World Environment Day: 5 Reasons to be Optimistic
All around the world people are doing great green things. For World Environment Day, here are five reasons to be positive about the planet...
Wednesday 5 June is World Environment Day – the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. It began way back in 1974 and has grown into a major international platform celebrated in over 100 countries. This year the host nation is China, but the real purpose is for it to be a "people's day" for everyone to do something to take care of the Earth, whether at a global, national or very local level.
At Raft we’re very conscious of our environmental impact – and we’re not alone. In our British and Indonesian locations we see people doing fantastic green work all the time. So on that positive note, here are 5 reasons to be optimistic this World Environment Day...
1) A clean transport revolution in the world’s most polluted city
The special theme for this year’s World Environment Day is air pollution, which according to the UN causes some 7 million deaths every year, including 4 million in Asia and the Pacific. A switch to electric vehicles is one of the big proposed solutions – and now Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, is leading the way.
Serving almost 200 million riders every year, Jakarta has the biggest bus rapid transit system in the world, and the capital is notorious for its traffic jams. On bad days, Jakarta is top of the list of the most air polluted cities in the world.
But now the city is rolling out a trial of electric buses, with a view to ultimately replacing all of its fossil fuel public vehicles. In fact, Jakarta’s governor Anies Baswedan has a vision to make it one of the greenest cities in the world. Read more about it here.
2) Green businesses are thriving
All over the UK we’ve found brilliant business people with similar ethics to our own – making good, quality stuff from sustainable materials.
From Haeckels, who turn seaweed into skincare products, to SIRPLUS who make menswear from surplus material, to Toast Ale who transform leftover bread into delicious beer, they’re springing up everywhere – making a difference and challenging big brands. We call them Raft Punks.
3) Education can save the planet
One important way we can protect the planet is to open more schools. Project Drawdown, a programme that brings together 100 practical solutions to global climate change, has identified education in the developing world as one of the most critical ways to secure a green future. Educated children are better able to look after land, waters and forests when they reach maturity, while educated girls have fewer and healthier children.
Global charities are helping to ensure this happens – and we’re big fans and supporters of Project Child which works to alleviate poverty in the coastal and riverside communities of Indonesia. See more about Raft’s work with Project Child Indonesia here.
4) Green energy is getting cheaper
Of course, there’s a long way to go before we wean ourselves off fossil fuels – but clean, green energy is becoming better and cheaper as the technology improves. The UK just celebrated two weeks of coal-free electricity generation – the longest period since the 1880s. And eco-friendly energy companies like Bulb and Ecotricity are making it easier for consumers to go green at home.
5) Recycling is getting cleverer – and more beautiful...[caption id="attachment_2966" align="alignnone" width="700"] Giant ocean plastic sculpture. Image credit: Washed Ashore.[/caption]
Recycling doesn’t need to be dull. For example, you can make used plastic into all sorts of things – even art (check out these amazing ocean plastic sculptures by Washed Ashore).
At Raft we’re best known for our furniture made from reclaimed teak. But we’re also interested in other unusual materials and how we can turn them to good use – like our new range of lava stone occasional tables, handmade in Indonesia using the volcanic rock locally sourced from the boulders surrounding Mount Merapi (pictured top).
Find out more about World Environment Day here and on social media using #WorldEnvironmentDay