What is Earth Day?
Today marks Earth Day; a chance to recognise the fragility of our beautiful planet, and the actions we need to take to protect it. But while there’s a growing awareness of the effect humanity is having on the environment, the fact that Earth Day started in 1970 is a wake-up call that this is not a new crisis. Nevertheless, this growing awareness is a positive step in the right direction. So with more than a billion people worldwide marking Earth Day this year, now seemed a good time to ask; what is Earth Day, what does it mean, and how can we do our part?
Why do we mark Earth Day?
Earth Day began in the US in 1970 in response to an oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara. By 1990 it had spread to 141 countries and by 2000 it had reached nearly every corner of the globe. It’s come to represent the environmental movement, becoming something of a milestone, including historic moments such as the 2016 signing of the Paris Agreement, the international pact that aims to limit global warming to “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels.
Events around the world are planned for 2022, virtually and in person, at both local grassroots levels, and on a larger scale. For instance, in New York there are plans to close off the streets to encourage walking, while local schools around the world are marking it on a smaller scale with educational activities for children. Whether you join one of these events or not, we look on Earth Day as a reminder to stop and take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the natural world around us; whether that’s the fragile snowdrifts of blossom on an apple tree or a rogue dandelion pushing its way up through a cracked pavement.
Why buying from British producers is more important than ever
As consumers, we have the power to make decisions that can make difference, on Earth Day and every other day. From shopping small and local, to buying less but better, the choices we make matter. At Barbury Hill, we search out the best small producers with sustainability at their core. Our business model is built on reducing road miles and cutting out airmiles completely; goals we share with our partner producers.
Buying from British farmers removes the airmiles your food has travelled to your plate, meaning a lower carbon footprint than most imported foods. But many of Barbury Hill’s handpicked farmers and producers go even further and we’ve chosen them specifically for their sustainable practises. From protecting the beautiful British countryside to avoiding waste by turning excess or unwanted produce into food and drink, they’re sustainability champions.
Many of the small producers on Barbury Hill use organic methods. And when you buy organic food, you’re playing a part in protecting the lower layer of the food chain, the smaller insects that the rest of the chain relies on. Buying products that use organic farming means no artificial fertilisers and that pesticides have only been used under extremely restricted circumstances.
Instead, organic farmers use the natural eco-systems of their farms, with birds and beetles feeding on pests such as slugs. Organic farmers have to maintain and promote wildlife habitats to boost their production, including planting wildflower areas so, according to the Soil Association, there’s 50% more plant, insect and bird life, including around 75% more wild bees on organic farms.
Protecting Britain’s landscapes
The idyllic shots that accompany many of our products show landscapes we’d all like to protect. From the orchards and hedgerows that produce the botanicals and fruits for Percival & Co’s hard tonics to the dappled waters that go into the crisp River Test gin, our Barbury Hill partners are working hard to protect and regenerate their surrounds. We’ve been impressed by River Test’s work on river management that has seen the return of water voles and other wildlife, while the ‘wonky’ fruit used in Penrhos Gin would otherwise go to waste. In restoring the natural balance of their immediate environment, they’re doing their part for the wider planet, all while crafting food and drink that taste even better for being sustainable!
How will you mark Earth Day?
Whether you’re joining an organised event, staying local, or simply honouring the beauty of the world around you in your own way, Earth Day is an opportunity to say thank you to the planet that supports us. And in the same spirit, it’s an opportunity for us to say thank you to you, our Barbury Hill customers; by showing your support for our small, independent British producers you’re doing your part for Earth Day, every day.