Sustainability and diversity are what we value most at The Spearhead Group. On this Earth Day 2022, we want to share a call to action: Climate Change is a serious issue and there are positive actions we can take. Currently, CO2 emissions into our atmosphere are rapidly outpacing efforts to cut back. Carbon is a long-term pollutant that stays in the atmosphere much longer than other emissions. Sadly, 40% of CO2 emitted 100 years ago is still in our atmosphere today.
Here’s a visual to consider from the recent
SPC Conference. Picture the Earth’s atmosphere like a bathtub, where the running taps represent CO2 emissions, and the open drain is the natural flow through the Earth. The tub is filling faster than it drains, causing it to overflow. We experience this overflow as Climate Change, a negative state that impacts us all.
There is no one solution, rather many. Here’s what the science and data tell us:
- Recycle More – consumers need more information about the rules of recycling; municipalities need to get behind this; and we need to replace packaging that is not fully recyclable (due to the design and substrates used) or properly marked for recycling (i.e., PET windows on cartons that need to be removed before recycling). It’s confusing to consumers, and we can do better. Let’s design packaging with recycling in mind.
- Reduce Food Waste – Americans waste 63 million tons of food a year! 85% of that waste comes from retail businesses and homes. Here’s why this matters: food waste consumes 21% of all drinking water, 19% of all fertilizer, 18% of cropland and 21% of landfill volume. There are many studies and efforts to try and curb this, but consumer behavior needs to change. We all play a role here!
- Design for Material Efficiency – Let’s commit to reducing the volume of corporate packaging, so less ends up downstream. Packaging design should be as minimalist as possible, enough to attract consumers without adding to waste and landfills.
- Remove CO2 from the Atmosphere – Yes, this can be done! Scientists are actively exploring new technologies to remove CO2 from our atmosphere. This would assist the earth’s natural carbon cycle and there is still a lot of research pending, but it is one part of the Climate Change solution.
- Increase Renewable Energy – Choices matter: choose suppliers that utilize renewable energy to power their operations.
- Reduce Fossil Carbon Use – this goes together with actively choosing renewable energy solutions.
- Use Negative Emission Technologies (NETs) – if long-term climate targets are to be met, large quantities of CO2 will need to be removed from the atmosphere and stored on a permanent or long-term basis. NETs are a broad range of strategies, designed to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere once it has already been released. These approaches either have not yet been tested in practice or are not ready for deployment on the scale that would be required to affect the climate. Negative Emission Technologies would remove CO2 permanently from the earth’s natural cycle. In order to truly see successful results from NETs, we first need to decrease our overall carbon emissions by ending our use of and dependence on fossil fuels.
We have a Climate Change crisis. Nobody can solve it alone and there is no one solution. Remember the original Earth Day tagline? Think globally, act locally. Together we can make a difference.