Earth Day: what it is, 5 initiatives, and 5 marketing campaigns
Protecting planet Earth has become one of the main challenges for humanity, at a time when climate change, pollution and the destruction of natural resources threaten our existence and that of future generations.
In this context, Earth Day is a key moment to remember the importance of adopting a responsible and sustainable behaviour, and to promote concrete measures to preserve the environment.
When was Earth Day born and why?
The first environmental movements that paved the way for today's Earth Day took place in the United States during the 1960s. Rachel Carson's publication of "Silent Spring" in 1962 played a fundamental role in raising awareness among US citizens about environmental issues.
From then on, the movements for sustainability began to gain more and more political visibility until 1969, the year in which Senator Gaylord Nelson, shocked by an oil disaster in California, decided to start mobilising people towards a greener world.
In 1970, Earth Day was officially born in the United States. 22nd April was chosen as the date, which falls between Spring Break and finals, to encourage large student participation.
In 1990, Earth Day was transformed into World Earth Day, promoting on a global scale initiatives and activities to raise awareness on environmental protection.
Earth Day: date
Earth Day falls every year on the 22nd of April. This date is shared globally.
11 environmental statistics for a more informed Earth Day
Why do we need to take care of the planet? What are the risks in the short, medium and long term? Here are some statistics to help you live World Earth Day (and the rest of the year) in a more responsible way.
- About 91% of the world's population lives in places where the air quality is bad. Every year there are approximately 7 million premature deaths due to continuous exposure to pollutants [Source: OMS]
- Every year we waste 1,3 billion tonnes of food. It represents around 30% of global food production. [Source: FAO]
- To achieve zero emissions by 2050 and thus avoid a further rise in temperatures, CO2 emissions must be reduced by 1.4 GtCO2 per year [Source: Global Carbon Budget Report 2022]
- 171 trillion plastic fragments float on the surface of the oceans, totalling 2.3 million tonnes [Source: 5 Gyres]
- Approximately 25% of CO2 emissions in Europe are attributable to the transport sector. Of these, 71.7% are produced by road transport in particular [Source: Agenzia Europea dell'Ambiente]
- Italy has one of the oldest road fleets in Europe with an average age of 11.3 years [Source: GiPA]
- Approximately one third of the total carbon dioxide emissions in 2021 came from China, totalling 11472 MtCO2 out of 37124 [Source: Global Carbon Atlas]
- In 2020, 56% of wastewater was properly treated. An advance over 2015, when only 32% received treatment of some kind [Source: Nazioni Unite]
- Electric trucks can generate up to 80 per cent fewer emissions than diesel vehicles [Source: Acea]
- Forests absorb 2.6 billion tonnes of CO2 each year. The greatest threat is deforestation, which proceeds at an average rate of 10 million hectares per year [Source: FAO]
- Phytoplankton in our oceans absorbs 25% of CO2 emissions each year. This, however, is causing the acidification of the waters, endangering the entire marine ecosystem and the life of its fauna [Source: World Economic Forum]
3 Earth Day campaigns you should discover
Lavazza + Pantone = The Vanishing Color
For Earth Day 2021, Lavazza and Pantone worked on the theme of deforestation. The concept of the campaign is the creation of an iconically recognisable green as "forest green" very explicitly called "The Vanishing Color".
An impactful campaign launched with the support of We Are Social to raise awareness on deforestation..
#SwitchToGreen - Vodafone and smartphone life extension
The #SwitchToGreen campaign aims to give consumers tips on how to use their smartphones more consciously and sustainably. From dark mode to using Wi-Fi instead of the data network, to extending the life of a phone through a series of tricks.
According to statistics shared, in fact, extending the life of a smartphone by one year would lead to a 29% reduction in CO2 emissions.
Among the tips shared in the press release:
- Using dark mode
- Use of Android features to preserve battery deterioration
- Proper recycling of old phones
- Purchase of refurbished phones
- Evaluating the eco rating when buying a new smartphone.
YouTube NFP - Non Fungible Planet - 2022 campaign
In 2022, YouTube partnered up with a group of globally-known content creators and videomakers to allow people to discover the beauty of Planet Earth.
From scientific content to daily vlogs, the NFP project is made up of 16 videos available in this playlist.
Google's 2022 Doodle - the impact of climate change
Google has become quite famous for its doodles. On Earth Day 2022, the company decided to showcase the impact of climate change on the enviroment through a series of GIF doodles.
Icebergs melting, oceanic fauna desappearing... these are just some of the devastating effects that the constant increase of temperatures is having on our planet.
5 initiatives for the environment to carry on all year round
Adopting sustainable office policies
We all know the best practices by now, although few put them into practice:
- Limit the use of heating and air conditioning
- Separate waste collection
- Reduce the use of plastic
- Doing regular maintenance on installations
- Encourage the use of public transport to reach the facility
- Use of low-energy light bulbs
- Automated systems for switching lights on and off to avoid waste
- Investing in good room insulation
- Encourage the reuse of personal items among employees (children's clothing and accessories, books, clothes...)
- Prepare the company to accommodate environmentally friendly means of transport (bicycle stands, car recharging stations and, in general, electric vehicles...).
Forests are the world's great breathing lung. If every person planted a tree, we would have 8 billion trees a year. Carrying out initiatives in partnership with organisations like Treedom is a good way to start offsetting your impact.
Clearly, a tree planted today will start to have a real impact in terms of CO2 absorption in 20 years. This is why you cannot think of it as the cure-all. In the meantime, you need to work on reducing your ecological footprint.
Using sustainable and eco-friendly product packagings
In the world of consumer goods, packaging - including both product and shipping packaging - has a substantial impact, in particular because it frequently gets dispersed in the environment.
There are various biodegradable alternatives to the use of plastic, not to mention all the paper and cardboard alternatives available.
Supporting companies and organisations working for a sustainable world is a great way to contribute to the cause.
In particular, donations can be targeted at specific projects, such as the conservation of natural resources, the promotion of renewable energy sources or the construction of sustainable infrastructure.
At the same time, these activities can contribute to the company's positive image and to building a stronger and more lasting relationship with the community and its members. In short, donations represent an important opportunity for companies to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and to make a difference in the world we live in.
Raising awareness and educating employees is a starting point for trying to turn the trend around. For this reason, it would be useful to have training programmes on topics such as differentiated waste collection, conscious shopping and habits, sustainable tourism, the impact of one's habits and the calculation of the ecological footprint.
Advocacy is not just done internally. It can also be done with events - physical or digital - to educate your customer base as well.
Earth Day: in conclusion
Earth Day is an annual reminder to protect our planet and act quickly to guarantee a sustainable future and a healthier world for everyone to live in.
Although there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, there are lots of reasons to stay optimistic and keep on working together for a greener future. With the collective efforts of companies, governments, organisations and ordinary people, we can make a difference and protect our unique planet for future generations.
May this article be an invitation to you to celebrate Earth Day every day of the year.
Giulia Castagna is Sr. Content Manager at ShippyPro. She started writing at the age of 4 and hasn't stopped since. She talks about marketing, ecommerce and, on moonlit nights, even logistics.