Hello all, Hannah and Sophie here, your Eco Prefects!
As you may know, Wednesday of this week marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day – a global network with the aim to ‘diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide’.
To make sure there’s an opportunity for everyone to get involved (even in lockdown), we sent out emails each day this week with an eco-related activity to try or some general information – we hope you found them interesting. If you didn’t get a chance to read them, here’s a recap of each day. It doesn’t have to be “Earth Week” for you to practice some of these activities. They’re useful, important and relevant all year round. Enjoy!
To kick off the week, the first idea was to get creative and design an Earth Day poster to put in your window to spark conversations about our brilliant planet.
Here are some tips if you want to have a go: https://www.earthday.org/actions/make-an-earth-day-window-sign/
Here are designs from Hannah and her cousin. We’d love to see your designs too!
The second day of Earth Week- all about one of my favourite things: food!
Reducing the carbon footprint of our food:
Some background — growing, transporting and storing our food can often have damaging effects on the environment. There are three main ways of reducing our food’s carbon footprint:
- Waste less. “Globally, if food waste could be represented as its own country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the US” – UN Environment.
- Eat less meat. It’s widely known that certain meat products, especially beef, can have huge carbon footprints, and animal agriculture is estimated to represent 20% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Therefore, eating a few plant-based meals a week can greatly reduce your environmental impact, and there’s lots of help on the internet for how to get started!
- Shop seasonally. By picking fruits and vegetables that are in season (so haven’t been stored for a long time) you can reduce carbon emissions. Here’s a guide of what is in season when: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/seasonal-calendar/all
(For more detail: https://www.earthday.org/our-foods-impact/)
First off have a look at some common food’s carbon footprints here:
Now using that information, try to make one of your favourite meals or snacks carbon-friendly – here are some ideas:
- Use up leftover vegetables in a courgette cake so they’re not wasted – it’s a lot tastier than it sounds! https://domesticgothess.com/blog/2019/08/22/vegan-courgette-cake/
- Make a veggie chilli. A great way to use up some tins of beans and you can add almost any veg and spices you’d like. https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/double-bean-roasted-pepper-chilli
- Try your hand at these vegan pancakes for a yummy breakfast. https://www.waitrose.com/home/recipes/recipe_directory/v/easy-vegan-pancakes.html
Day 3 – Earth Day
A Bit of History About the Movement
Wednesday 22nd April 2020 marked the 50th year since the first Earth Day in the United States in 1970, when 10% of the country’s population took to the streets to demonstrate for a healthy and sustainable environment for all. Twenty years later, around 200 million people in 141 countries continued to spread the message and take action. This mass mobilisation gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and paved the way for the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio; proving that small individual actions can accumulate to bring about positive change!
If you’d like to read more about what the network has achieved so far: https://www.earthday.org/history/
Taking a pledge:
We challenged you to make a pledge that will help the planet. Some ideas were:
- Buying only second-hand clothes for the rest of the year
- Going vegetarian/vegan for a week
- Educating yourself on the environment by watching a documentary (see day 5 for some ideas!)
- Learning what food packaging can and can’t be recycled
How to pledge:
- Choose your pledge
- If you have social media, post your pledge and tag some friends to do the same. (Or if you don’t have social media, text someone instead!)
- Add #EarthDay2020 when you post/tweet to show your support.
Here are mine and Hannah’s pledges:
Hannah – “I pledge to walk or cycle anywhere within 5km from my house.”
Sophie – “I pledge to buy plastic free soap and shampoo for the rest of the year.”
For day 4 of Earth Week, it was time to learn a bit about air…
Air pollution may be mostly invisible, but it has very real consequences on the health of all living beings – including us!
Some information on air:
It may be unpleasant to think about, but some studies have even suggested that deaths from air pollution exceed those from smoking at 8.8 million a year worldwide.
However, there’s some good news too!
The changes that have had to be made during the Coronavirus pandemic are having noticeable impacts on our air quality, due to the decrease in certain polluting activities. For example, carbon monoxide levels (mostly from cars) have decreased around 50% in New York – more on that here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-51944780
For a brilliant visual representation of the changes, this article allows you to compare levels of nitrogen dioxide between now and this time last year:
Here’s an example ⬇️ (of eastern China)
Therefore, there is hope that some of the changes made to combat Coronavirus could also teach us a lot about how to curb air pollution in the future.
Seeing as it’s the end of the week, we thought we’d give you some film inspiration, so grab some popcorn (other snacks are available) and get stuck in.
Films (with environmental themes):
Primary age (5-11):
The Eagle Huntress, Wall-E, Over the Hedge, Ponyo, African Cats, Princess Mononoke (PG)
An Inconvenient Truth (U), Deepwater Horizon (12), Erin Brockovich (15), Cowspiracy (PG)
For a bit more detail about each film: https://www.intofilm.org/news-and-views/articles/earth-day-films-to-stream-at-home?utm_source=Into+Film+-+Master&utm_campaign=aada2a16bc-home-learning-6-ah&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a1465a9b17-aada2a16bc-137137539
Many thanks to Miss Furness for this link to some brilliant suggestions!
Instagram accounts to keep you inspired:
@brunoo_rodd @gretathunberg @greenpeace @easyecotips @jeromefosterii @ukscn @fridaysforfuture @thisiszerohour @vanessanakate @wastefreeplant @extinctionrebellion
- No one is too small to make a difference by Greta Thunberg
- Climate Wars by Gwynne Dyer
- Climate Change by HRH The Prince of Wales, Tony Juniper and Emily Shuckburgh
- How to Give Up Plastic by Will McCallum
- The Ecology Book
- Zero Carbon Britain: Rising to the Climate Emergency
- The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success by Mark Jaccard
Here’s a link to some children’s climate change books:
We really hope you’ve enjoyed reading through some of our suggestions, and that you’re finding opportunities to spend some time in nature. Please do get in touch if you have any thoughts or questions on what we’ve discussed!
Take care all,
Hannah and Sophie