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Earth Day: Become an agent of change!

April 22, 2024
Earth Day: Become an agent of change!

Save the planet, plant a polluter! That's how a humour magazine from the 90s defined the fight against climate change! Thankfully, awareness and mobilisation have come a long way since then.

The importance of taking care of our environment and our planet is well established. We live it every day at both micro and macro levels. Although citizens, schools, businesses, towns, and movements all mobilise for Earth Day on April 22, individual and collective actions take place every day of the year.

But on this Earth Day, what can we do without succumbing to greenwashing? The issues are many: global warming, water shortages, the disappearance of bees, food waste, heat islands and so on.

Earth Day is a time of year when we can pause to reflect on our behaviour and the positive actions we can take. These are global New Year's resolutions! They say that every gesture counts. If, today, one more person adopts composting, one more city bans plastic utensils, or one more company promotes sustainable mobility among its staff, we've gained something! All these small initiatives will change our daily lives and benefit future generations.

Because these young people will inherit this planet and they can see the state we will leave it in. Since birth, they have witnessed a large number of floods, forest fires, and various storms, all of which, it is constantly repeated, are caused by the degraded state of our environment. These catastrophes have had such an impact on younger generations that we now talk about eco-anxiety. According to a Léger survey from 2021, 73% of young Quebecers aged 18 to 34 would consider themselves ecoanxious, i.e. worried about the impact of our behaviour on the planet.

In Canada, we are very lucky compared to other parts of the world. While some cities like Barcelona ration their drinking water, Canada is the 3rd country in the world in terms of renewable freshwater resources (12% of its territory). And while Athens is courting the title of Europe's hottest capital due to its lack of green spaces, it's worth noting that 87% of Canadians have a tree, bush or hedge on their property. The ratio of trees to people in Canada is 9,000, one of the highest in the world.

But we can't take these facts for granted. Thanks to days like Earth Day, we can highlight actions and behaviours designed to ensure that future generations benefit from the good fortune we have had.

There are three words to remember: awareness, mobilisation, and action. To take action, you have to want it and you have to know it. While over 96% of consumers now bring their reusable bag to the grocery shop, it took vision and a willingness to act to make it happen.

At NATIONAL Montreal, this awareness does exist. We have adopted recycling (paper, cans, batteries), composting, we have filtered water instead of bottled water, we reduce the use of paper to its simplest expression, we have a substantial contribution from our employer which finances our monthly public transport tickets and so on.

This year, to mark Earth Day, all colleagues have been given a little plant to decorate their desk. Everyone can take a moment to think about how they can still make a difference. At NATIONAL, it's Earth Day every day. Not only do we apply best practices in the office, but we share them with our clients so that they too can implement these corporate social responsibility initiatives.

The Turks have a very wise proverb worth mentioning: "It's by planting 'Ifs' that 'Nothings' grow".

In other words, let's stop hesitating and act before it's too late.