This is especially relevant given the current COVID-19 pandemic. When the strictest lockdown restrictions were imposed back in March of 2020, it appeared at first that humanity was giving nature ‘a day off’. Images of wild animals in public spaces were shared on Twitter and daily global emissions were reported to have dropped by 17% in the first month. All due to reduction in travel, foot traffic and air pollution.
That being said, ironically, it is biodiversity loss and the destruction of animal habitats that plays a large role in the transmission of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19. As animals, such as bats, have had to adapt to living in closer quarters to humans, interspecies transmission becomes easier and global pandemics such as the one we are currently facing can escalate quickly. This has shown many of us the importance of looking after our planet and consequently our own health.
What we can do as individuals
Although it is widely believed that individual efforts towards environmental preservation are in vain, there are plenty of small decision-making changes we can incorporate within our daily lives that make a difference.
- Recycling where possible
- Being mindful of energy use
- Reducing consumption and waste
- Respecting green spaces
- Walking short distances instead of driving
- Donating to biodiversity protection organisations
Social Value UK recently hosted an EGGS Project Workshop webinar, which showcased a computer game designed to educate school aged children on topics such as food waste, recycling and sustainability. We believe that engaging young people in important topics such as these is so important to drive an environmentally focused decision-making, starting at home.
On a larger scale
Despite the deluge of bad environmental news, it is important to not lose hope. Lots has already happened in 2021 to aid progress; there has been a commitment to carbon cutting in many countries, renewable energy is cheaper and more accessible than ever before and businesses appear to be adopting more considered views on environmental impacts.
Recently Unilever reported that a third of people are now opting to buy from brands they believe are doing social and environmental good. This rising trend of sustainability in businesses and the interest in products they create or services they provide, is a positive and promising step forward for driving large scale environmental change.
More specifically to Social Value UK and what we do on a daily basis to combat environmental degradation – we are proud to support the #BetterBusinessAct. Alongside 250+ other organisations, we are committed to transforming the way we do business, so that all UK companies take ownership of their social and environmental impact. The Better Business Act will do this by campaigning for the government to amend Section 172 of the Companies Act, so as to make ALL businesses legally obligated to operate in a manner that benefits their stakeholders, workers, customers, communities and environment.
Greta Thunberg famously commented, “I believe that once we start behaving as if we were in an existential crisis, then we can avoid a climate and ecological breakdown. But the opportunity to do so will not last for long. We have to start today”. And we couldn’t agree more.
It cannot be stressed enough, the call for change is crucial and time dependent – we must act now, before irreversible effects are seen. Whilst it seems businesses and governments are consistently failing to meet their environmental targets, it is NOT yet too late to make a difference. We are presented here with and excellent opportunity to hone in on our goals and ensure that social and environmental factors are considered first and foremost!
We at Social Value UK celebrate our socially and environmentally conscientious network and champion a shift in accounting for this, over outdated measures of value. When businesses place a focus on society and the environment, we see meaningful, positive changes in the world. There is no financial value that is worthy of damage to our wonderful Mother Earth: there is no Planet B.