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Today 22 April 2020 is #EarthDay

Its an international celebration and day of action to build the world’s largest environmental movement to drive transformative change for people and the planet.

The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. The enormous challenge - but also the vast opportunities - of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary Earth Day. 

 

What we're doing to mark Earth Day

Connected Voice is playing its part, and will continue to encourage and support local action across the charities, community organisations and social enterprises here in the North-East. We'd originally planned to host the second of our six Focused Networking Events of 2020 today - but for obvious reasons it can't be the 'in-person' meeting we originally intended.

We'd organised a range of speakers from local organisations working in Gateshead, Newcastle and the wider region, each doing world-class, innovative and dynamic projects in different aspects of environmental engagement and action.  A couple of them have been able to quickly put together short videos for us, and we're expecting more in the coming days to add to this page. 

For the other speakers listed below, We've added weblinks to their online presence (where possible) so that you can easily and quickly get an insight into the kinds of things they do, what lessons you can learn from their experience and activities. We'd actively encourage you to make links with them, explore partnership opportunities, and consider ways that you can bring elements of what they do into your own organisation, project, work, or personal life. 

The Climate Emergency is still with us, and ahead of us. It might feel irrelevant while we are dealing with a health crisis in the here and now, or daunting that we have another emergency to tackle In the future.

The first Earth Day #EarthDay was in 1970. A lot has changed since. The past is clear. What will the future look like? It depends on the choices we make today. #StayHome and #LearnWithMe about how Earth is responding to our habits.

Take a look at this short video to give some context about the last 50 years of climate change and climate action 

 

The last few weeks have shown us that human behaviour has a direct and noticeable effect on the environment - with so many people staying indoors, working from home, and not travelling in cars and planes, air quality has improved. Scientists measure this and produce graphs and data tables; but recently people all over the world have begun sharing photos of views they haven’t seen in years due to air pollution. Others are noting that the sky seems more blue or that they are using their asthma medication less and less. 

Let's move on with a look at the global picture with a short video from António Guterres United Nations Secretary-General to mark Earth Day 2020 and put it into a current context. 

 

Covid-19 is a global pandemic; here in Newcastle and Gateshead people and organisations are facing the same kind of fears and challenges that others in places such as New York, Mumbai, Sydney, Manila and Oslo are dealing with. We truly are all in this together, sharing an experience as a global community. And, acting locally, as family, friends and neighbours - and even as strangers. The actions we are all taking - staying home, social distancing, helping one another - are making a difference. As long as we keep doing them, they will keep making a difference.

It is easy to forget, while times are so strange and our lives disrupted, that we all face another global challenge; Climate Change.

 

What's happening locally?

Time to take a look at some of the brilliant work being done right here in the North-East of England. Click on the titles to go directly to their websites:

Project Bind/Magic Hat Cafe is our local not-for-profit organisation that promotes positive, creative approaches to reducing food waste. They've done amazing things to adapt their activity and have put together this brilliant new video for us to share their experience and practical ideas for your own organisation.

 

Food Newcastle is a partnership of businesses, organisations and individuals with a passion, interest or remit around various aspects of good food. Find out what it means to be a Sustainable Food City and how it can help you.

 

Fix It Café – A new local initiative, part of a global movement, that runs pop-up workshops for people to bring their broken things to re-use, repair and get the opportunity to re-discover the skills, knowledge and companionship of fixing things. 

 

North East Wilds – Sharing their aim to get people of all ages spending more time outdoors, immersed in nature to improve their mental health and wellbeing. Collaborative working has been key to their success, and maybe you could be their next partner

 

Scotswood Natural Community Garden – How they’ve created a garden that works with nature and run it as a great place for people and wildlife to enjoy, and is all about community. They are extremely busy using their kitchens to provide food for local vulnerable people, but as things progress, they're keen to share ideas and practical tips about how you can use your organisation’s open space like this too.

 

Newcastle Wood Recycling is all about diverting unwanted timber from being wasted, while creating employment, training and volunteering opportunities to people in the community. Their strap-line is 'We Love Wood'. They collect waste timber, and it’s used to create beautiful furniture and woodwork pieces for homes, gardens, organisations and businesses, or sold on for DIY material or as firewood. Like many organisations, they've had to suspend their normal operations. As things begin to return to a little more like 'normal', perhaps you could think about ways that your project could work together with them.

 

Practical ideas

There are some practical steps that each of us can take, as organisations, projects, families (of all kinds) and as individuals, even during the global pandemic. Here are a few ideas:

https://www.earthday.org/11-actions-for-the-planet-during-a-pandemic/ and https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-tips/ 

 

Final thoughts

We’ve learned that we can change the way we live, work and travel - these weeks of ‘lockdown’ have proved that we are actually amazing at adapting to challenges and coming together to find solutions to them.

And, we’ve seen that while Covid-19 has kept us apart, it has also brought us together. It has demonstrated that when we work together on a local level, we can make a difference not only in our communities but also nationally and globally.

None of us will ever forget our experience of living through these times. And, when they are over, we should remember that the changes we made and the way we worked together had an impact. 

We can do this again, to combat the Climate Emergency; and it will start in the same way, with acting local. 

We've seen the most inspiring, imaginative and committed action from local organisations here in our region in the last few weeks, and we know that you can all bring your resilience, humour and courage to the future of our planet too.

Stay Safe, Stay Strong and we'll see you at our next Focused Networking Event, in whatever format we are able to bring it to you.