Our Greatest Challenge
As we kick back to enjoy the first of many projected heatwaves this year, it’s worth reflecting on the longer summers we’ve been enjoying and what their causes, and cost, might be.
Although our headlines have been fairly dominated by Brexit and then COVID-19 for the past five years, climate change has progressed in the background. Perhaps this progress has been quiet at home since we enjoy the privilege of a relatively temperate and stable local climate. With all that’s happened in the past twelve months, it’d be easy to forget the wildfires that ravaged Australia and California last year or the increasing occurrence of tropical superstorms in the Caribbean and South-East Asia.
Late last month, parks and green spaces were awash with stir-crazed revelry as UK residents enjoyed the hottest March in 53 years. These are not isolated incidents we are witnessing but the symptoms of a sick planet.
Fortunately, at both the local and international level, action is being taken to avert potential climate disaster. Commercial and industrial legislation is being introduced regularly to mitigate our collective CO2 emissions and soften the blow our industrial activities are dealing our cosmic home.
Our success as a species has been characterized by our ability to improvise and adapt in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, it’s what got us to both poles, the ocean floor and the moon. Climate change is no different, however, its scale and risk mean that it will take all of our collective efforts to restore our planet to full health so that we can live in collaboration with nature rather than in competition.
Earth Day was established to raise awareness of our reliance on the natural world, the adverse effect we have had on it, and to encourage grassroots activism in rebalancing our relationship with the planet.
1962 is considered the year that mainstream environmentalism was born, with the publication of Rachel Carson’s seminal Silent Spring. Carson’s vision of a wilderness made quiet by the folly of humankind gave a stark warning to the love generation and those to follow: We must start taking care of our planet, or it will no longer take care of us.
April 22nd, 1970, saw the first inaugural Earth Day, an event whose objective was to put environmental deterioration, and air and water pollution on the front page. Individual communities would work in concert to effect large-scale collective change, and by altering the habits of individuals on a mass scale, the hope would be that societal-level change would follow, and it has.
Over half a century later, since the first campus teach-ins in the United States, Earth Day now mobilizes over a billion people across 190 countries and is recognised as ‘the largest secular observance in the world’.
As the meteoric rise of figures like Greta Thunberg demonstrates, people are dissatisfied with the lukewarm response of their governments and institutions to the deepening crisis. This has resulted in increased engagement with initiatives like Earth Day and we’ve prepared a breakdown of how you can engage with this year’s event which will take place this Thursday.
The year of restoration
Throughout this week there are dozens of Earth Day events taking place across London and further afield. Obviously, the greater their level of attendance, the more influence they’ll have, here are a few events you might markdown in your calendar to give your support and presence to:
Whering Earth Day Pop Up
Aiming to combat one of the less visible forms of pollution, the Whering Team will be creating a pop-up space to raise awareness of the environmental cost of our current fashion industry. Set up in the heart of London’s fashion scene, Oxford Street, the team will be holding talks concerning the pressures that modern fashion puts on the natural world, and some of the statistics are shocking!
At present, the fashion industry is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply and one of the major contributors to water pollution in the form of microplastics.
Materials like nylon used in activewear and microfibre towels shed these plastics into our waterways via the ocean and even through our washing machines.
Moreover, fashion produces 10% of all air pollution which the Whering team hopes to counteract by pledging to plant a tree for every download of the Whering app.
Paulet Estate Community Garden
Moving south from Oxford Street, the Urban Growth Team will be welcoming volunteers from Brixton and elsewhere to the Paulet Estate for a host of activities meant to connect individuals with the natural world.
The garden was recently transformed using funding from Linda McCartney Foods who are also celebrating their 30th year in business. McCartney has been instrumental in introducing vegan and vegetarian food to mainstream consumers, specialising in replacements for omnivorous staples like burgers, scampi, and sausage rolls. Any initiative that helps to reduce animal consumption is, by definition, an environmental step forward since animal agriculture is the most ecologically destructive industry on Earth after the fossil fuels industry.
The garden will be holding various sessions over the course of the 22nd and engaging in activities like planting new herbs and flower beds, decorating planters, upcycling used materials and installing a local greenhouse.
What can I do?
Aside from pledging your support at these or one of the many other events around London, which can be found online, you might look over some of our historic blogs on the Floral and Hardy website. There you’ll find tips on how to make your garden more eco friendly.
Finally, our greatest tool against the climate crisis is knowledge since this can empower us, lift our spirits, and make sure that action is directed effectively. Educate yourself using documentaries like Seaspiracy, Before the Flood, and An Inconvenient Truth and try to spread awareness of these topics to others.
Our final tip is a little controversial but bears stating, as the recent popularity of Seaspiracy has shown, our consumption habits are one of the most effective adjustments we can make to avert climate change, especially the food we’re eating.
Consider taking part in initiatives like meat-free Mondays and Veganuary since reducing your animal product intake is one of the most direct impacts you can have in preserving, and restoring, our world.