This Earth Day has fallen in the most uncertain times.
Yet, amongst all the sadness in the world right now, we’ve perhaps been given a golden opportunity. We’ve been given the chance to stop, take stock of the world, and re-think what we want for our future.
For decades, the advertising industry has flourished by encouraging us all to buy new, buy more, buy faster. New clothes make you popular, new products make you happy, and expensive holidays make you special. For years, advertising has honed in on the things which make us question ourselves, and seemingly offer up a route to be happy. Whether its sadness, anxiousness or happiness, advertising knows how to appeal to our emotions in order to encourage us to spend. In the current landscape, this has become even more apparent.
For many of us, the last few months have been the most emotional of our lives, as our routines have been flipped upside down. Yet, as the world stopped, nature has awoken. We’ve seen dolphins in Venice, clear skies in China, and wildlife reclaiming cities all over the world. We’ve seen air pollution plummet, aeroplanes grounded and communities come together like never before.
For decades we’ve hammered the planet and it’s resources, to almost the point of no return. These uncertain times have given many of us the chance to stop, slow down and reflect on our lives before and think about how we carry on our lives after. According to new research by The BBC, only 9% of people say they want life to return to how it was before and 54% of participants agreed with the statement: "I hope to change some things about my life and I hope we will have learned from this as a country."
This is positive. This shows our desire to change.
So, amongst all the anguish, this is a silver lining. A glimmer of hope for the future of our planet. As many people begin to see a new appreciation for the food we eat, the products we buy and the nature surrounding us, we’re feeling hopeful for the future of our planet.
Our lives are busy and filled with ‘stuff’. It’s this ‘stuff’ which has led us to neglect our planet. The newest trainers and the latest baby clothes look great, but they all have a huge impact on our planet.
In many cases, this neglect isn’t because we don’t care, it’s because most of us are not seeing tangible effects this is having on our planet, with our own eyes. We hear about the glaciers melting, of the corals bleaching and of extreme weather events all over the globe, but for many people, this isn’t seen. Yet, this recent pandemic has affected us all. It’s caused us all to stop.
Suddenly, for many of us, the blinkers have fallen. We’ve suddenly stopped, opened our eyes and connected to the world and the community around us. Many people are reconnecting with nature and gaining a new appreciation for the outdoors. It’s true what they say - you only realise the importance of something when it’s gone. For many, being unable to spend time nestled in nature has reminded us just how vital this is to our lives.
Yet, when all this is over, the advertising will begin again. But the newest, buy the best, buy the fastest. This is our opportunity to change. This is a chance for us to re-define normal and decide what we want to re-fill our lives with. This is our chance to remind ourselves just how vital it is to protect our planet and do everything in our power to create a cleaner, greener world for our children.