On Wednesday, April 22, the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. What was credited in 1970 as the birth of the modern environmental movement is today recognized as a global day of awareness and action to protect our world.
Tackling climate change and protecting our earth are among today’s greatest challenges. And because collaboration is one of our Micron values, we know we are stronger when we work as a team. That said, the era of COVID-19 and social distancing means teamwork may look a little different on this year’s Earth Day. But just because we aren’t together doesn’t mean we can’t still share ideas, research and even inspiration.
This week, we invited our employees to collaborate virtually in a “5 for 50” challenge — five actions we can take this week, from home, to act on climate change. Will you join us?
1. Learn about climate change
Greenhouse gases (GHG) occur naturally. But after more than a century of large-scale industrialization, deforestation and agriculture, quantities of GHG have risen to levels not seen in millions of years. Climate change as we know it today is characterized by an abrupt increase of the earth’s overall temperature, with massive and permanent ramifications. Higher concentrations of GHGs are linked to these temperature increases, and the scientific research is clear — human activities are the main cause. In this short video, Bill Nye, the Science Guy, explains what causes climate change, how it affects our planet, why we need to act promptly to mitigate its effects, and how each of us can contribute to a solution.
At Micron, we believe that climate change poses a critical threat to people, communities, businesses, environments and economies around the world. This is why climate change and GHG reductions are among Micron’s sustainability priorities. We understand our impact in the communities where we live and work. Our Boise, Singapore, and Manassas facilities use innovative design to ensure sustainable footprints. Our 2019 sustainability report reflects our commitment to sustainable development and documents energy and GHG goals and performance. We are looking forward to announcing our new set of environmental goals in our upcoming sustainability report.
2. Learn about climate action in your area
Think globally, act locally! Now that you have learned about climate change, are you familiar with environmental programs in your local community, town, county or municipality? Do an internet search for projects and programs in your area. What did you find out?
3. Calculate your “foodprint”
With most of us sheltering in place, we are inviting our employees to come to the virtual dinner table. Food is universal yet so personal in the choices we make. Is there a simple way to toss in environmental considerations as we seek healthy hearts and happy bellies?
A “foodprint” measures the environmental influences associated with growing, producing, transporting and storing our food. In 2019, the BBC published a quick and handy research-backed tool that can help us weigh GHG emissions from our food choices. What are the approximate annual emissions of your typical food preferences? Do you see any possible swaps? To reduce your emissions, start with one meal. Willing to go bold? Try a daily menu. Willing to go crazy? Go beyond. Want to measure your success? Set a goal!
Through our COVID-19 journey, food supply chains and supermarkets have remained operational, yet experience has shown us we can encounter shortages. To the dismay of many, toilet paper became scarce. To the delight of our children, some of us have not found broccoli. In the absence of preferred staples, we have innovated, rationed or gone back to the old days of baking our own bread. Have any items that are lower in emissions become new choices for you? Has the pandemic changed the way you approach food?
4. Take action
We invite you to reduce your foodprint, one meal at a time. Implement the lower-carbon food swap you uncovered in the previous exercise. Could you carry this new change forward?
By the way, you may already be reducing your emissions. Many are optimizing grocery trips from daily to weekly (or even less) to minimize exposure. If you are cutting down the frequency of your trips to the store, you are already reducing your emissions. If you are meal planning and less of your food is going to waste, you are already reducing your emissions.
As we battle the pandemic, social distancing orders and the halt of economic activities have caused air pollution to dissipate and corresponding carbon emissions to fall. China’s carbon emissions fell by around 25% over a four-week period, but as life and industry returns to normal, emissions are rebounding. The pandemic has tossed millions into a low-carbon lifestyle. Many of us are reflecting how sheltering in place is changing the way we live and work and how society will look after we recover. How has the pandemic response reduced your emissions? Do you see new low-carbon actions you could sustain in the future?
5. Engage others
Flattening the exposure curve of this current pandemic has required us to isolate physically from each other. We’ve seen how physical contact between one infected person and the next — and the next and the next — can cause many people to get sick. In just a matter of weeks, the way we engage with each other has profoundly changed.
What if we looked at this through another lens? What could be possible if we used the power of our voice to share an inspiring outlook or lesson learned with a few people — and they shared it with a few more, and so on? Could you, as one individual, shape a future for your community through one inspiring conversation? Combating a health crisis, sharing our resources, building a future, acting on climate change —we are all in this together. In this last step of the 5 for 50 challenge, have a conversation — with your family at the dinner table, with your grandma or with your old college roommates on videoconferencing. What did you learn? What was the most surprising? What was the most encouraging?
Whether you perform one step or all five, there is no wrong way to participate in Earth Week. We know you have a lot on your mind right now. We hope that Earth Week gives you and your family a way to remember that even the smallest actions can add up to big results.