Every year on the 22 April, people across the world celebrate Earth Day to show their support for environmental protection and the theme for 2021’s celebrations is ‘Restore Our Earth’. At its core is a message that as the world slowly recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, the way we live our lives must not return to normal if we are to conserve the planet and reverse the destructive path of climate change.
For many years, sustainability has been a growing priority across all industries. This trend has been accelerated over the last year, with global lockdowns dramatically changing the way we live, work and consume. On a larger scale than ever seen before, humanity’s activity and movement instantly slowed. And as a result, we’ve seen a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, coupled with an increase in air and water quality. For many it revealed the true scale of the impact humans have on the health of the Earth.
A combined approached is crucial in a green recovery. Reforestation efforts, climate restoration technologies, and regenerative agriculture, must be used alongside smaller scale changes that we can make on an everyday basis, from dietary decisions to avoidance of single-use, non-recyclable packaging solutions.
Packaging is essential for the protection of goods, but if it is not biodegradable, recyclable and renewable, it can pollute the environment and hinder our efforts to restore the Earth. For this reason, the future of packaging must involve forest-based materials such as cartonboard, as its lifecycle is circular and its production is sustainable. The European forest industry manages the forests to ensure the maintenance of bio-diversity and healthy growth, so that between 2005 and 2020 Europe’s forests grew by 58,390 km2 – an area larger than Switzerland and equivalent to 1,500 football fields of forest growth per day. In our opinion, Europe’s example of sustainable forest management is a model for the rest of the world as more trees means greater absorption of CO₂ and takes us one step closer to achieving a truly circular economy.
There is no doubt that the future requires drastic change to reverse the harm to the environment. There is no better time than now to help nature to redress the balance and restore Earth’s equilibrium. Indeed, many of us have developed a newfound appreciation of nature whilst partaking in popular lockdown hobbies such as jogging, walking and gardening. As we eagerly return to normal life, this year’s Earth Day has never been more pertinent.