I finally came up for a breather from my plans for world domination … and it’s World Environment Day (Tuesday, 5 June 2018).
As serendipity would have it, I was nudged with a reminder while watching Netflix’s The Crown (don’t judge me). I’m up to the episode about ‘The Smog of London’. Don’t be fooled by “TV Land”: The Great Smog was a very real and deathly event, every bit as confronting and devastating as portrayed in my new favourite series.
Environmental Reform: Where To Begin
Why is the “Great Smog of London” so important to me on World Environment Day? Because it was the beginning of the most important step in modern environmentalism: The First Step. The British Government (thanks to Winston Churchill) was so focused on portraying the image of industrial success, it did not want to stop and think about long-term consequences. The Great Smog was the direct culmination of unfortunate weather behaviour collecting airborne pollutants, predominantly from the use of coal. The event itself was pretty bad but the enduring consequences were the true measure of the environmental impact. Initial estimates claimed 4,000 deaths directly related to the Great smog; subsequent research has since increased this number by a further 6,000 in the following months.
Once officials realised exactly what was happening, changes took place to reduce the impact of future events. New regulations were introduced, restricting the use of dirty fuels and banning black smoke. Londoners were encouraged (with financial incentives), to find alternatives to coal fires. Legislation during the 1950s focused on ‘Clean Air’ and helped reduce air pollution. Changes were made, and mostly because the city was forced to realise the impact of THEIR actions on the environment around them. And while London continues to struggle with air quality, there is still a better relationship between government and public for taking action.
What Does The Great Smog Have to Do with World Environment Day?
London is a good example of governments taking action to bring about change. However, it is also a great example of how we can’t wait for governments to force us into action. We, as individuals, need to take action now and on our own merits. We can do it as individuals or we can come together on days like today. World Environment Day.
The point of an international day is to raise awareness and bring the community together in one solid message. This year the message is: Beat Plastic Pollution. If you can’t reuse it, refuse it. Instead of suffocating in smog, we are now drowning in plastic. It’s time to commit to change.
Tag! You’re It!
If you’re reading this, consider yourself ‘tagged’!
This year, I am committing to beating plastic pollution by giving up single-use plastic straws and utensils. I have already been ‘tagged’ by supportive friends who have provided the spawnlings with sustainable alternatives: Bamboo travel kits. Easy to clean and easy on the environment.
But I can’t do this alone. So, I’m tagging GeekMom and all of my fellow writers at GeekMom to consider how they can help Beat Plastic Pollution. Give up single-use plastic and make a difference. Head over to GeekMom to read more about we can do to help (I wrote that article too).
I’m also tagging Hoyts Cinemas and Event Cinemas in Australia, and ask them to consider how they can swap out any single-use plastic in their ‘Snack Bars’ for environmentally friendly alternatives.
You can join in too. Share your commitment to social media and tag Evil Genius Mum, GeekMom, and the official hashtags: #BeatPlasticPollution and #WED2018. And if you know of someone, individual or organisation, who can help beat plastic pollution and commit to change – tag them too!
Let’s face it: It’s fun to celebrate international days, like World Environment Day. It’s fun to be part of a big community with some social media presence. But it is even more fun to live in a clean environment. We can’t take that for granted. We need to make a difference right now.
Because as pretty as The Crown may tell its story, I sure don’t want to make my today look anything like London in the 1950s.