SWOX Impact: Celebrating Earth Day 2020

At SWOX we are honoring Earth Day 2020. This Wednesday April 22, Earth Day is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Though this year Earth Day will be different in many ways. Usually demonstrations and actions on a political thus social level are base lining the efforts around this annual day to celebrate a sustainable lifestyle. This year, not only do we have time to educate ourselves more in depth, but also see what changes in our lifestyle (hello business trips and 3 surf trips every year) are needed in order to urgently reduce CO2 emissions.
For the Earth Day’s 50th birthday we are taking you back in time with a little history lesson. We are also going to show you what SWOX is doing to be as sustainable as possible this year. On top of that we want to give you a run-down of things you can do – now, during this pandemic lockdown – to live more sustainable.
happy birthday earth day

Up until the 1960s it wasn’t part of the political agenda to protect the environment and the Earth resources. This changed after marine biologist Rachel Carson published her bestselling book “Silent Spring”. Selling more than 500,000 copies in over 20 countries, it raised public awareness for the environment and the complex relationships between pollution and public health.

In 1969 peace activist John McConnell proposed a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, which was supposed to be celebrated at the official first day of spring each year. A flag designed by McConnell with the famous photograph “Blue Marble”, taken of the Earth by the Apollo17 crew from space, should later become the Earth Day’s unofficial flag.

A separate Earth Day was founded a month later and celebrated for the first time, a year later on April 22, 1970 founded by United States Senator Gaylord Anton Nelson. Nelson’s campaign inspired 20 million people all over the US to educate, demonstrate and protest. In 1970 this was an equivalent of 10% of the population.

“The wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters and telephone inquiries poured in from all across the country. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes and air—and they did so with spectacular exuberance.”

Gaylord Anton Nelson

New York Times of April 23, 1970 showing masses gather in the streets of New York – Photo: New York Times Twitter Archive

Learn More about the History of Earth DAy

When in 1990 the ways of communication were manifold compared to 1970, Earth Day went global for the first time. Denis Hayes, who was the national student coordinator for the first Earth Day in 1970, was approached by environmental leaders and then led 200 million people in 141 countries to lift environmental issues onto the world stage. The 1990 Earth Day gave a big boost to global recycling efforts.

For the first time Earth Day organizers took advantage of the internet to spread the word in 2000. Denis Hayes spearheaded hundreds of millions of activists in over 180 countries bringing the dangerous effects of global warming and a push for clean energy to the attention of world leaders.

The success of former Earth Days was continued through the 2000s and 2010s. Record numbers of participants at a record number of events each year formed to speak up about topics such as fighting the extinction of species and plastic pollution, securing clean air and water, fostering reforestation and battling climate change. Participant numbers are in the billions worldwide.

The theme for Earth Day 2020 is “climate action”. Climate change might be the biggest challenge mankind is currently facing, thus action has to be taken now.

swox impact for climate action on earth day 2020

Acting sustainable, as a corporation has been part of the SWOX mission from the very beginning. As surfers and ocean enthusiasts it’s especially important for us to keep our oceans clean and to fight as hard as we can to reduce our brand’s carbon footprint. We take a close look at our ingredients, our production, our packaging and the supply chain. With SWOX Impact we started a movement to educate and inspire our community with the newest research, environmental success stories from our athletes and stories like the one you are reading.

By sourcing our products solely in Europe, we keep our supply chains as short as possible. The SWOX list of ingredients excludes hormones, parabens, perfumes and alcohol. SWOX mineral sunscreen is also Oxybenzon, Octycylen and Octinoxat free and therefore “reef safe”. These ingredients are known to cause damage to reefs and other organisms in the ocean. On top of that we see our formulations as a work-in-progress along with scientific research. This is why you can be sure we are already working on the next-big-thing behind the scenes.

We are aware that there’s no such thing as a perfectly sustainable plastic. At SWOX sun protection we are trying to go the best way we see as of now for the environment and our customers. In order to keep the packaging lightweight, hygienic and environmental friendly, we are working with I’M GREEN ® plastic tubes. While sugarcane plants grow they absorb carbon gas in the air. In mills this sugarcane is then transformed into ethanol. A Braskem® plant later transforms this ethanol into Green Polyethylene and Green EVA, which are used to make for example SWOX sun protection tubes. These tubes can also be recycled.

