22nd April 2020

People often say that when you put your heart and mind to something, you can make anything happen.

So let me tell you about what happened today.

Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. But the movement actually started two years earlier, in 1968, with this picture >>

This picture is called ‘Earthrise’ and it was photographed on Christmas Eve (December 24th, 1968) by Bill Anders, one of the three astronauts on the Apollo 8 mission. It has been named "the most influential environmental photograph ever taken" because after seeing this photo, many people realised how fragile our planet really is and how unique and extraordinary is its perfect position from the sun. Not too close so it’s not hot like Venus, and not too far so it’s not too cold like Mars. It’s sitting in the perfect position that allows all life on Earth to thrive.

In 1969 at a UNESCO conference in San Francisco, peace activist John McConnell proposed a day to honour the Earth after seeing the first image of Earth in Life magazine.

A year later, in 1970, people all over the world started celebrating Earth Day.

What I really like about this story is that the astronauts on the Apollo 8 mission were supposed to take hi-res photos of the Moon's surface, not of Earth! It just happened that Bill Anders looked outside of the window and took this gorgeous photo that has forever changed our relationship with Earth.

One thing that is great about sustainability is that you get to meet lots of amazing people who share the same goal - trying to make this world a better place.

I feel very lucky that it's part of my role to deliver presentations about climate change and digital sustainability. One of the presentations I delivered to another business was to the amazing team at Make It Clear (you can read more about digital sustainability on their blog).

It was thanks to them that I was introduced to the team at Cambridge University Press who strive to include sustainable solutions in all their processes and I felt honoured that they asked me to deliver an online keynote at their Earth Day celebrations.

As you can imagine, it involved weeks of preparations. I was nervous as hell because it's difficult enough to present to a room full of people but because of Covid, everything had to be presented but virtually. And that's hard.

One thing I found really helpful was 10 Secrets of Virtual Storytelling, a great video by Jeremy Waite that you can find on Vimeo.

The set-up was nowhere near ideal but I had to work with what I've got (even if that meant using my beloved River Cottage cookboks as stands for my laptops!).

It took 122 slides to talk about climate change (how it happened and what can we do about it) and digital sustainability (what it is and why we should care) in the allocated hour.

One hour!!

That's less than 30 seconds per slide.

Today is the first Earth Day when I've done something meaningful to honour this important day. It felt amazing and I am grateful for this opportunity.

But it shouldn't stop there.

We should make every day Earth Day.

Because every day matters.

Whatever you decide to do to make this world a greener, healthier place, I guarantee you that the feeling you get out of it is well worth it.