Our planet is a magnificent place. It has an incredibly complex and vibrant ecosystem, where organisms interact with each other and their environment to create the ideal conditions for life.
However, humans have had a dramatic effect on our planet. Since recognizing that impact nearly fifty years ago, scientists and activists have been taking action to help slow or stop the negative toll we’ve had on the planet. Earth Day officially kicked off in 1970 help raise global awareness for protecting our planet. Fast forward to 2019 and this day of awareness has expanded beyond its activist roots to become a day of celebration and appreciation of the Earth and the life it supports. Earth Day now involves hundreds of thousands of events taking place in nearly 200 countries around the globe and committing over 2.5 billion acts of green.
Last year, Ambius celebrated 35 Earth Day initiatives with our customers across North America. We’re looking forward to engaging with more of our customers and communities to celebrate this special awareness day in 2019.
Why do we need to protect our species?
Each year, Earth Day has a special theme to help draw attention to a specific environmental issue. In 2019, the theme is Protect Our Species.
Every species has a unique purpose on our planet. Many directly influence human life, although we might not always be aware of those influences. The loss of species could dramatically impact us by contributing to climate change, reducing our food sources, and more.
Biodiversity is critical to our global ecosystem. The loss of a single species can have a ripple effect across the ecosystem. For example, warming global waters and human pollution of oceans have contributed significantly to the die-off of coral reefs. Coral reefs are home to an estimated quarter of all marine species, providing both shelter, food, and natural ocean cleaning capabilities. As coral reefs disappear or die, these species are put at risk. And that may put other species that depend on those species for food in danger. The effect keeps rippling up the food chain and across the environment.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species is one of the most comprehensive information sources on the status of species. It was established in 1964 and to date has assessed more than 96,500 species. Of those, 26,500 are threatened with extinction.
The number of land animals and marine life populations are estimated to have decreased by 40% since 1970. Threatened species don’t just include mammals – plants, marine life, insects, and fungi are also at risk.
Of special concern are pollinators: insects, animals, and birds that help transfer pollen in their natural interactions, enabling plants to continue growing and propagating. These plants contribute to our food supply, form the basis for products and raw materials that we use in our everyday lives, prevent soil erosion, and contribute to carbon reduction. Bees, butterflies, beetles, birds, bats, and even some small mammals are considered pollinators. Human actions that are contributing to climate change are having a dramatic effect on pollinators, which are especially susceptible to extreme weather.
To look up plants that are endangered or vulnerable in your area, visit the USDA’s Natural Resources and Conservation Service website.
In Canada, the Government of Canada lists all extirpated, threatened, and endangered species under the Species At Risk Act (SARA) Schedule 1. For a list of all species at risk in Canada, including plants, visit this link.
What can you do?
This all might seem like a lot to take in. You may wonder how one person can make a difference.
At Ambius, we believe each and every one of us can take action to protect our planet – and together, millions of everyday actions create a movement.
Here are some ideas to help your business and you as individuals make a difference to our environment, and ultimately, at-risk species.
- Make smart consumption choices. By choosing to buy sustainable or eco-friendly products, we can limit our impact on ecosystems where these species live.
- Reduce your energy use. Electricity, driving, travel, and even food choices can affect energy consumption, which puts a strain on natural resources and can impact species.
- Always consider your water consumption. From household chores to dining to plant care and gardening, you can reduce the amount of water you use.
- Use native plants outdoors. Including native plants in your exterior landscaping creates less strain on resources and supports local wildlife.
- Prevent plastic pollution. Plastic is choking our environment. It takes 10 years for an average plastic grocery bag to decompose; a water bottle takes 450 years.
- Think before you toss. The U.S. produces about 30% of the world’s waste. Each American throws away about 7 pounds of material per day. 30% of all U.S. garbage is packaging.
- Consider donating items that can be repurposed or take advantage of community recycling events. An estimated 20% of what we throw away is considered “durable goods” – furniture, appliances, etc. that could be repurposed.
- Green your business to have a larger impact. Businesses can reduce their overall carbon footprint AND influence employee behavior for a multiplied impact.
