Earth Day 2019: 10 000 Reasons to Protect Our Species (And How to Do That)

by | Apr 19, 2019 | Sustainable Living | 0 comments

Earth Day 2019Monday is Earth Day and the theme for 2019 is Protect Our Species.

Given the extinction crisis we’re facing, a day can seem a little like farting against thunder. (Sorry Sporty.)

She hates it when I use un-ladylike words on the blog.

Our planet is currently in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals — in the past half-billion years.

The last time things were this bad was when the the dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago.

Scientists estimate that we are now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the normal rate. (What they’re calling a global species decline is actually more of a plummet.)

In the past, mass extinctions were the result of unavoidable events (asteroid strikes, volcanic eruptions, and natural climate shifts, etc.), but this one is our own doing.

Humans have been around for 6 million years, but civilisation as we know it is only 6000 years old.

We’ve got the biggest brains, the ability to reason and we make up a puny 0.01 percent of all life on the planet

Despite this, we’ve made such a spectacular mess of things in such a short span of time that even the trees are trying to get away from us.

How utterly humiliating.

According to podcast host Josh Clark, the end of the world isn’t a given. He reckons we humans have a bright future ahead of us. Unless…

Here’s the caveat you were waiting for.

…the very thing that’s supposed to save us, accidentally wipes us out of existence instead. I’m going with the glass half full approach on this one. It’s just easier.

5 Things You Can Do for Earth Day 2019

It’s not all doom and gloom though. There’s plenty you can do right now to make a difference. The guys at Earth Day Network have a host of tips and things you can do to help you get started.

I know, super helpful.

I’ve included some of our favourites below, but be sure to check out the rest of them as well. Every bit counts, so don’t just discount these ideas out of hand. 

1. Take Action

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in the face of our current challenges, but take action anyway. You can’t do everything, but you can do something. Go do that. Now.

Pro Tip: Apathy and inertia got us into this mess, action and purpose will get us out. 

Watch: The Importance of Taking Action | Jack Canfield

2. Clean up Your Community

Taking part in a beach or river cleanup is rewarding and a great way to meet new people. If you’re not keen on mingling, just go and pick up trash on your own.

Pro Tip: Take a bag with you on your next hike and fill it as you go. Easy peasy.

Read: What I’ve Learned as a Volunteer Trash Collector

3. Plant a Tree

You can plant a tree yourself of get an organisation to plant one on your behalf. We get the guys at Greenpop to do our dirty work, but check with Google if there’s something in your ‘hood.

Pro Tip: Virtual trees make great gifts and you get to support your local tree NPO.

Read: Now Is the Time for Trees. Here’s How You Can Help

4. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

It’s easy to live in a bubble. One where our actions don’t seem that bad. But that’s what we’ve been doing and look where we are now. It’s time we held ourselves accountable.

The first step is to calculate your carbon footprint. From there, take steps to reduce it. This guide on How to Act On Climate Change has lots of useful tips.

Pro Tip: Not owning a car is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, you save money. 

Read: Life as a Car Free Family and How We Make It as a One-Car Family in the Suburbs

5. Compost Your Kitchen Scraps

Composting your kitchen scraps is relatively easy and it can be done even if you live in a studio apartment in the middle of the city.

The biggest barrier to entry is finding somewhere to drop them off. We’re fortunate to live close to the Oranjezicht City Farm, where they’re more than happy to take our old coffee grinds and banana peels off our hands.

Pro Tip: Use a compost accelerator to eliminate the possibility of ‘farm’ odours. 

Read: How To Compost: A Definitive Guide

Can We Fight Climate Change?

The suggestions mentioned above, along with all the other how to tips included in the articles I linked to, are all common sense. It’s not that we don’t know how, it’s that we’re not doing enough.

Or, in some cases, nothing at all.

In the face of everything that’s happening right now, it’s easy to throw our hands in the air and say our actions won’t make a difference. But I disagree. I believe it is possible to fight climate change as an individual and I’m not the only one.

Thank God, else I wouldn’t have an article to link to.

The article lists eight ways to fight climate change, with reducing your food waste coming in as the #1 solution. In second place is our personal favourite: eating a plant-rich diet.

Other suggestions include supporting local farmers and swapping to LED lights (if you haven’t already).

One last thing, you may want to rethink your online shopping habits.

What We’re Working to Save

Diet, poor consumer choices, supporting the wildlife trade, these are just some of the ways we’re driving extinction.

They’re all lifestyle choices and it’s up to us not to buy into them. Instead, we need to work toward a sustainable Earth-human relationship.

This Manifesto for Earth shows us how to do that.

[Watch] Our World’s Largest Rainforest: The Amazon

[Watch] Can We Reverse Biodiversity Loss?

[Watch] The Hidden Beauty of Pollination

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