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22nd April 2024

Earth Day – 22nd April 2024 – Planet vs Plastics

Since 1970, April 22nd has been designated as Earth Day, a time to recognise and celebrate our remarkable planet and highlight the immense potential in conservation and sustainability. For 2024, the theme is Planet vs Plastics, highlighting the target of achieving 60% reduction in the production of all plastics by 2040, and the elimination of single-use plastics by 2030. 

Collective action is essential to achieve these targets. More plastic has been produced in the last 10 years than in the entire 20th century, and the industry continues to grow; a particularly shocking prediction is that according to current trends, and measuring by weight, by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans. Our feature photo above is from the MAC-CAN Big Beach Clean in 2022, where volunteers helped remove plastics and other litter that had washed up on the shore. Volunteers can only do so much, and bringing about change requires policy and regulatory action, as well as individual changes in consumer habitats. With one million plastic bottles purchased every minute worldwide, shifts to reusable and sustainable alternatives are imperative, as well as investment in new technologies to create sustainable alternatives to plastic. 

As well as reducing our reliance on plastics, we can help the planet in many other nature-focused ways. One of our most inspiring initiatives currently underway is the South Ayrshire Small-Scale Tree Planting scheme, with the first grants awarded this year. So far, £4000 in grants has been distributed and over 250 young trees are already in the ground in community areas and other publicly-accessible green spaces (photo below). This partnership project is led by the GSA Biosphere thanks to the support of South Ayrshire Council, and will provide multiple benefits for the planet and people in the years to come: slowing runoff from fields, providing more shade to watercourses, improving biodiversity, and providing food for birds, pollinators and people.

On the importance of this awareness day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said “Repairing relations with Mother Earth is the mother of all of humanity’s challenges.  We must act — and act now — to create a better future for us all.”

Kathleen Rogers, President of the Earth Day Organisation adds, In the case of plastics, we have become the product itself – it flows through our blood stream, adheres to our internal organs, and carries with it heavy metals known to cause cancer and disease. Now this once-thought amazing and useful product has become something else, and our health and that of all other living creatures hangs in the balance. The Planet vs. Plastics campaign is a call to arms, a demand that we act now to end the scourge of plastics and safeguard the health of every living being upon our planet.”

You can read more about the Planet vs Plastics Earth Day campaign here, and if you can, try and take a moment this Earth Day to get out, connect with nature, and think about any small changes achievable at home, work, or in leisure time that could make a difference. Our Adventures in Nature series explores some of our favourite spots in the Biosphere for experiencing the beauty of nature on Earth Day or any other time. And don’t forget: if you have a nature-based project you’d like to discuss, the GSA Biosphere Partnership works with private, public and third sector partners on land use and biodiversity projects large and small. Contact to find out more.

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