To make it easy for you to review and share, Ambius has compiled this 50-point checklist to inspire acts of green in your business.
Honoring Earth Day and protecting our species year-round
Many businesses and individuals also find ways to contribute directly to wildlife and species protection through action and donations. Here are ideas for your organization to explore:
- Learn about endangered or threatened species in your area. The more you and your teams know about vulnerable species in your area, the more you as a business and as an individual can take action to reduce the impact you have on them.
- Have a company outing to a National Park or wildlife refuge. These organizations often provide habitats for endangered or protected animals. Rangers and curators will often give presentations and educational tours for free or minimal cost.
- Plant a pollinator garden or have pollinator-friendly landscaping. Work with a local extension Specialist to determine native plant species in your area that could be helpful to pollinators.
- Participate in local waterway or wilderness clean up programs. Many local authorities have litter pickups and clean up programs in or near waterways or wilderness habitats and rely on individual volunteers to help make them happen. Cleanup efforts can impact mammal, marine, insect, and fungi wildlife by removing harmful human elements from their habitat. Combine a great team building exercise with helping the environment.
To help you and your teams honor the spirit of Earth Day year-round and take action in your local areas, Ambius has compiled this easy-to-share guide.
Partnering with Ambius to multiply your impact
Ambius is committed to helping our customers with their sustainability initiatives, including those listed below. Is your organization pursuing any of these initiatives? Can Ambius aid you in achieving any goals?
Biophilic design, a design principle that Ambius seeks to integrate into all of our work for customers, is an important aspect to these certifications. But how does this connect to Earth Day and protecting our species?
In the process of creating a biophilic design, a space or building is often made more earth-friendly. The introduction of natural elements can help improve air quality, reduce noise pollution, and introduce more natural light.
By making a building or space more earth-friendly, we are incrementally improving the environment. Even small or incremental improvements to the environment help our species. And remember – together, millions of everyday actions create a movement.
Ambius and Earth Day
On Earth Day, Ambius is proud to take part in this worldwide effort to raise awareness about our impact on the environment. We’re always “thinking green” for our colleagues, our customers, and the people they impact. However, this day is extra special because we join with organizations around the world in a unified call to action to create a greener, healthier world.
As an organization, we take our environmental responsibilities seriously. At the heart of our approach is a focus on our core values that drive us to do what’s right for colleagues and customers alike.
Water conservation is a key component of many sustainability initiatives. We have developed displays for many clients around the globe committed to reduced water consumption. Among the methods we have used are:
- Using grey water to water green walls can be watered with grey water
- Redirecting surplus water from a green wall system to greywater systems or diverting surplus water to a reed bed for treatment and further irrigation use
- Selecting water-wise plants. In areas facing droughts, our teams have introduced a range of low-water plants. Succulents and other plants from arid and semi-arid climate zones make great choices. Fitting plant displays with sub-irrigation systems which use less water; the roots are better developed and more efficient
- Designing plant displays with a top dressing that loses less water through surface evaporation
- Using terrariums, which are water efficient because they are a sealed system – evaporated water doesn’t all escape and ends up back in the soil.
Make Earth Day a focus year-round at your business
Most of us spend a large amount of time at work or in the office. Habits that employees pick up at work can ripple throughout their everyday life. This Earth Day, look around your workplace. What can you and your team do now or throughout the year to responsible earth citizens and environmental stewardship? How can you take an active role in the protection of our species?
Ambius is currently scheduling Earth Day events with our partners. If you are interested in hosting an event to share these facts and others with your larger team, reach out to your local Ambius office.
Not an Ambius customer? Give us a call at 800.581.9946 and let’s have a conversation about how we can help your business reach its wellness and sustainability goals.
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List
- EarthDay.org Protect Our Species Primer and Action Toolkit
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Government of Canada, List of wildlife species at risk: Schedule 1
- TIME, A Most Beautiful Death
- Plastic Oceans
- Our World in Data, Plastic Pollution, H. Ritchie, M. Roser
- Frontier Group, Trash in America: Moving from Destructive Consumption to a Zero Waste System