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Environment, explained: top 5 changes you can make in light of Earth Day

Eden Leavey
This Chinese Magnolia in Hyde Park is an example of “restoring our earth” which is this year’s Earth Day theme. To compensate for the destruction that climate change has caused, below are five actions that will help to repair nature and biodiversity.

Hello, and welcome back to Environment, explained. As Earth Day is quickly approaching, my second article for this column will be dedicated to how the holiday first emerged and what actions can be taken within our community to protect the environment.

This year marks the 51st anniversary of Earth Day, a day that promotes eco-consciousness. Every year the holiday has a designated area of focus, this year’s theme being “Restore Our Earth.”

While previously our only possibilities in saving the planet were to alleviate or accommodate for environmental damage, scientists and eco-corporations are now looking to create natural green technologies to restore the ecosystems and biodiversity that climate change has harmed. 

Earth Day originated April 22, 1970, a time when environmental issues such as water and pollution as well as the detrimental impacts of pesticides, sparked an interest among the U.S. population. Twenty million Americans protested for the acknowledgment of these ecological concerns, thus beginning the environmental movement we now call Earth Day.

Since then, the U.S. has adopted many laws to combat climate change and the damage caused by human developments, including the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts, while inspiring other countries to do the same. In 2016, the United Nations chose to sign the Paris Climate Agreement on Earth Day.

Last year, Earth Day encountered its first digital celebration, and, an environmental activist organization, hosted a live, 12-hour-long global program. A similar yet extended version of the online adaption will occur this year, spanning April 20 through 22 and consisting of virtual events such as environmental lectures and films.

This year’s program will act as a call to action in protecting our planet predominantly through a global leaders’ climate summit led by President Joe Biden’s administration. Additional speakers include members of the Hip Hop Caucus and Education International organizations, who will be discussing intersectional environmentalism. For more information on this year’s Earth Day, check out’s plans.

Plant for pollinators

Flowers like these daffodils make excellent homes for pollinators. Planting a garden will significantly promote agriculture and biodiversity in the world. (Eden Leavey)

Pollinators play a crucial role in our ecosystem because they fertilize plants, which makes it possible for them to reproduce. Unfortunately, many pollinator species have become endangered. By planting gardens, not only will the environment benefit from sustainable agriculture, but pollinators will also be provided with a habitat. Here are 10 plants that will attract pollinators to your garden.

Make sustainable swaps

Ethique is a brand of sustainable bathroom products, ranging from shampoo bars to deodorant. The company is 100% plastic-free and promotes the #giveupthebottle movement. (Eden Leavey)

Did you know that humans produce 300 million tonnes of plastic waste annually? Now imagine if every person made just one change in their day-to-day lives – the environmental impact would be tremendous. Instead of constantly throwing away single-use plastic, try reusable product swaps. These are sustainable alternatives for various rooms of the house.

Forfeit fast fashion

The Good On You app rates clothing store H&M at “it’s a start,” meaning that while the company has some plans in place to actively produce sustainable clothes, they could be doing a better job in the execution. Look into the stores you purchase the majority of your clothes from to see their environmental impact. (Eden Leavey)

Fast fashion creates numerous environmental problems – most notably water and air pollution – and creates poor labor conditions for factory workers. Download the Good On You app or check out the website to research which clothing brands protect their workers, animals and the environment. Use this resource to purchase from more ethical stores in the future.

Gauge the “green diet”

This pasta bolognese has swapped out the more traditionally used ground beef for mushrooms in order to reduce the emitted greenhouse gases it took to bring this meal to the table. (Eden Leavey)

The green diet is not just another trend convincing you to lose weight; it ensures healthy and sustainable eating for future generations. The green diet does not restrict you from eating any particular animal products, rather it prompts you to prioritize them less. Plant-based foods become the main meal, and meat plays the accompanying role. This diet is an excellent way to shift into a more conscious mindset pertaining to food, as nothing is completely off-limits. Check out these eco-friendly recipes for every meal of the day to get inspired. In addition, test your carbon footprint knowledge regarding food with a fun quiz or tracker website.

Ensure to educate

Platforms like Netflix are fantastic resources for learning more about sustainability. There are an array of subject matters to explore about the environment. (Eden Leavey)

Taking action against climate change is essential, but so is staying informed on environmental issues. Luckily, Netflix and Amazon Prime have a wide range of documentaries covering topics such as factory farming, marine pollution, the fast fashion industry and sustainable lifestyle choices. For a film on each of those subject matters, try watching “Cowspiracy,” “A Plastic Ocean,” “The True Cost” and “Minimalism.”

For more suggestions, has compiled a list of 51 eco-friendly tips in honor of Earth Day’s 51st anniversary. Enjoy Earth Day!

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About the Contributor
Eden Leavey
Eden Leavey, Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Print
Eden Leavey (’24) is the Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Print of The Standard. Leavey’s passion for storytelling prompted her to join The Standard in Grade 9. Beyond journalism, she looks to tell stories through creative writing and photography as well as dance and movement. Separate from The Standard, Leavey leads the Sustainability Council and the Feminist Literature Book Club.

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