World Environment Day 2022 – #OnlyOneEarth

Sunday 5th of June 2022 was World Environment Day.

What is World Environment Day?

Led by the United Nations Environment Programme since 1973, World Environment Day is the world’s biggest international day for environmental awareness. Each year, 150 countries participate in the event to engage governments, businesses and communities to both celebrate environmental action and drive the changes needed to reduce global warming.

This year’s event was hosted by Sweden and the theme for 2022 was #OnlyOneEarth. ‘Only One Earth’ was the slogan fifty years ago at the UN’s 1972 Conference on the Environment – the first-ever world conference about environmental issues and management. Fifty years on, our collective global progress on environmental safeguards is still not quite where it needs to be.

How is Shred Station working towards minimising environmental impacts?

A lot of pressure falls on individuals to manage and reduce emissions and the climate crisis is taking a growing toll on mental health, with eco-anxiety increasingly prevalent in children and young people.

While minimising our individual emissions is extremely important, business emissions far outweigh residential emissions in the UK.

At Shred Station, we believe that minimising environmental damage should be a top priority for all businesses. Here are just some of the measures we’ve taken to reduce our environmental impacts*:

  • 6,200 tonnes of carbon offset since 2019 as part of our CarbonNeutral® certification.
  • 4,397 trees planted as part of our Shred a Tonne, Plant a Tree scheme.
  • 175 additional trees planted across six continents in 2021 to celebrate National Tree Week.
  • Euro 6 low emission fleet.
  • 55,000 tonnes of paper shredded and recycled in 2021.
  • 0 sent to landfill as part of our strict Zero to Landfill policy.
  • 46,519 kWh solar power generated at our Norwich head office in 2021.
  • 2,595 / 10,000 trees planted so far in 2022 as part of our 10,000 Tree Challenge, with many more fundraising activities still to come.

We are also exploring electric trucks for our fleet, and have begun replacing our company cars and forklifts with hybrid or fully electric models.

Why YOU should care about climate change.

The most significant effect of climate change will be extreme weather. This will dramatically affect crop yields and the health of livestock, impacting the availability of food. It will also mean rising sea levels and sea temperatures, and an increase in wildfires. This will affect ecosystems and the food chain further. Some of these effects are already being seen today. Unfortunately, it’s developing countries that will be hit the hardest by climate change as they often rely very heavily on crop yields, and these nations don’t necessarily have the position on the global stage to incite meaningful change in large polluting countries.

The world’s largest polluters, unsurprisingly, tend to be more economically developed countries. Complacency and inaction from these nations have led to catastrophic global impacts, and these nations are now beginning to feel the repercussions of this complacency.

Australia, which has higher emissions per person than any other country, encountered the worst bushfires the country has ever seen in 2019-2020. The unrelenting fires engulfed 28,571 square miles of eucalyptus forest. Three billion animals were killed or harmed. Thirty-four humans died. Three-thousand and ninety-four homes were also destroyed.

The state of California also saw five of the largest fires in state history in 2020. The August complex fire in Northern California alone ripped through 1,609 square miles (around 1.03m acres). One firefighter was killed, and two others were seriously injured. 935 buildings were also destroyed.

For many of us, these issues are out of sight, and, unfortunately out of mind for some. But global warming will affect all of our lives, from large issues such as the availability of food to smaller impacts that will affect our daily routines.

Here are some of the secondary effects of climate change that you may not be aware of:

Most coffee species will be at the risk of extinction

Coffee is quite a hard crop to grow successfully. It grows best in the shade and at high altitudes, under specific temperatures and humidity levels. As global temperatures rise, the conditions to grow coffee will not be as widely available. The temperature rise could also mean that coffee-killing funguses will be able to thrive. Already, 60% of wild coffee species are under the threat of extinction. This includes the world’s most popular coffee species, Arabica. Not only does this mean a loss in livelihood for coffee farmers, but it will also likely mean a soar in coffee prices and also a reduction in coffee quality.

Seasonal allergies will get more intense and will last longer

As temperatures rise, pollen production increases. Because we are experiencing periods of prolonged warmer weather, the pollen count in the air is higher for longer. If you’ve ever experienced hay fever, this spells bad news.

In the grand scheme of things, these impacts are minor compared to the larger issues caused by climate change. But, if you’re someone that needs a cup of coffee in the morning to get you ready for the day, or someone who suffers from hay fever, it could be time to rethink your carbon emissions both at home and at work.

There are many other impacts that experts expect to see in the next 30 years if we do not act to decrease global warming.

Our homes will flood, both on the coast and in the capital

Climate change is causing sea levels to rise, and flooding is already being seen around the UK’s coastal communities. In 2018, the UK’s Climate Change Committee said that by 2080, up to 1.5 million properties (including 1.2 million homes in England) may be facing a significant risk of flooding. Coastal erosion may also pose a risk to around 100,000 properties in England. These aren’t all predicted at the coast, either. In another study by Gamma, the top ten areas most at risk of being underwater by 2050 include Great Yarmouth, East Riding of Yorkshire, Conwy in Wales, Chichester, Portsmouth, West Berkshire, Arun in West Sussex, Merton in London, Worthing, and London’s Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

These are just some of the many effects of climate change, and we must all work together to combat global warming.

On World Environment Day this year, the UN developed a ‘Practical Guide to Living Sustainably in Harmony with Nature’ to help us all do just that. You can view and download the guide by clicking here.

*Information correct at time of writing: 06/06/2022.

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