Fifty-two years ago today, April 22, the first Earth Day was celebrated, following Senator Gaylord Nelson’s initiative and efforts in a world very different to the one we are living in now, but, still, with many of the same environmental challenges. The first Earth Day came as most people around the globe were oblivious to environmental problems; environmental legislation had yet to be conceived, drafted, passed, implemented, and climate change was a distant and mostly unknown threat.
In the decade leading up to the first Earth Day, Rachel Carson had published her (now famous) book Silent Spring, which drew attention on the negative effects of synthetic pesticides on the environment. Of course, the book spiked a lot of controversy and vehement opposition by companies in the chemical industry. Eventually, the Environment Protection Agency was formed in the US and a nationwide ban on DDT for agricultural use was introduced, which was soon after followed by Europe.
In the UK, the Clean Air Act was introduced in 1965 and the Deposit of Poisonous Waste Act in 1972 and only in 1990 did the EU countries introduce the Environmental Protection Act.
Fifty-one years forward, August 2021, the IPCC published its Working Group 1 report. UN Secretary General, António Guterres famously called the report a code red for humanity:
“The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse‑gas emissions from fossil-fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk. Global heating is affecting every region on Earth, with many of the changes becoming irreversible.
The internationally agreed threshold of 1.5°C is perilously close. We are at imminent risk of hitting 1.5°C in the near term. The only way to prevent exceeding this threshold is by urgently stepping up our efforts and pursuing the most ambitious path.”
This code red is not just a reminder, it is a call to action —swift action. It’s a resounding alarm pointing to our collective responsibility, as individuals and societies, across industries, sectors, governments and borders, to do our part, however big or small and to implement change rather than just talk about it or point to the problem.
Our work in Eevery has been largely inspired by this need for empowerment of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and part of our mission is to act as a means to this very important end. There are over 400 million SMEs globally and together they represent 90% of all companies and 50% of employment. At the same time, SMEs are responsible for more than 50% of business CO2 emissions in the United Kingdom. The collective actions of individual businesses can make an enormous contribution to the planet.
Today, on Earth Day, we take this opportunity with our colleagues to reflect on our mission, our values and our actions as individuals as well as a company. We welcome ideas for improvement and a more substantial contribution to this cause. If you would like to join us on this journey for a better future, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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