While places of work may have changed, one thing that hasn’t is the importance of continued effort to protect the environment. Celebrating Earth Day at work doesn’t have to take place in an office, and isn’t exclusive to just one day. This article will explain Earth Day’s origins, and a few fun Earth Day activities to implement in the workplace.
What is Earth Day?
Observed annually on April 22nd, Earth Day was started in 1970 as a result of public outcry for the preservation and protection of our planet. Prior to Earth Day’s inception, America proved indifferent to the detrimental effects of air pollution, waste, and contamination of environmental resources. U.S. Senator from Wisconsin Gaylord Nelson developed Earth Day with the hope of bringing political awareness to the harmful effects of such negligence.
Today, Earth Day is an international movement; a global effort to stand united against intentional (or unintentional) disregard of the ecosystem around us. More than 192 countries take part in marches and service projects contributing to a better planet.
Celebrating Earth Day at work is a great way to band together as peers to continue educating each other in an environment that produces a large amount of waste. Below are a few activities to make those efforts worth while.
Earth Day Activities at Work (or Home)
Recycling Game Show
The number one way to stimulate learning and retention is making the topic fun. Knowing employees in the workplace generate 85 pounds of waste per person, per year, reinforcing where and how that waste should be discarded is a beneficial endeavor. While signs above trash receptacles are effective, they do not translate as well outside the office.
An easy way to make the topic of recycling and conservation more engaging for employees, is by organizing a game show event – think Jeopardy – to polish their skills. The use of prizes such as reusable water bottles, company merchandise, gift cards, etc. will help employees retain what they learn and incorporate the lessons into their everyday lives.
After you are done, participants can put their recycling and waste management skills to the test with this in-depth Environmental Protection Agency game.
Decorate Reusable Water Bottles
The United States alone creates 50 billion disposable water bottles per year, using 17 million barrels of oil. Of those 50 billion bottles, just one out of five is properly recycled. That means that not only are we wasting resources creating large numbers of single-use plastic bottles, there are also 40 billion bottles that are ending up somewhere other than a recycling facility.
In the last few years, reusable water bottles have become a staple in many offices as a way to express oneself in addition to the numerous environment benefits. Why not leverage the organic adoption to establish a new norm both in and outside the workplace? A reusable water bottle decorating event is a fun, creative outlet for decompression and even a little competition. Stickers, markers, and the like take something purchased from the store and transform it into a source of pride. Those bottles will drastically cut down on single-use plastic and cup use around the office.
Organize a Volunteer Day of Service
If there is one thing that has been missing from the work day experience in the last year, it is the comradery and friendships driven by working hand-in-hand with your peers. As life continues to return to normal, organizing an outdoor day of service within a functional group or team can be a great way to catch up for a good cause.
From picking up litter in local parks, visiting a recycling center, and building bird feeders, to simply spreading awareness, nothing makes an impact like the collaborative mind. Making a commitment to act helps more people feel involved and develop a deeper appreciation for the natural resources around them. For more volunteer opportunities, click here.
Plant a Tree
700 pounds of paper are used by the average US citizen per year. Deforestation as a result of land development, fires, and climate change is one of the most pressing threats to the integrity of planet Earth. Every 1.2 seconds, man destroys an area of forest the size of a football field. That level of deforestation directly contributes to 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions leading to rapid climate change.
Tree planting is a tangible representation of the fight against deforestation, and one the entire office can watch grow year over year. In many ways a planted tree represents the growing commitment your team has made to each other and to the planet. Celebrating Earth Day at work will quickly become much more than a single action.
Saving the planet spans far beyond Earth Day. Every action, however small, makes a world of difference. Incorporating the above activities into every day routines will protect our planet and finite natural resources for years to come. So be smart, tell a friend, and most importantly, have fun!
To learn more about Earth Day and how your workplace can get involved, please visit the official website here.