The Planet’s Greatest Investment
Earth Day has been around for what seems like forever now. It’s hard to imagine a time when we didn’t acknowledge it. Each year Earth Day reminds us that we can make a difference in the health of our planet with simple, easy steps to start. But this year is different. The urgency is real and it’s time to “invest in our planet.”
Which Green is More Important? Money or the Planet?
Picture this, it’s the late 60s and the new decade is fast approaching. Industry is BOOMING, so much so that the smell of smog is like money wafting in the air. At this point, there was no real concern for the huge clunkers we called “cars” giving off carbon emissions or siphoning hordes of fossil fuels from our planet. No one really questioned the stacks of smoke billowing out of factories or the chemicals used in agriculture…not yet.
No, we were in production mode. The last world war was long over, and it was time to truly dig in and be productive again. I mean, we sent a man to the moon for God sakes, surely, we can’t stop there! What’s new? What’s innovative and how fast can we produce it? These were the questions on our minds. Then, in California, something happened that woke us from our polluted slumber: the Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969.
This devastating event would prompt Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin to push for better environmental awareness and change through national “teach-ins” on college campuses. He partnered with Congressman Pete McCloskey and Denis Hayes, a young student activist, and together they carried the message across the nation, creating the very first-ever Earth Day event on April 22, 1970.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is
With over 20 million people in attendance, Senator Gaylord Nelson, Congressman Pete McCloskey, and Denis Hayes had the attention of the entire world.
Their single effort gave birth to life as we know it today in the “green world.” That same year, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was formed, which spawned many other environmental laws. The Clean Air Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the National Environmental Education Act, just to name a few, may not exist today were it not for Earth Day. All these laws were established as an investment toward protecting our planet so that it could sustain our lives. Because the message was very clear: Act or die.
ROI The Green Way
For many years now we’ve all been reaping the benefits of the investments made toward a greener future. As mentioned previously, the laws established after the Earth Day campaign have had a huge and long-standing impact on our planet. These laws have helped protect thousands of acres of land, endangered species, and people. Take the Clean Air Act, for example. It regulates hazardous air emissions to keep people safe and healthy. If you or a loved one has ever had asthma, you know just how important this law is to your health. And it’s quite possible it may not have been passed or even considered without the establishment of Earth Day.
“One of the goals of the Act was to set and achieve NAAQS in every state by 1975 in order to address the public health and welfare risks posed by certain widespread air pollutants.”
– United States Environmental Protection Agency
When most of us hear the word “invest” we usually think of money, and naturally so, but money isn’t the only kind of green worth investing in. If Earth Day proved anything it was that there is indeed a need to invest in green. Our environment affects every aspect of our lives from our physical to our financial health. Businesses feel the sting too. For example, an increase in climate change can create environmentally devastating weather situations like violent hurricanes. This can affect every aspect of a business from transport to product quality and that definitely can affect its bottom line.
You see, we truly are all in this together. So, what do we do about it? How exactly do we “invest in our planet” so to speak? Take a look at a few ways you can invest wisely.
- Divest from your current bank if they are investing in fossil fuels. Try banks like Aspiration or Virginia Community Capital.
- Find one environmental organization in your area and volunteer. Meet new people and learn more about ways to “invest in our planet.”
- Bike or walk to a local spot in your area instead of driving. This is not only great for the planet but your heart, mind, and lungs too.
- Pack a lunch for work or school. It saves our planet and your dollars.
- Purchase products from trusted, socially and environmentally responsible companies. B Corp brands are a great start.
- Read EnviroPerks articles and adopt the green living habits and processes we espouse.
Laughing All the Way to the Bank
Although we still have a long way to go, we have been making awesome strides since that glorious first Earth Day in 1970. We’ve raised awareness globally and implemented new laws to protect against pollution and unsustainable environmental practices. We’ve chosen to carpool when we could’ve driven solo and listened to music we like. We’ve turned off lights in our homes when no one was in the room and unplugged appliances that weren’t being used. We’ve proudly, albeit clumsily, trotted out of grocery stores arms piled with items as punishment to ourselves for forgetting to bring our reusable bags from the car. But it’s OK, Perksters. Every little bit counts and has collectively helped in the movement toward a greener future. We are determined to save this planet as well as ourselves, and you can take that to the bank–green bank, that is.
Jammica Boone is a writer and content creator for EnviroPerks