In support of Earth Day, here are a few steps you can take to secure a more sustainable future for our planet.

Earth Day is an annual initiative that raises awareness on the importance of sustainability and promotes tangible ways for individuals to get involved in the fight against environmental issues. This year, the 2024 Earth Day theme of ‘Planet Vs. Plastics’ calls attention to the danger plastics pose toward the health of both humans and the environment and coincides with the initiative’s ambitious call for a 60% reduction in plastic production by 2040.

As food insecurity, water risk, natural disasters and climate catastrophes accelerate in parts of the world, the need for individuals and governments to adopt a multifaceted approach to address environmental challenges grows ever stronger. Ensuring that future generations are guaranteed a healthy planet is a global responsibility, and in line with this goal, here are some actionable steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint and work towards a more sustainable future.

Join the Great Global Clean Up

One way to get involved this Earth Day is by participating in a local clean up. Earth Day’s Great Global Clean Up initiative is a coalition of cleanup communities committed to reducing waste and plastic pollution. By joining a local cleanup or hosting your own, you’ll stay environmentally engaged while keeping in touch with your local community. Along with its social benefits, forging meaningful connections by keeping good relations with neighbours will also help you embed the values of positive peace within your community.

Improve your understanding of ecological threats

In order to envision an ethical and secure future for our environment, one must first become familiar with the roadblocks that stand in the way of a sustainable future. Becoming familiar with IEP’s key publications including the Ecological Threat Report and the Positive Peace Report, both of which address how improving levels of Positive Peace can also improve ecological performance, will equip you with the education you’ll need to tackle climate issues head on. You’ll learn about the factors that contribute to not just the absence of violence but the purposeful building of values that sustain peaceful societies and ensure a safe and sustainable future environment. One way to gain access to crucial knowledge is with IEP’s own world-class, free education program: IEP Peace Academy.

Swap out fast fashion for sustainable alternatives

Finding sustainable apparel is more important than ever, as fast fashion practices continue to pollute the earth and create unnecessary waste. You can help join the fight against fast fashion by shopping for upcycled or second-hand clothing made from 100% organic or recycled materials. Alternatively, support ‘Equitable Distribution of Resources’ pillar of Positive Peace by hosting or participating in a clothes swap within your local community or environment. Tune into Earth Day’s Swap for the Earth campaign to learn how to set up or join a clothes swapping event near you.

Shrink your foodprint with reducing food loss and waste

Globally 42 countries are facing sever food insecurity. Between 8 – 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions are linked to unconsumed products. Wasted food often ends up in landfill, resulting in unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and indirectly trigger further food insecurity. Reducing food loss and waste could reduce emissions by 4.5 Gt CO2e per year.

Here are some actions you can take to make an impact this Earth day:

  • Plan your meals carefully
  • Store food properly
  • Compost food scarps
  • Donate surplus food
  • Avoid plastic packaging

Additionally, switch to a climate-conscious diet that includes minimally processed foods with the lowest carbon footprint, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole foods and shop locally. By choosing locally sourced ingredients and shopping locally, you will also contribute to strengthening the ‘Sound business environment’ pillar of Positive Peace.

Empower your local community and make a difference

Get inspired to empower your local community. The Earth Day website has a plethora of recommendations for taking action in your community both in-person and online, such as joining the #PlasticDetox challenge or engaging in volunteer initiatives. You can further equip yourself with the skills, resources and tools to foster peace in your community and enhance your leadership skills by joining the IEP Ambassador program. The program will enable you to identify and evaluate the impact of ecological threats on global peace. This understanding will empower you to lead initiatives that create meaningful change in your community and beyond.

Get involved in a cause you care about

Support the Free Flow of Information, one of the key pillars of Positive Peace, by getting behind an environmental cause you care about. By doing so, you can raise awareness, share knowledge and participate in public engagement efforts that promote transparency and access to vital information. Whether it’s the plastic crisis or deforestation, Earth day offers an opportunity to support a cause that aligns with your values. For ideas and resources, visit the Earth Day official website to find ways you can get involved.

Remember, the journey towards a sustainable future continues. Let’s work towards it every day and empower others to do the same.


Joshua Woo

Communications Associate at IEP

Vision of Humanity

Vision of Humanity is brought to you by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), by staff in our global offices in Sydney, New York, The Hague, Harare and Mexico. Alongside maps and global indices, we present fresh perspectives on current affairs reflecting our editorial philosophy.