Finn Harries on Owning Your Impact

We all have a responsibility to rise to the challenges that have been put before us. When it comes to protecting planet earth it doesn’t matter what country you’re from, what gender or sexual orientation you are or religion you believe in. This is a problem that affects every single one of us – It is a common thread that unites us all.

It seems odd to have a specific day in the calendar where we appreciate the planet we live on, however we can get so wrapped up in the nuances of our everyday lives that events like these become a critical opportunity to take a step back and reflect on our relationship with the environment around us.

To celebrate Earth Day, thousands of scientists, educators and concerned citizens are marching in the streets of Washington D.C and beyond to defend the role that science plays in our health, safety, economies and governments. They are marching to advocate for evidence-based policy making, better science education and more research funding. There has never been a need so great for scientific progress as there is right now.

But what about you? If you can’t make it to the march then what can you do to take action on Earth Day? Well there are three actions that I have found to be a powerful way to engage with both environmental and climate activism.

1. Educate yourself, then spread the knowledge.
We cannot take a clear position on an issue before we have educated ourselves on the situation at hand. There are plenty of free resources online that provide accurate information in an easy to understand manner. NASA is a great place to start, as is 350.org when it comes to activism. Once we’ve educated ourselves, we must help educate those around us. Friends, family and everyone in-between.

2. Organize; mobilize.
The Women’s March that took place earlier this year is a great example of the power of demonstration. More than 4 million men, women and children around the world took to the streets to peacefully demand change. Smaller scale actions can also have a significant impact. It can be as simple as getting two of your friends to help you write a letter to a local authority in government, or getting a couple of people together to create a piece of artwork that expresses your concern for the environment, be it a film, a photograph, a painting or a performance.
For example before the Women’s March I met with a group of friends to design and paint signs that would help make our message clearer. Creativity is a powerful tool for communication and when we unite under one goal we significantly increase our chances of achieving it.

3. Lead by example.
Us creatives all respond to the world around us through our individual means of expression. We should take responsibility within our own work to share and promote the values we believe in. We can’t just talk the talk, we need to walk the walk. We have a really exciting opportunity to rethink the way we design, to reimagine the materials we use to create and to clarify the messages we’re communicating through our work. Taking a sustainable approach doesn’t need to mean sacrifice. In many cases it can produce more innovative and unique results that bring us closer to the natural environment we live in.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there. Educate, organize and lead by example in your own work. Use today to take a step back and think about how you can contribute to playing an active role in the protection and improvement of the planet we live on.