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5 stats to think about on Earth Day

Earth Day on April 22nd will be the most important Earth Day to date. Here’s why…


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Excited for Earth Day? We are!

This year’s Earth Day will be the most important Earth Day since the initiative began in 1970. More is at stake than ever before when it comes to protecting our planet, taking climate action and understanding the key elements of the climate crisis. The stakes are sky-high, so it’s ridiculously important that we are all active participants in Earth Day this year.

But there is a lot to cut through. How do we know what we should care about on Earth Day? Is there anything we as consumers or businesses can do? Do people actually care? And how bad is the crisis actually?

Whether it’s global warming, plastic waste, biodiversity loss or ocean acidification, it can all be overwhelming. The stream of news related to the climate crisis is growing by the day, so it’s easy to not know where on earth to start…

To help ease you into the Earth Day spirit, we’re going to break it down and give you five key stats. The first two stats focus on the severity of the crisis (yeah, sorry – sad stuff first)… But, if you hold on, it’s worth it. The final three stats are much more uplifting. We’ve picked out key figures from our recent Ignite programme research and other sources that show how the tide is turning. More people, businesses and governments are taking action now more than ever. There is reason for hope and optimism!

So fasten your seat belt and get ready for the big five! Here we go.

We are rapidly approaching 1.5 degrees warming (which is not good)

As you can see from the graphic below, we (humans) have caused an incredible amount of global warming (through a variety of greenhouse gases) in a very short amount of time. If we surge past 1.5 degrees warming, and then past 2 degrees, the damage to life on earth, our ecosystems, land, oceans, wildlife, and people will be catastrophic. The climate crisis is here – as the graph says: ‘WE ARE HERE’.

This is not a case of “oh, you know, we’ve got several years before climate change kicks in” – no, this is happening now, and it’s only going to get worse unless action is taken. So when taking part in Earth Day this year, make sure you bear this in mind; the time for action is NOW, not in 2025, or 2030.

And if you don’t already, make sure you’re following Prof. Ed Hawkins (the man behind the climate stripes/this graphic). His research and work with the IPCC is highly informative and useful in giving us a picture of how the crisis is developing.

The Covid-19 pandemic has NOT slowed global warming

Yes, the pandemic did cause some greenhouse gas emissions to reduce as lockdowns and travel bans were enforced. However, it has not slowed down global warming, not even slightly. The root cause of the problem (the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere) is still here and needs fixing. Global warming continued steadily throughout 2020 and is continuing throughout the first quarter of 2021. In fact, Earth’s CO2 levels are now the highest they have ever been in over 3 million years.

So, when you’re participating in Earth Day on April 22nd, make sure you remember this. Don’t let anyone tell you that Covid-19 has somehow helped the situation or that it’s a ‘blessing in disguise’. If anything, it has made the climate crisis worse as it has delayed key climate action events such as COP, or given some politicians an excuse to delay or cancel new climate policies.

The majority (68%) of UK consumers want to lower their carbon footprint

Believe it or not, 68% is actually pretty good. Try asking the same question 10 years ago and it’s likely half the people answering wouldn’t even know what a carbon footprint is, and most of the other half wouldn’t be that keen to take steps to reduce it. This stat is from our Igniting a Green Revolution’ report and the research that underpins it. It shows the consumers are waking up to the crisis and are willing to take steps accordingly.

In fact, almost perfectly mirroring the 68% figure, 67% said they want to live more sustainably, in all aspects of life (food, energy use, transport, clothing). That is a big deal. Clearly, people are ready to take action. We are massively encouraged by this; consumers hold considerable power to drive change and influence the world. As consumer demand for more sustainable and ethical products grows, brands and governments will have to adapt.

Six in 10 Brits now feel pressure from David Attenborough to be greener

Full disclosure here: we have talked out this stat before in a previous blog post. But, it’s worth talking about again, especially when it comes to Earth Day. National treasure David Attenborough is making a big impact when it comes to green living and consumer behaviour. Our Ignite research revealed how his documentaries are putting influential pressure on consumers to be greener and make more sustainable choices. Behaviour change is possible, and it’s especially possible when the advice and guidance comes from someone as respected as David. In time, we’re hoping his message reaches even further.

We would love to see that 6/10 Brits grow much higher in response to this year’s Earth Day!

Most consumers agree that technology is a crucial tool to enable sustainable living

Over half (52%) of British consumers are ready to embrace technology as a tool to help boost sustainable living. This is very encouraging for two key reasons:

  • Technology (in particular: apps) is one of the best tools we have to ‘nudge’ consumer behaviour in the right direction
  • Technology and the use of data is essential in understanding the climate crisis and the effects of our actions.

Of course, we’re hoping this 52% figure goes up in the years ahead of us, but it is definitely a positive sign that majority is in our corner here. Technology will definitely be a key tool in the years ahead of us, especially when it comes to influencing and mapping consumer behaviour.

So there you go! Those stats should help you jump in and be an active participant in Earth Day this year. You know how serious the crisis is, but also have reason to be hopeful in how we can combat it.

Of course, there are many more reasons and stats to bear in mind, so if you have any you want to share, make sure you let us know by tweeting to us or getting in touch directly.

And if you’re particularly keen to learn more and get involved, we recommend reading the full ‘Igniting a Green Revolution’ report. It’s available here:

The report from our behaviour change specialists and sustainability experts reveals the keys to boosting sustainable brand and consumer behaviour. It also provides new insights that we can all learn from and apply to a continued push towards a circular and greener economy.

This push new for insights and behavioural analysis is just the beginning of the Ignite program, so keep an eye out for more events, research and reports from our team. Throughout 2021 and beyond, we will be launching many more initiatives and research findings, so make sure you follow and keep in check with our journey. If your company, NGO, or if you personally would like to get involved and collaborate with us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.

Published on April 19, 2021, last updated on April 26, 2021

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