April 22, 2020
Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and despite this historic celebration, we must admit, amongst the chaos and sadness that is gripping the world because of the global Covid-19 outbreak, it feels easy to overlook this Earth Day in place of more urgent matters.
But as world economies continue to be put on pause and communities around the world are self-isolating, Earth Day 2020 is becoming a historic day for us in more ways than one and is proving it needs attention now more than ever.
By no means can Covid-19 ever be justified as a good thing to have happened to the world, however, if you’ve been following the news, you might be inclined to think that Covid-19 may be having a positive effect on the environment. Air quality has improved, noise pollution has dropped, people are hearing birds chirping and seeing wildlife in their cities.
While we may be getting a sneak peek into what the world could look like in our future, as a whole, there’s no doubt about it that Covid-19 will be detrimental to environmental issues in the long run.
Perhaps you've seen those photos of the decreased smog in cities or the clearer waterways or the dolphins swimming in the Venice Canals. (Spoiler, those photos were taken in Sardinia, 800km away from Venice, and is not a particularly uncommon occurrence).
Photo by Christian Hoiberg
It's easy to think that these things are all great positive steps for Mother Nature and while it is nice the Earth is getting a long-overdue breather, it's important to remember that the positive effects we are seeing are temporary and are not solutions to our long term problem.
Let's narrow in on air pollution. Short-term air pollution, which can last for a few days or a few hours, has decreased. This is why the cities you live in are free from smog. This is great news, however, despite the drop in smog, greenhouse gasses are still being emitted at alarming rates. The World Meteorological Organization reported that Carbon Dioxide Levels are still reaching record highs.
Oksana Tarasova, Head of Atmospheric Environment Research Division WMO explains "If we look at how the levels of atmospheric CO2 are formed, it's not annual emissions in particular which are controlling the levels; it's the whole accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere since pre-industrial times which actually form the current level. So, the reduced emissions within one particular year of this scale are very unlikely to have an impact on global levels of carbon dioxide.”
Photo by Nico Babot
The clean waterways you’re seeing are a direct result of reduced human impact (i.e. boats which stir up sediment in the water) and is not indicative of pollution as clear water can still be very polluted. The animals you are seeing in your cities will likely disappear from the streets as soon as normal human activity resumes.
In the grand scheme of things, the environmental impact from Covid-19 will be nominal at best and incredibly detrimental at its worst. As global economies suffocate and governments and businesses are tightening their belts, unfortunately, one of the first initiatives of any business or government to get cut is sustainability. While we understand the importance of tackling Covid-19 quickly and efficiently, it's disheartening to see the Climate Crisis take the backseat during this critical moment.
Photo by Pedro Kin
Early last year, we made the decision to officially integrate sustainability practices into our business model by joining forces with 1% for the Planet. Business and individuals who partner with 1% for the Planet commit to donating 1% of their annual revenue to environmental non-profits.
Despite the looming recession, we are committed to following through with our promise and dedication to our sustainable practices. We want to reassure our customers that even through these difficult times when you buy a Vallerret Glove, you give back to the planet.
Through 1% for the Planet, we are proud to have partnered with Protect Our Winters, the Conservation Alliance and Naturvernforbund in Norway to ensure that our business has a positive impact on the environment.
Protect Our Winters (POW) is a global nonprofit that helps passionate outdoor people protect the places and lifestyles they love from climate change. They are a community of athletes, scientists, creatives, and business leaders advancing non-partisan policies that protect our world today and for future generations. Through their advocacy, they work to educate, register and turn out enough voters to shift governmental responses to the climate crisis.
The Conservation Alliance is a group of like-mind companies that disburses its collective annual membership dues to grassroots environmental organizations. They direct funding to community-based campaigns to protect threatened wild habitat and outdoor recreation through rigorous grant proposal review processes that ensure the grants go to organizations that can succeed given the necessary financial resources.
The Conservation Alliance also focuses on advocacy by leveraging the collective voice of its members and sending messages to decision-makers in Washington, DC and on the local level about the economic benefit of protected lands and waters.
Norwegian Society for Conservation of Nature (Naturvernforbundet) and nature protection organisation.
Their main goal is to protect nature and the environment so that human activity does not exceed the tolerance limits of our planet. They work to solve a wide range of issues in environmental and nature conservation but work specifically with the areas conservation, climate change, energy and transportation.
Photo by Pedro Kin
So this historic Earth Day, let’s honour the Earth by not letting a few photos of happy dolphins and clear skies cloud our long term vision. While this is a problem we can fix, this is not a problem that can be fixed within a few months. It’s going to take big, structural changes that require progressive leadership, smart businesses and global cooperation.
We know that as a responsible business, there are endless amounts of work to be done and we are far from perfect. We are working to be better every day and we are proud to keep sustainability as a core value in our business practices.
Thanks for celebrating Earth Day with this year and for continuing to fight for the environment with your purchases.
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