Earth Day 2024

World Earth Day will take place on the 22nd April 2024. This year, the theme is Planet vs. Plastics, and EARTHDAY.ORG is calling on everyone – individuals, businesses, organisations, and governments – to unite and tackle plastic usage and production. This movement demands a 60% reduction in plastic production by 2040, and the elimination of single use plastics by 2030, paving the way for a plastic free future.

The main goals of Earth Day are to:

  1. Promote awareness of the damage done to plastic to human and animal health and all biodiversity and ask for more research to be done on the health implications.
  2. Rapidly phase out all single use plastics by 2030 and achieve this phase out commitment in the United Nations Treaty on Plastic Pollution in 2024.
  3. Call for policies that end the scourge of fast fashion and the vast amount of plastic it produces and uses.
  4. Invest in innovative technologies and materials to build a plastic free world.

What’s the harm with plastics?

Sometimes it is easy to think that as long as we recycle the plastic we use then it is fine to use it. Whilst recycling is critically important, ideally we want to minimise the amount of plastic we use altogether. Plastics do not only pose an imminent environmental issue, but also a significant threat to human health. As plastics breakdown into microplastics, they are released into our food and water sources and circulate in the air.

Although plastic reduction and ultimately elimination are incredibly important, did you know that the United Nations has 17 sustainable goals to consider when thinking about the health of our planet? You can find out more about these here.

What can be done in school?

We know that climate change and the health of the planet are some of the main concerns that children and young people have, and anxiety about the changes to our climate is unfortunately an increasing issue experienced by young people. So what can you do in school this Earth Day?

  • take a look on the Earth Day website to find out more about the plastics vs. planet movement
  • check out the Plastics Health Research Module in the Earth Hub for fact sheets, toolkits, press releases, and articles
  • think about what you can do in school to make your school environment more sustainable – take a look on Eco Schools website and use their school framework
  • form a student group or committee focused on sustainability, and/or have this as a standing agenda item on your School Council
  • speak to your school chef or catering provider about how to reduce waste and single use plastic in the kitchen
  • take a look at our Growing and Sustainability section on our website

What are you doing in school to be more sustainable and look after our planet? We would love to hear from you! Please comment below and if you have any questions please send them through to dswp@devon.gov.uk.

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