50th Anniversary of Earth Day
April 22nd, 2020 | Words by Bryson Smith
Today marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the largest secular holiday in the world. While our plans for both celebrating Earth Day & doing our part in the fight against climate change have evolved due to the COVID-19 crisis, Nomad is still committed to both celebrating and protecting the natural beauty of our planet. And just as Earth Day was born out of a crisis, we believe that the lessons learned fighting this virus together can be applied to fighting climate change. Just as we can't defeat COVID-19 on our own, we can't solve climate change by ourselves, but we can do it together. Learn more about what Earth Day means to us and our ongoing efforts towards sustainability below.
Earth Day's Santa Barbara Roots
In the late 1960s, the worst oil spill up to that point in US history occurred in the Santa Barbara Channel. Days later, the oil spill had spread to the Santa Barbara Coast. Hundreds of thousands of dead birds began washing up on the beach covered in oil. Santa Barbara Residents were horrified by the crisis. The Santa Barbara community was at first shocked, then enraged by the scale of the devastation they witnessed. Ultimately, this led to the formation of the Environmental Defense Center & the Community Environmental Council. This disaster caught the nation's attention as conflict over clean up, management, and responsibility for the spill quickly blossomed beyond a regional debate.
At its time, the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill was the largest ever to occur on American shores. The effects of the spill reverberated around the country, bringing environmental issues, community rights, and collective action to the forefront of national consciousness. A US Senator at the time, Gaylord Nelson, was inspired by the protests and clean up efforts conducted by the Santa Barbara Community and proposed an international holiday to celebrate the movement. A year after the spill, Earth Day was born. Earth Day swept the nation and, in later decades, the globe. Each year, we look forward to Earth Day, as both a celebration of our own environmental and sustainability efforts here at home and our larger global commitment to helping the environment. While we are going to miss physically interacting with our community and working together on environmental issues this year, we look forward to gathering together next year.
What We Are Doing to Help
For us here at Nomad, actions big & small are crucial to protecting our planet. Over the past year and a half, we've done a lot of different things to reduce our impact, from making our shipping 100% carbon neutral to switching our case, cable & strap packaging to 100% post-consumer recycled pulp trays - rather than plastic. We have begun to phase out plastic mailers in favor of compostable, corn-based mailers.
Additionally, we've launched initiatives like our Free Cable For The Planet, where Nomad gives customers a free cable in exchange for donations to help plant trees in Acre, Brazil, a region of the Amazon that has been devastated by deforestation. In order to help celebrate Earth Day, Nomad is matching every cable donation with an additional $5 for Carbonfund.
On the smaller side of things, we've stayed committed to bike commuting & carpooling at the Nomad HQ and offer a daily $4 bonus to those who do so. Before COVID-19, we were running out of places to store bikes in the office each day! We also joined our city's composting program, which has allowed us to divert all food waste & paper scraps from the office to compost. Our employees bring compost scraps to work, reducing their own landfill contributions.Nomad employees participate in local beach cleanups and restoration projects. We have time to do this because everyone who works at Nomad gets every other Friday as a paid day off, and we are very proud that our employees use this time to help take care of our local environment.
Each one of the programs above is a piece in a puzzle we have yet to complete. The guiding principle behind all of these pieces is that we are working on all fronts to help fight climate change, from reductions in our day to day behavior, to overarching redesigns of our business practices. For us, protecting the environment isn't something that happens on one day out of the year, it's something that we think about and improve on constantly. . Nomad will continue to forge ahead and urge others in our industry to pursue sustainable business practices.
Our Commitment to Climate Neutral
We believe that there isn't one solution that will give us a greener future and that stopping climate change isn't something one company or person can do - it's bigger than all of us. It's why we've joined Climate Neutral, a non-profit organization that helps brands like Nomad measure their carbon emissions, reduce what they can, and offset the rest. We'll be honest - we had planned to have finished our offsetting program for 2019 by now, but due to COVID-19, we've had to delay pieces of that process. However, we want to ensure the Nomad community that we are still on track to go carbon neutral. For something as important as this, every delay hurts - and we are disappointed that we haven't finished yet.
However, we've learned a lot about rapid mobilization & changing business practices from COVID-19. We've also learned a lot about the power of the Nomad community to help out in times of crisis. Everyone that has donated to help our efforts in getting masks to frontline responders has helped remind us of the power of collective action & community to solve problems. We are thrilled to be members of Climate Neutral and to be offsetting our own emissions. But we are even more excited to be part of the group of over 100 different brands that have taken the Climate Neutral pledge. Just as we are beating COVID-19 together, we can beat climate change. And just as Earth Day began out of an environmental crisis 50 years ago, our collective response to COVID-19 can energize and inform our response to climate change.
We'd love to hear from you, the nomad community, on how you think we can improve our sustainability and reduce our impact. Shoot us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!
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