Climate change and other environmental degradations have broken the earth’s natural systems, leading to increased frequency of disasters, new and fatal diseases, and the breakdown of the global economy. “But just as climate change and coronavirus painfully remind us of the harm we’ve caused,” EARTHDAY.ORG states, “Restore Our Earth reminds us of the opportunities that lay ahead.”
With the mission of diversifying, educating, and activating the environmental movement worldwide, EARTHDAY.ORG has over 150,000 partners in nearly 192 countries, helping to build environmental democracy. It says that more than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, “making it the largest civic observance in the world.”
Taking place April 20-22 (with the official “Earth Day” being April 22nd), this year’s Earth Day will find volunteers from all over the world coming together to create a cleaner planet via a global cleanup effort that kicked off earlier this month. “The Great Global Cleanup’s goal is to remove a billion pieces of trash from our parks, beaches, cities, waterways, and wherever waste is found,” the organization states.
In tandem with the Biden Administration’s global climate summit, EARTHDAY.ORG will be holding its second Earth Day Live digital event on April 22nd, with workshops, panel discussions, and special performances all centered on the Restore Our Earth theme. “We’ll cover natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems,” the organization states.
51 Years and Growing Strong
The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, when Americans were asked to join in a grassroots demonstration. Dealing with dangerously serious issues concerning toxic drinking water, air pollution, and the effects of pesticides, an impressive 20 million Americans—10% of the population—ventured outdoors and protested together, The Old Farmer’s Almanac reports.
Fifty-one years later, Earth Day continues to grow, expand, and address an even wider range of environmental issues and concerns. According to the Almanac, it’s also becoming a popular time for many communities to gather together to clean up litter, plant trees, or simply reflect on the beauty of nature.
As a global leader in sustainability, DB Schenker is a German-based operation whose very roots are planted in a country that’s well known for its broad, effective environmental programs. “At our headquarters in Essen, Germany, there are laws in place that mandate the reporting of waste data that an operation produces,” said Allen Lau, Quality & Sustainability Manager at DB Schenker. “We use a third-party provider to measure exactly how much waste is produced, what’s being thrown out, and whether it’s being recycled properly.”
Earth Day at Home
With the global pandemic forcing many people to work remotely, DB Schenker is offering ideas that people can use to be “greener” while working from home. It set up an Earth Day contest that encourages employees to upload pictures showing how they’ve helped to restore the planet. Lau says that the top 10 submissions and the top two “green acts” will all receive cool prizes.
“There are many different ways to celebrate at home or in your backyard using the concepts of ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Restore,” he adds. “We want people to take pictures of what they’re doing that’s good for the environment and then post them.”
Some examples include building a compost pile in your backyard using coffee grounds, eggshells, and food scraps. Another idea is to replace any old light bulbs with more energy-efficient LED bulbs. Families that are quarantining together could spend a few hours on a weekend morning cleaning up their neighborhood and gathering cans/bottles to recycle. Or, a small group could get together to clean up a local park.
“Here at DB Schenker, we found a nearby park that had been neglected by the local community,” Lau explained. “We gathered a group of 20 employees (it was pre-COVID) and got together one weekend to clean up the park. We ended up gathering a couple of hundred pounds of garbage through that effort.”
As a global organization, DB Schenker has also been doing its part to ensure that its own operations—plus those of its customers—are operating as sustainably as possible. It’s in the process of transitioning over to using electric vehicles (EV) across much of its fleet by 2030, and particularly for its urban/last-mile deliveries.
For example, this year DB Schenker will start using a 100% electric truck fleet in Brazil, where the company will help luxury brands reduce their carbon footprints while also creating an increasingly eco-conscious supply chain and transportation network.
DB Schenker is also working with Lufthansa Cargo, which recently began using aircraft that rely on 100% renewable biofuel. “DB Schenker was one of the first Lufthansa customers to utilize that new aircraft,” said Lau.
In November, the first fully greenhouse gas (GhG) neutralized freighter (B777-F) of Lufthansa Cargo completed a charter flight from Frankfurt to Shanghai (and back). Powered by 100% allocated SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel), the plane was loaded with DB Schenker cargo on behalf of its customers Merck KGaA (Germany) and Siemens Healthineers.
DB Schenker Cares
Lau said Earth Day is important to DB Schenker because one its top goals as a company is to be a sustainability leader. “Earth Day really allows us to communicate that message and the importance of sustainability across our entire organization,” Lau said. “To our customers, many of which are green-conscious, I can honestly say that DB Schenker takes sustainability very seriously in our heart as we work with customers to establish the most efficient and green way to move their cargo around the world.”