Earth Day 2021 comes at a time of significant change for the planet.

This year the organisers of Earth Day 2021 are asking us to renew our commitment to the planet with a message that exemplifies a year of ups and downs: ‘As the world returns to normal, we can’t go back to business-as-usual’.

In March 2020, as the pandemic swept across the world and forced us into lockdown, there seemed to grow a greater appreciation for the natural world. A drop in global emissions brought about by reduced international travel, the pause on commuting to and from work, and the forced adoption of shopping locally reminded many of the powers individual consumers have to facilitate and bring about change.

In part as a result of these sustainable shifts, governments pledged to use the pandemic as a launchpad for green recovery plans, with many setting high targets to reduce emissions and continue the fight against climate change.

Fast forward one year and those hopeful pledges remain just that - hopeful. With the International Energy Agency recently revealing that it predicts global emissions to skyrocket in 2021, the world seems to be creeping back to pre-pandemic normality. Despite this, governments continue to pledge ambitious targets. Only this week the UK government announced a new target to cut the country’s emissions output by 78% by the year 2035. Yet even with these impressive commitments from governments, individuals and brands alike still need to address their understanding of the environment and encourage positive change on a more local level.

Earth Day 2021 is aiming to bring this into sharp focus, with environmental literacy and education one of the online event’s biggest agenda points. Many believe that by pushing for more considered and compulsory education on the environment worldwide we will create a new generation of climate activists better placed than previous generations to save the planet.

This responsibility to educate a new generation of consumers is not just down to the government but also, to a certain extent, to brands. By prioritising sustainability in a way which does not impinge on brand experience or product quality, brands can encourage and educate consumers to make more environmentally conscious choices without compromise.

So today, on World Earth Day, as we look back on one of the strangest periods of time for our generation, let's take a moment to reflect on the positive changes that this tumultuous period can encourage. Let's discuss the opportunities for change and look to educate ourselves and the next generation.

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