World environment day – why does it matter?

We cannot turn back time, the site for world environment day reminds us, but we can grow trees, green our cities, rewild our gardens, change our diets and clean up rivers and coasts.

World environment day has been recognised since 1972. Each year focuses on a distinct theme, with 2021 centred on ecosystem restoration. With such focus on global warming, other environmental damage is sometimes forgotten. However, pollution, biodiversity loss, and overextraction all occur regardless of greenhouse gas production. An area about the size of a football pitch is deforested every three seconds. Not only are we losing carbon sinks that can mitigate global warming, incredible numbers of plants, animals, and fungi are losing their habitats. Our planet exists in a fragile balance and environmental damage, no matter how far away, affects us. The pandemic has thrust this reality into the limelight; habitat destruction and wildlife exploitation increase our risk of exposure to zoonotic diseases such as Covid-19.

It’s not all doom and gloom

It’s easy to get caught up in the extraordinary challenges facing our environment but World Environment Day is about bringing people together; many small actions can add up to real change. At Magenta, community spirit and collective care define our work. As a small organisation, we are there to support one another in our work and the efforts we make outside of it. Company actions make it easier for individuals to make small but significant changes. For those looking to make changes in the workplace, we have some simple suggestions:

  • Buy recycled disposables – toilet paper, hand towels, and napkins – to help promote the circular economy.
  • Refill products where possible – soap, washing up liquid etc – or buy wholesale sized containers rather than many small plastic bottles.
  • Shop local. If your organisation provides fresh fruit or snacks, look for local products and seasonal fruit.

Positive action can also be part of team building. We are so lucky to be based in beautiful Brighton just minutes from the beach. Over lunch breaks and on team days, we take some time out to go on beach cleans. The website for World Environment Day offers suggestions for activities that can promote a healthy local environment. Whether carrying these out individually, with friends, or as an organisation, each person can help to make change.

Giving thanks

One final action that individuals can do is to take moments to appreciate their natural environment. Whether you’re based among swathes of beautiful countryside or a couple of trees brighten up your city street, nature plays a vital role in enhancing our daily life. Plants clean and filter pollutants from the air we breathe and make our environment more beautiful. Time spent in nature improves both our physical and mental health. Take time to appreciate the natural world. That might be easier said than done in the middle of winter when rain shrouds our houses and chills us to the bone. But a moment to appreciate what we have reminds us to take extra care for it and think twice about actions that do damage.

Ellie Davis