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Earth Day 2021 – Restore our Earth

Elena Davis, Social Media Manager and DE Marketer Apr 16, 2021

Earth Day started in 1970 to mark the birth of the modern environmental movement and has been bringing together businesses, non-profits and individuals on the 22nd April every year. In this blog I’ll be exploring the origins of this movement, which celebrated its 50th year in 2020, and how this applies to the data centre sector.

Why did Earth Day begin?

In the decades leading up to the first Earth Day, americans were consuming huge amounts of leaded gas through massive and inefficient cars. Air pollution wasn’t seen as a hazard but was accepted as the smell of prosperity. Mainstream America remained largely oblivious to environmental concerns until this point.

The big watershed moment happened in 1962 when Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring was published. The book sold over 500,000 copies in 24 countries and raised public awareness of the environment, living organisms, and the undeniable links between pollution and public health.

Denis Allen Hayes, a Harvard student, was recruited by Senator Gaylord Nelson to organise the first ever Earth Day. Together they chose April 22, which was a weekday between Spring Break and Final Exams. The date was set to maximise student involvement for the movement. 

Recognising its potential to inspire all Americans, Hayes employed 85 staff members nationwide to promote events. They changed the name to Earth Day, which immediately sparked national media attention, and caught on across the country. The first Earth day is believed to have inspired around 20 million Americans — at the time, 10% of the total population of the United States — to take to the streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate against the impacts of 150 years of industrial development which had left a growing legacy of serious human health impacts. Thousands of colleges and universities organised protests against the deterioration of the environment and there were massive coast-to-coast rallies in cities, towns, and communities.

1990 marks the year that Earth Day first went global. Around 200 million people in 141 countries participated in Earth Day that year and it gave a huge boost to worldwide recycling issues, as well as helping to pave the way for the United Nations Earth Summit in 1992.

Where are we now?

Last year, 22nd April 2020, marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. In these 50 years the movement has mobilised over 1 billion individuals for the future of the planet and has brought 75k+ partners from over 190 countries on board to drive positive action. The theme of Earth Day 2021 is “Restore our Earth”. The theme focuses on how we can reduce the impact we make on our environment, but also how we can help repairing the damage that has already been done.

How we’ve been helping the data centre sector

You don’t have to do much digging to see that the data centre sector is responsible for significant environmental impact. From the impact of transmitting and consuming data, to the one metric tonne of carbon that is produced every time a server is manufactured, to the critical raw materials that make up the equipment… This is a global issue that requires innovative solutions.

Techbuyer is a provider of sustainable IT solutions and has diverted 585,888.15 kilos of technology from landfill between October 2019 and October 2020. By buying, refurbishing and selling used IT equipment, we’re helping to keep existing technology in use and further the circular economy. This is the best way to reduce the need to manufacture new technology.

During the same time frame, we’ve contributed 557 hours to educate young people about sustainable digital practices. We’re passionate about increasing the circularity of technology and contribute to industry events and global initiatives like the UN Global Goals and Earth Day. You can see our video for Global Recycling Day below to find out more.

The research behind circular tech

As well as raising awareness, research is a crucial way to support circular practices in the sector. This month we announced that we are partnering the next CEDaCI (Circular Economy in the Data Centre Industry) research project – the Capitalisation Initiative – which will launch in April 2022. CEDaCI is bringing together stakeholders from all IT life cycle stages, to find out questions to complex issues in the sector, and to help turn more used technology into a useful resource. As IT specialists, we’ve seen that the demand for sustainable technology is rising, and research projects like these are crucial for increasing access to these solutions.

How can you get involved with Earth Day 2021?

You can find thousands of events both online and offline that are taking part around the world. The organisers have put together this useful map to help you find events near you, as well as a handy toolkit to help you get involved.

Or for help maximising your IT budget in a sustainable way, get in touch with our global team. We’d be happy to help!