Each year since 1970 Earth Day has been a way to raise awareness of the need for humans to care for our non-human relations. That might sound a little hokey, but research has shown that

As climate threats continue to grow their impacts become ever-present in our lives there are many who argue that the corporations and governments most responsible for the pollution feeding climate change should pay for the costs associated with cleaning things up.

Did you know the fossil fuel industry has earned billions in profits every day for the past 50 years?

According to a Dartmouth College study, the top five pollution creators – US, China, Russia, India, and Brazil – burdened the world with more than 6 trillion $US in climate change-related damages between 1990 and 2014.

The study found that the distribution of warming impacts from emitters is highly unequal: high-income, high-emitting countries have benefited themselves while harming low-income, low-emitting countries, emphasizing the inequities embedded in the causes and consequences of historical warming.

In 2017, CDP, a not-for-profit charity that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states, and regions to manage their environmental impacts, found that just 100 fossil fuel companies were responsible for 71% of all global greenhouse gases emitted since 1988.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the cruise ship industry dumps 255,000 US gallons of greywater and 30,000 US gallons of blackwater into the ocean daily. 

A 2019 lawsuit stated that Carnival Corp illegally released over 500,000 gallons of sewage and over 11,000 gallons of food waste into the ocean near ports and shores around the world and settled the suit for 40 million $US.

As much as companies need to be held responsible for their behaviors there are some things each one of us can do to make a difference this Earth Day.

#1 – Cut back on food waste … 1,500 pounds of food waste per year per American winds up in landfills across the country. One way to cut back on food waste is to shop according to a meal plan. You’re less likely to buy items you won’t use. Another way to cut back on food waste is to use leftovers. Get creative with leftovers by incorporating them into new meals. For example, leftover chicken can be used in a salad, or vegetables can be turned into a soup or stew.

#2 – Conserve EnergyThe burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) accounts for 83% of global energy creation and releases carbon dioxide, which increases the atmosphere’s greenhouse effect, causing global warming and climate change.  You can save hundreds of dollars and make a difference in the depletion of natural resources by reducing your energy dependence. Turn off lights and appliances when not in use. Turn down the heat several degrees. Consider investing in energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs. Use solar energy where and when possible.

#3 – Support environmentally friendly businesses – Support businesses that are committed to sustainability and eco-friendliness. This can include local farmers markets, green energy providers, and businesses that use recycled materials.

Are there things you do to recognize Earth Day, reduce your footprint, and care for the Earth?