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Earth Day utilised by event planners to highlight sustainability

M&IT caught up with Legacy’s Abena Poku-Awuah to learn how event planners can utilise Earth Day, happening on 22 April.

Fifty years ago, 20 million people took to the streets for the sake of the environment. It was the world’s first Earth Day.

Abena Poku-Awuah.

Abena Poku-Awuah.

Earth Day encourages people across the world to lead more sustainable lifestyles. Each year, festivals, parades and rallies are held in at least 192 countries to demonstrate support for environmental protection.

This year’s Earth Day takes place on the 22 April. For the 50th anniversary, the day is perhaps even more poignant, as a third of the global population is on lockdown and unable to meet face to face.

The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. The Climate Emergency represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.

The enormous challenge — but also the vast opportunities — of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary.

As an event professional, you may think that what you do has no effect but there are ways that you can contribute.

Use your event planning powers for good

Event professionals are experts in bringing people together and have the skills needed to mobilise people to change.

If you find yourself with some spare time, use this to organise an online event that encourages more sustainable practices in the industry. Speak to like-minded professionals in The Green Room to share best practice and grow your network.

Raise your Voice

Individual action is great but lobbying for action at a high level is even more effective.

Writing to your suppliers, your events association or even your local MP takes no more than 10 minutes of your time but has a real impact in informing those with influence about these issues as well as letting them know that the people who vote for them and pay their bills care about how their money is being used.

Update your event planning tools

Most event planners love a to-do list, but does your list consider the sustainability of your event?

Update your lists to include questions for your venues and suppliers about what they are doing to improve their practices and processes to make them more sustainable. Not sure where to start? Check out Legacy’s nine themes of sustainability to shape your event management processes and assess your impact.

On Earth Day itself, the Earth Day Network is organising 24 hours of global, digital activity called EARTHRISE, after the famous picture of our planet from space that inspired millions to agitate for the first Earth Day in 1970.

In addition, Earth Day Live will feature a three-day live stream to promote social distancing during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Millions of people can join activists, celebrities, musicians, and more in an epic moment of community and hope for the future. The star-studded lineup includes Jason Mraz, Joaquin Phoenix, Moby, Questlove, and others.

Find out more about Earth Day here.

You can participate on social media using the hashtags #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE.