Invest in Our Planet
Written by Mollie Knight
Every year on the 22nd April it is Earth Day, and this year’s theme is “invest in our planet”. This theme, according to EARTHDAY.org (the global organiser of Earth Day), aims to generate a greater focus on solutions to climate change and inspiring everyone, including businesses and governments, to do their part. So, in today’s blog post I am going to run through what investing in our planet can look like, from what us as individuals can do, to what governments urgently need to implement.
Investing in our planet can take many forms. On the individual level, it could be spending that extra couple quid on the eco-friendly version of whatever product you’re planning on buying. Obviously, the ability to spend that extra money is a massive privilege – not everyone can afford to shell out money on period underwear, bamboo socks and metal straws, for example. Also, in a world of greenwashing and advertising scams, it can also be hard to know if a product is even truly environmentally friendly – I’m looking at you ‘Love Beauty and Planet’, your Shampoos and Body Washes can’t be that environmentally friendly if you’re a subsidiary of Unilever, sorry!
Good thing investments don’t just have to be monetary. You can also invest your time and energy. There are plenty of ways to volunteer, just google opportunities near you. In London, there are some great initiatives like Thames 21, The Calthorpe Project and Sustrans, to name a few. If radical action is more your thing, get out and protest; join Extinction Rebellion or start a revolution of your own! All it takes is one person and a wave of change can be created, just look at how big Fridays for Future has become. EARTHDAY.org has also put together some other ideas on what you and I can do to invest in our planet.
We can buy as many bamboo toothbrushes as we like and businesses can print their receipts on recycled paper but, ultimately, it is the governments that have the power to make the changes our planet needs. In our capitalist society, the best way to enforce change is by controlling the money. For example, the government desperately needs to mandate lower oil consumption and make solid commitments to making the UK less reliant on oil as this would have a major impact on the UK’s carbon footprint. The government can do this by increasing subsidies and decreasing tax for renewable energy companies, making it easier for consumers to afford alternative energy and also give companies incentives to invest in it. On the other side, the government should cut subsidies and increase tax on polluting firms and producers of fossil fuels, to then put companies off investing in planet-harming energy sources. By the government putting these mandates in place, it would get rid of the need for the so-called ‘disruptive’ Just Stop Oil protests that have been taking place over the weekend. It would also help shift public opinion to be more accepting of alternative energy resources, avoiding ‘Don’t Look Up’-esque news interviews with climate campaigners, like that on Good Morning Britain last week.
Beyond oil, though, the government can directly impact individual’s carbon footprint. By retrofitting and improving household insulation, with social housing being the priority, it reduces the environmental and financial burden on individuals to heat their homes in winter. Also, the UK government could take a leaf out of other countries’ books and subsidise sustainable alternatives to big household items like boilers, washing machines and cars. In Ireland, there is an electric car grant, which can give you up to €5,000 to go towards a new electric vehicle. Pretty cool, right?
Speaking of cars - by improving and reducing the cost of public transport and rail networks, the government can reduce our dependence on cars in general. I know in London it is very easy to hop on a bus or the tube, but in other parts of the country (like where I’m from in Cornwall), the bus only comes once every two hours and you have to drive at least 30 minutes to get to the closest train station. These transport networks are super inaccessible and so most people learn to drive as soon as they can.
Businesses also have a duty to invest in our planet, whether the government incentivises them to do so, or not. There are plenty of ways to do so, and here at One Wear Freedom we have tried to implement as many as possible. We invest in stationery and packaging equipment produced from recycled materials, including our delivery boxes, stickers & other packaging materials, invoice receipts and even the printing ink. Our circular economy business model and zero-waste ethos help reduce our impact as a company even more. We have also partnered with Eco Cart to help make even more of an impact. Our Eco Cart campaign helps remove low or no value plastic from the ocean in 3 locations in Vietnam. The programme reduces plastic in oceans, which, in turn, reduces landfilling and CO2 emissions. The project also provides education and guidance to local governments to build waste management infrastructure, whilst the workers receive above-average pay and basic health insurance for collecting all forms of plastic.
Our eco-partners, Oxwash, are another great example of a company truly investing in our planet. Oxwash are an on demand laundry service that uses sustainable energy and produces zero emissions. From recycling the water they use between washes, to ozone disinfection and preventing over 95% of plastic microfibers from entering our oceans, they are reinventing the laundry process for good. Find out more here.
This was by no means an exhaustive discussion of all the ways we, the government or businesses can invest in our planet, but I think I have covered some basics! Hopefully you feel inspired to make a change or hassle the government and your fav businesses to make those changes – our planet desperately needs all the help it can get, not just on Earth Day, but every day. If you have any other ideas about how to invest in our planet, let us know in the comments or over on our Instagram!