What the 50th anniversary of Earth Day means today

(BPT) - To say these are challenging times is a vast understatement. In the course of just weeks, everyone’s lives have been completely disrupted, routines have been upended and the world is still reeling as everybody struggles to figure out what it all means — both in terms of their daily life, and for the future. But one thing hasn’t changed — everyone still lives on planet Earth. This makes it even more important today for everyone to be pulling together.

The 50th anniversary of Earth Day this spring gives the world an opportunity to recognize the importance of everyone combining their efforts and working toward a better future — for the planet and for all its inhabitants. Now is the time to think globally, and to take action to ensure the health of the planet and its people.

One thing has become clear: What happens in one part of the world affects everyone else. This is true when it comes to health crises, and it’s also true for environmental health. On Earth Day, take time to think about how each action an individual takes can impact the world as a whole.

For example, with the unfolding of the current health crisis, people worldwide have decreased their travel and commuting, and those changes have begun to show visible environmental impacts. Air quality has drastically improved in areas that were among the first to shut down, such as China, Italy — and now in Los Angeles. While shutting everything down is clearly not desirable nor practical, it simply shows that actions can have clear consequences.

Here are three actions individual consumers and companies can take today that will help protect our planet moving forward.

1. Choose ENERGY STAR certified appliances and other products for use in your home.

Products that earn the ENERGY STAR label are independently certified to save energy, and to help protect the climate. Each day, 800,000 Americans make their individual energy choices count by choosing ENERGY STAR certified products for their homes. Those individual choices add up to a dramatic impact when they're combined.

2. Switch to green power and renewable power sources as much as possible.

Now it's more important than ever to conserve our resources and prevent needless waste. Wind power provides the largest renewable generation capacity in the United States today, creating enough electricity to offset the energy consumption of 25 million average American homes. And there’s currently enough solar power installed in the U.S. to power over 5.4 million average American homes. Imagine what even more investment in renewable energy from people all over the country could do.

3. Opt for electric vehicles plus energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR certified vehicle chargers.

With today’s advances in electric vehicles, consumers can take advantage of even more options, including longer driving ranges and quicker charging times than ever before. Matching a new electric car with an energy-efficient ENERGY STAR certified charger provides even more environmental benefits. This is just one more example of making a choice that works in solidarity toward the common goal of a healthier planet.

ENERGY STAR and the Green Power Partnerships program are all working toward these goals. Several organizations are taking steps to pave the way to a clean energy future — and inspiring others to act — including Best Buy, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Dell, Hewlett-Packard Company, Johnson & Johnson, MetLife, Google, Target, Microsoft and Samsung Electronics. These companies are partnering with the Environmental Protection Agency to sell energy-efficient products, improve the energy performance of their buildings, offset greenhouse gas emissions and support expansion of renewable energy.

Each individual's effort adds up to great results, worldwide. The sum total of everyone working together to conserve our resources and make the most of what we have will make all the difference. Thinking globally moving into the future will help ensure that the planet and its people not only survive, but thrive. Protecting our planet starts with all of us.

To learn more about ways to make a difference and to mark the anniversary of Earth Day, visit energystar.gov/EarthDay.

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