Even if you parked your bum on the sofa for a whole year, the Earth’s orbit means you’re still going to have gone 584,000,000 miles. (Don’t worry, though, we don’t count those in our pay-by-mile car insurance.) Like with any long journey, you’re gonna want to make sure your vehicle is in good shape – especially if it’s irreplaceable. So, this Earth Day, we’ll be thinking about what we can do to keep the planet healthy.
Why does it matter?
From an environmental standpoint, there’s been some good news in recent years. China and India led some fantastic tree planting efforts that meant by 2019, the earth was physically greener than it was in 1999. And though the pandemic was awful in so many ways, it did lead to some big reductions in air pollution.
But when we look at the bigger picture, things are a little less rosy. We’re losing 4.7 million hectares of forest a year, and one million plant and animal species face extinction. If global temperatures rise by 1.5c, it’s estimated that 20%-30% of species will be at risk.
Is that likely to happen?
Unfortunately, the answer seems to be ‘yes’. Emissions are still on the rise, and it looks like we’re on course to hit that 1.5c rise by the early 2030s. That means it’s crucial to take action, and quickly.
Thinking in bins.
The average Brit is responsible for an average of 6.26 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year. That’s equivalent to 20 wheelie bins of CO2. It’s thought that to maintain a liveable climate, we need to get that down to around 8 wheelie bins (or 2.5 tonnes) – more than a 50% reduction.
There’s lots of ways to do that – and we’ll link out to more specific tips below. But just to give you an idea (in wheelie bin form) of how you can make a difference, bear in mind that:
- Minimising your driving (by walking or using more public transport where possible) can save you 6 wheelie bins of emissions.
- Being as efficient as possible with your energy at home (things like not leaving lights on, being well insulated, and showers over baths) can save you up to 3.5 wheelie bins.
- Simply moving to a less meat-y diet can also have a big impact. Going with more veg can save 1.5 wheelie bins’ worth of emissions.
On the Earth Day site, you’ll find links you can use to add your voice to a number of environmental causes. There are also events happening nationwide that you might want to pop down to. Take a look here or search for Earth Day events in your area.
Obviously, what goes on on the day itself isn’t as important as the choices we make day to day. So here are a few ideas on ways you might be able to go a little greener.
- The less you drive the smaller your carbon footprint (and if you’re with By Miles, the less you’ll pay for car insurance, too). Here are some car journeys you might think about cutting out as and when you can. The school run might be a place to start.
- You’ll find some great advice here on how to be a fuel-efficient driver, cutting your costs and emissions.
- Here, you’ll find more general tips on how to be a greener car owner.
- Petition for usage based car tax, which we firmly believe will be fairer for drivers – and better for the planet.
- Obviously, there’s more to being green than how you use (or don’t use) your car. The UN recommends starting with these 10 actions. And here, you can find 50 more ideas on how to help the environment in all kinds of other ways.
By Milers on their Earth Day inspiration.
Lacey, Community Specialist:
“One thing that inspires me to be green is wildlife conservation. I love animals and when I worked on a summer camp in America, we were lucky enough to have a pet python called Monty. I think it’s really important to educate younger generations on the importance of protecting our environment so that we can continue to enjoy such amazing wildlife!”
Dan, Talent and Culture Lead:
“I love getting out in the countryside, whether that’s a local wood, our national parks or the local reservoir. For me, I find it has a positive impact on both my mental and physical health. The fresh air, the views, hiking, all of it really. I’m passionate about being green to help protect our natural spaces of beauty for my own wellbeing, but also they play a crucial role in maintaining our ecosystems, supporting biodiversity, and providing habitat for local wildlife. Below is a picture I took of my favourite place to visit on the outskirts of Sheffield, Langsett Reservoir.”
Laura, Business Intelligence Analyst:
“What inspires me to be green is learning about nature through multiple means; Documentaries, travelling, conversations with friends and family who have a lot of knowledge about nature. It all contributes to my understanding of just how big the world is and the vastness of living things existing in it. I particularly enjoy how overwhelming mountains (in particular) and landscapes feel to me, so here’s a picture I took of a landscape just outside Edale in the Peak District.”
Rio,Training and Development Manager:
A particular moment that inspired me to be green was a trip to Yosemite in 2018. We went (against many warnings) whilst the wild fires were raging. Foolishly, I assumed that they were making a mountain out of a molehill and since the parks were open, it couldn’t actually be on fire. It really was on fire. After speaking to the rangers there, we learned how disasters are on the rise and they are fuelled by the climate crisis. It really brought home the direct impact it is having on these amazing National Parks. The pic below shows a sign detailing the view that should have been there – the rest is smoke from the fires. It was a ‘sight’ to see!