While we try to do our part every day, we urge you to do yours through the #SWOXimpact initiative. On our website we constantly present new ways to live a more sustainable life and to reduce your own carbon footprint. SWOX Impact covers topics like renewable energies, reducing plastic pollution, conserving drinking water or how you can switch to a more plant-based diet to fight against global warming.

SWOX Athlete Claudia Goncalves during a Parley x WSL beach clean-up in Bali 

earth day during a global pandemic

We experience many “firsts” right now. Earth Day during a global pandemic is one of them. Earth Day 2020 will take place in a locked-down world. Around the globe people see nature taking their territory back. Wildlife is roaming in empty streets. Animals that haven’t been spotted for decades make an appearance. While we don’t know if this is really nature blossoming or us being more vigilant of our surroundings, having more time on hand to observe, it’s positive and soothes our pandemic shook souls.

Although photographs from around the world show cleaner air in big metropolitan areas and lower levels of adverse microscopic particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide are actually being reported, it’s not the time to sit back an take a break from the fight to stop climate change. Oksana Tarasova, Head of Atmospheric Environment Research Division at the World Meteorological Organization told Euro NewsIf we look at how the levels of atmospheric CO2 are formed, it’s not annual emissions in particular which are controlling the levels; it’s the whole accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere since pre-industrial times which actually form the current level. So, the reduced emissions within one particular year of this scale are very unlikely to have an impact on global levels of carbon dioxide“.

Sad news? Not at all! Take this as an opportunity to realize what changes in our own behavior, sometimes as small as only going grocery shopping once a week instead of driving every other day or setting up a meeting online instead of flying-in colleagues from across the country, could lead us to.

SIX ideas for a curfew earth day 2020

#1: Go plant-based and do more cooking

We are all in for supporting your local small businesses. Order dinner from your favorite restaurant. And give a generous tip. Yet, when you cook, cook from scratch, using fresh organic ingredients. Do more actual cooking. Furthermore the best way to reduce your own carbon footprint is by going plant-based all together. Read more about how a switch or partial switch can work in one of our most read #SWOXimpact articles here. Now is a great time to ease yourself, your family and your stomach into a more plant-based diet. Take time to try new vegan and vegetarian recipes and to try which plant-based milk you prefer in your coffee.

#2: Reading over streaming

We get it, binging a show and watching movies keeps our sanity sometimes. In Germany streaming is supposedly up 45% at the moment. In America a new study showed that people are streaming an average of 8 hours per day are finishing and average of three TV series per week. Servers are using energy per se, have to be cooled by ventilators using more energy and so on.

But reading a book enlightens the soul and keeps your mind moving by only using a few pages of recyclable paper. Stay salty while reading about surfing this pandemic: How about William Finnegans “The Barbarian Days” or Chas Smith’s “Welcome to paradise, now go to hell” (discover more surf related books here)?

#3: Educate yourself about politics & environmental topics

Seems like you have already started with this one. You’ve made it to this point in this article. Now it’s on you to dig deeper for facts. EarthDay.org is a great way to start your research. If you have any kind of elections in your City, County or Country coming up, pledge to get three of your friends to vote for the Earth. Support groups like POW (protect our winters) or the Surfrider Foundation with memberships, donations and action.

#4: Switch to Green Power

Speaking about streaming more during this pandemic. Chances are you are using more energy in general at the moment. Time to dive deeper into the renewable energy topic. The power sector is one of the biggest, if not the biggest emitter of CO2 of all. Switching your household to green power is easier than most people think. One of our favorite SWOX Impact blog posts talks about renewable energies and what you can do today – Day number…duh, does it even matter… of quarantine.

#5: Start making a plan what you would like to do when lockdown ends and focus on carbon friendly sustainable adventures.

While some countries are already starting to opening up certain businesses and activities, most of the world’s citizens are still on lockdown mode. If you find yourself daydreaming of what you want to do when things are improving, be smart about it. Make a list of places and activities you really miss and would love to see and do. Take time to think it through and focus on sustainability.

#6: Make a window sign!

Running and walking are some of the activities which are allowed almost everywhere during this pandemic. Especially while walking the streets we gaze into windows. No better time to spread your message right there, in your window. Align your message with the Earth Day 2020 theme “Climate Action” or just come up with something that’s important to you or at the place you live. Don’t forget to post a picture and tag #SWOXimpact for all of us to be able to take a peek into your window!

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