50 years ago on April 22, 1970 over 20 million Americans (roughly 10% of the total population at that time) took to the great outdoors to protest against polluted rivers, oil spills, chemical waste and disposal. It was hot on the heels of Silent Spring (a best selling book by Rachel Carson which drew environmental awareness to pesticide use) and the burning of the Cuyahoga river. Up to that point there was little to no regulation of waste or pollution and recycling was a foreign concept to most. Here we are, 50 years later with substantially more protections for our environment, and we need to do more. According to a 2018 report put out by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) projected we only had 12 years to make substantial changes before causing irreparable damage to the earth. Some current projections are counting in months, 18 to be exact.
We at Dirigo Collective are fortunate to have our home base be in Maine. A state with fresh clean air, water, and plenty of open space to hike, climb, surf, or run. From mountains to the ocean we really do get a slice of Earth that is heavenly. We know how important and fragile our planet is because we see it first hand every day.
We also know we’re not alone in our desire to protect planet earth and all its biodiversity. In a Pew Research study from 2019, 77% of US Adults support developing alternative energy sources like wind and solar that are renewable over continuing to use fossil fuels. In fact, that same study found that a majority of Americans say that climate change is already affecting their local communities with 39% saying they are somewhat impacted and 22% saying greatly impacted. You can see in this corresponding chart how the majority of Americans are being impacted by climate change.
So what can we do?
We rounded up some of the practices of folks on our team and listed some ways you can help do your part to protect our beautiful home planet.
Reduce your meat consumption – You don’t have to go vegetarian, but even removing meat from one meal a week can have a substantial impact on the environment. If you’re on a high protein diet, think about substituting with Beyond the Meat or Sweet Earth burgers which you can find in the meat aisle but are plant-based substitutes.
Fix or DIY, don’t Buy – Can you build it? Or fix it? Not only will you save $ but you’ll save the planet a bit too.
Drink tap – Public tap water faces higher scrutiny and regulation than bottled water, so in many instances it is actually better for you than bottled. You also save on plastics and help protect public water rather than the privatization of public resources by bottled water companies.
Compost – To reduce the amount of waste in landfills, think about starting your own compost. If you live here in Maine (or Massachusetts) and don’t have space to do your own composting, reach out to Garbage to Garden. They offer curbside pickup of your compost and when you need soil, give them a ring and you can get the soil you need.
So here’s to you, Earth. We love you, we’re grateful for you, and we will keep working to show you how much we care.
Here are a couple Earth Day info videos as a bonus. Enjoy. Happy Earth Day.
From the UN Environment Programme
From the American Museum of Natural History