Earth Day and the Outdoors - How You Can Help

© Natalie Berry

Today is Earth Day, an annual event to show support for environmental protection. The 2021 Earth Day is centred around restoration. As the UK government announces plans to enshrine in law the world's most ambitious climate change target, with an aim to bring the UK more than three-quarters of the way to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, we take a look at a couple of climate-focused projects in the outdoor sphere, and what you can do to help.

Climate change is making a visible impact on alpine environments.  © Natalie Berry
Climate change is making a visible impact on alpine environments.
© Natalie Berry

The UK government will set in law the target of a 78% reduction in carbon emissions by 2035, compared to 1990 levels. In an unprecedented move, the UK's sixth Carbon Budget will incorporate the UK's share of international aviation and shipping emissions, aligning with the long-term Paris Agreement temperature goal to limit global warming to well below 2°C and towards 1.5°C.

Today, the BMC has launched a new trailer as part of their long-term scheme, The Climate Project. The video focuses on peat moorland restoration, which can play a key part in tackling the climate crisis.

Peat moorlands cover 15% of the UK, but many have been dug up, drained or destroyed. Britain's peat bogs are the largest natural terrestrial carbon store in the world, and the Peak District moorland landscape is now the most degraded in Europe, which can lead to significant carbon emissions into the atmosphere. 

Moors for the Future was founded in 2003 to tackle the issue of moorland degradation. So far, they've transformed over nearly 8,000 acres of peat moors across the Peak District and South Pennines by planting a highly carbon-absorbing plant called sphagnum moss, which can remove carbon from the atmosphere in volumes comparable to those absorbed by healthy tropical rainforests. The BMC's Climate Project directly supports the work of Moors for the Future.

You can sponsor a square of sphagnum, or donate directly to either campaign.

Healthy moorlands will:

  • Actively fight the climate crisis
  • Reduce wildfire risk
  • Reduce flooding risk
  • Protect endangered wildlife

Last year, the Alpine Club's Environment Panel announced recommendations on travel with regard to its impact on climate change. Led by journalist Ed Douglas, the panel discussed and wrote up guidelines relating to adventure travel, the carbon footprint of globetrotting climbers and explored how to mitigate the effects of trips to far flung places. The Alpine Club article states:

'These notes are intended to encourage and help Alpine Club members in reducing their carbon footprint from travel. While travel is simply one part of a complicated jigsaw, it is the part of the problem where we have most impact as mountaineers. But cutting carbon from all aspects of our lives is the aspiration of most European governments. For reference, the carbon footprint for the average EU citizen is 8.4 tonnes per year.'

The recommendations - complete with tips and tricks for reducing our impact - are summed up as follows:

1. Reflect on how you travel: the means and frequency.

2. Reduce the amount you fly.

3. Offset when you travel.

Read our UKC/UKH articles on issues relating to climate change and the environment:

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