Here at Advanced Office, we firmly believe in managing our carbon footprint, especially as a company within the Office Solutions Industry. We are proudly recognized as an Eco Excellence Program, and our Green Initiative has been our promise to the planet. With Earth Day approaching, the question looms over our heads all month long, “How can I be more green?” While we should normalize earth-friendly practices all year round, Earth Day can serve as a starting point to implement your new goals. Whether they be personal goals or professional goals, we’ve got you covered on where to begin.
But first, why is Earth Day so important? Understanding this will help us understand how great our impact can be. The first Earth Day is sealed in history, April 22, 1970, and stands to remind us of the beginning of a global movement that still sparks activism today. We can thank Senator Gaylord Nelson and Denis Hayes, to name a few, for the creation and awareness of this globally recognized day. Twenty million Americans were inspired by what Nelson preached, taking them to the streets and parks to rally. Citizens from all over were brought together, despite political and socioeconomic differences, leading to the beginning of massive environmental change. After the first Earth Day of 1970, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was born and the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act were passed within a couple years following. The impact that the first Earth Day had on the world has only grown exponentially since, with over 1 billion individuals from over 190 countries taking action every Earth Day. It’s truly incredible to know how many people across the globe care about taking care of our planet, and this Earth Day could be the perfect opportunity to join the constantly growing community.
With such a huge cause for change and improvement, it’s understandable that finding a way to support the planet can be overwhelming or feel too small to matter. While recycling and taking shorter showers are great daily practices, taking time to understand the prevalent issues our planet faces and the initiatives available serve as the first step towards involvement. National Geographic outlines the following core issues and actions:
Advocacy: Supporters encourage individuals and organizations to meet with elected officials to discuss environmental issues. The online program "Million Acts of Green," for instance, encourages visitors to adopt lifestyle changes such as composting, reducing your carbon footprint, or recycling e-waste.
Climate Change: Supporters raise awareness about climate change, human contribution to those changes, and opportunities to slow the phenomenon. Many Earth Day supporters, for instance, encouraged citizens to support the landmark Paris Climate agreement, signed on Earth Day 2016.
Conservation and Biology: Supporters work to conserve the world's biodiversity. On Earth Day 2010, for instance, participants in Sri Lanka planted more than 100 medicinal plants throughout the tropical rain forest at Yagirala Forest Reserve. These plants can be used by local populations and will create habitats for different organisms, enhancing the biodiversity of the island nation.
Education: Earth Day education programs provide educators, students, and the general public with resources and solutions to create a healthier, more sustainable planet. On Earth Day 2010, for instance, teachers and students in the Compostela Valley region of the Philippines participated in a day-long conference. At the conference, they learned about tree planting and care, participated in nature hikes, and presented their environmental action projects to the community.
Energy: Advocates support projects that develop renewable energy sources and technologies as means of transitioning off of nonrenewable sources, such as coal and oil. Citizens of Qatar, for example, are invited to switch off their power for one hour on Earth Day in a symbolic stance against human contributions to global warming.
Food and Agriculture: Supporters raise awareness about some farming practices, such as the use of chemical pesticides, which contribute to environmental degradation. Supporters also advocate for a greater support of organic, local, and sustainable agricultural techniques. Member organizations of this issue group include Articultores, based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which raises awareness about urban gardening and brings citizens and youth together to plant in abandoned sites in cities.
Green Economy: Supporters advocate for the creation of green industries and jobs that are connected to renewable energy sources. For example, the Students in Free Enterprise group in Saskatchewan, Canada, sponsors a prize for student projects that make best use of recycled materials.
Green Schools: The Earth Day Network sponsors the National GREEN Schools Campaign. The GREEN Schools Campaign includes a focus on healthy school lunches, environmental classroom activities, outreach to local and national leaders, and an emphasis on sustainable building techniques.
Recycling and Waste Reduction: Supporters work to reduce the amount of waste that people produce and increase the amount that we recycle and reuse. The Beach Bunch group of Brunei, for example, organizes beach-cleaning campaigns.
Sustainable Development: Supporters promote environmental practices that respect biodiversity and the natural world. Costa Rica, for instance, has implemented the Viaje Limpio program, in which individuals and companies pay a fee for the greenhouse gases they produce through travel. This money goes to protect the rain forest, water resources, and biodiversity of Costa Rica. Viaje Limpio helps the Costa Rican economy, because biodiversity and the rain forest are important natural assets that bring thousands of tourists to the country every year.
It’s clear that our friends around the globe are taking action to care for the planet. Whether big or small, any action makes a difference. Let Earth Day 2023 serve as a catalyst for change in your personal and professional life.
Through initiatives such as recycling, PrintReleaf, Managed Print Services, Auto Toner, Document Management, and Output Management, Advanced Office specializes in reducing cost and waste for ourselves and our customers. Learn how to implement these initiatives and maybe even make your competitors green with envy.
Our Green Initiative extends beyond the office as well, encouraging employees of Advanced Office to pursue environmentally friendly practices at home. Everyone plays a part in saving the environment, whether it be compositing, volunteering with community cleanups, or turning off electric appliances, but these are some of our favorites:
🌍 Suzanne replaced many plants around her home with drought-tolerant plants, such as succulents to save water.
🌍 Sindy switched from a gas vehicle to an electric vehicle to lessen pollution.
🌍 Kyle installed 52 solar panels so far at his home to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
🌍 AJ recycles to minimize the amount of waste going to landfills.
🌍 Kirstie purchases eco-friendly litter for her cats to lower her carbon footprint.
🌍 Cindy uses reusable water bottles and jugs to help decrease the amount of plastic waste.
🌍 Andrew grows his own vegetables in his home garden, using smart watering techniques to conserve natural resources.
Learning how my co-workers support the planet has inspired me to make some earth-friendly improvements in my daily life, and hopefully it’s inspired you too. Every year, more and more citizens join the Earth Day cause, working together to make the world a better, healthier, and more sustainable place. This year, make it a priority to be more green, personally or as a company. And, as a plus, you're guaranteed to look good doing it.