Our understanding of “climate change” can be traced back almost 200 years to one French mathematician and physicist called Joseph Fourier. In 1824, Fourier first reasoned that the Earth’s atmosphere was responsible for trapping heat from the Sun like a greenhouse and this is how it maintains a habitable climate for life.
His concept of this greenhouse effect has been used as a foundation for almost two centuries’ worth of climate research, which has allowed us to understand the impact climate change has had and will continue to have on life on planet Earth.
Isn’t that something?
Joseph Fourier is widely regarded as the father of environmental awareness. He is perhaps behind the reason you choose to cycle into work, drink from a reusable water bottle, or partake in a plant-based diet. Essentially, it’s him you’ve got to thank for McDonald’s introducing the McPlant burger – merci beaucoup, Joseph.
So, why are we talking about Joseph Fourier, greenhouses, and plant-based burgers?
June 5, 2022 is the 48th World Environment Day
This annual event held by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) where the global community collectively campaigns for positive environmental change. Since its inception in 1974, the event has grown into the largest global platform for environmental campaigning and climate change awareness.
World Environment Day is hosted by a different country every year and 2022 will see Sweden play host to all the official celebrations. Over the years, World Environment Day has gathered millions of followers, with over 150 countries participating in events every year. This year is also an historic milestone for global environmental awareness, as it marks 50 years since the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, which is widely considered the first world conference to make the environment a major issue.
This year, the title of the World Environment Day campaign is “Only One Earth” and focuses on making sustainable living the default option. It calls on governments, businesses, international organizations, and other powerful institutions to implement sustainable technology, promote environmental solutions, and lead a global movement to restore our planet.
The UNEP has created the Only One Earth practical guide for this year’s event, which outlines the different ways both organizations and individuals can take action and make positive changes to how they impact the environment. In addition, this year’s World Environment Day website is inviting people to create their own Earth Action Number – a new initiative designed to inspire change by showcasing the transformative environmental actions already happening across the globe.
An Earth Action Number is a specific environmental goal that is expressed numerically (e.g., a pledge to collect 30 bags of litter, or to dedicate 20 hours volunteering with a climate change charity). You are then invited to share your Earth Action Number on social media using the hashtag #OnlyOneEarth and on the World Environment Day online map to highlight the wave of people already working to collectively protect and restore our planet.
How does SAP Litmos support environmental efforts?
Here at SAP Litmos, we recognize how vital it is to participate in sustainable business practices and that is why in 2020 we launched the strategic sustainability program Climate 21, a community platform to promote transparency and optimize the reduction of carbon emissions from all products and services across the wider SAP ecosystem.
Additionally, we recognize that eLearning is a more environmentally-friendly option than in-person training in most cases, especially when that face-to-face training requires travel (by car and/or plane), conference rooms, hotel stays, and printed materials. We also strongly believe that people can train to become better, more informed citizens of the planet.
World Environment Day and you
Now, many people still have their doubts when it comes to how much impact individuals can really have in reducing pollution, reversing climate change, and restoring the environment. So, we thought now is a perfect opportunity to address some common questions people have about environmental action.
Is it not too late to make a difference?
The short answer is no. We still can make a difference, but we need to act now.
As the UNEP reports, despite being on course to exceed our global warming limit of 1.5°C in the next two decades: “with urgent action and a multi-sector, multi-actor approach, there is still time to act.” If countries commit to achieving decarbonization and move towards net-zero emissions, we still stand a chance, as a global community, to limit the long-term effects of global warming.
What impact can individual action really make?
It’s understandable to feel like any action you make on an individual level will be negligible when compared to the large-scale damage still being committed by large entities like governments and businesses. But individuals do have the power to incite change. The message of this year’s World Environment Day is that we are one global community and when individuals unify to alter their impact to the planet, we can collectively cause far-reaching environmental change.
You have a voice, so use it! Advocate for positive environmental change; support leaders who have shown a clear, commitment to acting on climate change; and encourage government at a regional, city, or national level to take decisive action against pollution. As stated in the Only One Earth practical guide:
As citizens, workers, students, consumers or in any number of other roles, our individual decisions shape how our societies impact the environment.”
What else can you do to support environmental causes?
There are so many different ways you can make meaningful, positive changes to your environmental impact. Set yourself your very own environmental goal. Then share it on social media and on the World Environment Day website. You may want to commit to completely cutting out single-use products to reduce your plastic footprint or reduce your intake foods which negatively impact the environment. Also, it needn’t be a solo activity; recruit the people around you! Plant a vegetable patch with your family, encourage your friends to join you in support of environmental campaigns, even start a carpool scheme with your work colleagues. Get involved and play a vital part in creating a more sustainable planet!
For more ideas on how to take part in World Environment Day, visit https://www.worldenvironmentday.global/
If you’d like to learn more about the topic of sustainability and how to move towards more sustainable business practices, please take advantage of the Sustainability Collection in the SAP Litmos Training Content library. There you’ll find a whole host of eLearning course titles dedicated to such topics as reducing your carbon footprint, reaching zero waste, and how to optimize your recycling habits.