Arctic Circle is Celebrating 50 Years of Earth Day With Two Weeks of Empowering Comics: Week 1

By Alex Hallatt

Earth Day Fortnight: 12 Ways YOU Can Change the World: Part 1

I am supposed to be at least six weeks ahead when sending my comic strips. Sometimes I am little under but sometimes I get my act together and get even further ahead. When I realised that 2020 would be the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, I was inspired to write a couple of weeks of comics that would celebrate it. And I made sure that there would be enough time for the good folks at King features to promote them. So I was months ahead.

Of course, everyone knows what happened next.

All news has been eclipsed by the coronavirus and the pandemic. Quite rightly. But I hope that some good will come from the crisis, including better ways of working and meeting with people (see #3 below). That could mean adoption of new technology and changes in attitude that reduce our emissions and improve the quality of life for future generations. 

1. Fly less. 

So yes, this first one is definitely happening now. It would have been better to see a smooth transition away from flying unnecessarily, perhaps by taxation of flights and use of the money to fund cleaner modes of mass transit (like the electric trains you see in Japan and Europe). I hope that this sees us paying the true cost of flying, even if it will cost me thousands more to visit friends and family when I fly back to Europe (and yes, I DO fly when there is no viable alternative. I offset flights by planting trees, but flying around the world every few years is something I would hate to give up. I’d love there to be an overland/ship alternative that didn’t cost 5 times as much).


2. Walk, bike or take public transport.

People who commented below this day’s comic focussed on electric cars. I like them (I use a share car here in NZ), but they have many of the problems of regular cars (congestion, danger to pedestrians and cyclists). Far better to walk, bike or take public transport. And the lockdown here in NZ has cut traffic hugely. It has been lovely to see more people out walking and biking and the roads safer for them to do so (and the air safer for them to breathe).


3. Don’t travel to meetings.

I had never had a Zoom video meeting before the pandemic. Now I have them weekly with the neighbours. Even before the Covid 19 crisis I rarely met face to face with clients. Living in New Zealand has its advantages.


4. Eat less meat.

I don’t know that the pandemic has reduced meat consumption, but it did lead to a spike in purchase of beans and lentils! 


5. Cut down on packaging.

Many people who are staying home are rediscovering cooking from scratch, which cuts down on packaging.


6. Reduce food waste.

I’ve seen reports that rats are becoming desperate in New York City because there is far less food waste to feed on. 


We CAN change the world for the better and coronavirus may be able to show us how.