This Wednesday, 22nd April, is Earth Day 2009. Earth Day has been held every year since 1970. It’s an awareness-raising day on which we’re all asked to be a bit more environmentally conscious and take extra measures to save on energy and resources.
Offices can play a particularly important part on Earth Day as business pollution and use of resources are so high. Businesses account for some 17% of carbon emissions in the UK. Unlike fellow European nations, Britain is failing miserably to achieve lower emission targets. Germany and France are hitting theirs with space to spare.
Remember that energy and resources are consumed in the manufacture of just about anything while recycling saves energy and resources, especially water.
Here are a few tips to be green in the office on Earth Day 2009 (and every day!):
- Recycle Paper. Keep Paper to be recycled clean, uncontaminated and dry. Most white office Paper is OK but not coloured or lower grade Paper. Nor is the packaging it comes in. NewsPaper and inserts are acceptable but nothing plastic or rubber. Staples are OK as these get sorted out.
- Make prints and copies double-sided.
- Turn off computers after work, along with other electricals.
- Use energy-saving lightbulbs.
- Turn your office thermostat down a few degrees and put on more clothes rather than than turn it back up again.
- We shouldn’t really be saying this but reuse and refill printer cartridges.
- Use rewriteable CDs and DVDs (+RW, -RW) rather than once write formats (+R, -R), so that they can be reused.
- Take a sicky or go on strike. You’ll save on transport emissions and lower your company’s productivity! Or you could work from home.
Earth Day history
The first Earth Day of 1970 emblematically marks the beginning of the modern environmental movement. In the previous year, US Senator Gaylord (!) Nelson of Wisconsin announced a grassroots demonstration across the US to raise awareness about the environment to take place the following spring. At the time a major preoccupation among environmentalists was with overpopulation. But disparate groups that had been fighting against oil spills, pollution, destruction of habitat and extinction of wildlife also came together and found common purpose. About 20 million Americans participated.
1990’s Earth Day involved some 200 million people and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Earth Day 2000 mobilised many more millions in a record 184 countries. An estimated billion participated in 2007.
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