Earth Day: Do small acts really make a difference?

Email CSC employee in India cleaning a building

CSC employees taking part in the Clean India / Swachh Bharat Initiatives as part of Earth Day

Last week we celebrated Earth Day. For 45 years, people all around the world have come together on April 22 to demonstrate their support for environmental protection. This year, around a billion people from 192 countries were involved, including people from CSC.

The theme of this year’s campaign was, ‘It’s our turn to lead’ and the goal was to promote environmental awareness, develop sustainability initiatives and galvanize people to commit to treading a little more lightly on the Earth.

Employee action

CSC employees around the world marked the day with a variety of local initiatives from energy-saving IT drives to community clean ups. A global webinar raised awareness of household toxics and employees used a Facebook page to share personal pledges ranging from having a meat-free Monday to making a DIY solar mobile phone charger.

It was a privilege to be part of the day and see my colleagues working together on issues that mattered to them, deepening their understanding of key issues and making personal commitments to living a lower impact lifestyle.

Earth Day is, however, not without its detractors. Some academics dismiss campaigns that encourage individual action as counter productive, citing a psychological phenomenon called ‘single-action bias’ where people believe a single act, such as recycling or buying local, makes up for other behavior that does even more damage.

While there is certainly some evidence to support this phenomenon, it misses entirely the point of campaigns like Earth Day. Any meaningful change must start with individual action because if we are to move others, we must first live our values and ‘walk the talk.’ In encouraging people to focus first on what they can achieve within their own direct spheres of influence, Earth Day has created a billion ambassadors for positive change. And when a billion people make even small changes, the world starts to move.

A huge thank you to all of my CSC colleagues who took part in Earth Day 2015.

Comments

  1. Bravo, and I want to know how to make a DIY solar phone charger. 🙂

    Like

  2. It’s going to take a tremendous mental shift and that has to start on an individual basis. It isn’t going to be easy but I sure hope it’s sooner than later!

    Like

    • psullivan5 says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. You make a great point about the need for the mindset shift, but I think it’s already happening – the key now is how we speed it up perhaps?

      Liked by 2 people

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