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This year’s global Earth Day theme is “invest in our planet.”
The planet’s health and our health are interconnected. That’s why Providence is committed to doing our part to protect our environment and the health of the Earth.
There are many ways to get involved in helping the planet this Earth Day – and every day – including volunteering, monitoring your plastic consumption and eating a plant-based diet.
Our environment impacts our health, from the air we breathe to the water we drink and the places we visit. Providence is committed to caring for and partnering with the communities we serve and that drive includes environmental and climate justice to bring health for all. That includes caring for our planet – and what better way to recognize that commitment than Earth Day?
The first Earth Day was held April 22, 1970, and is often seen as the start of the environmental movement. Started by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, Earth Day has led to numerous environmental improvements for Americans, including the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and passage of the Clean Air Act and Endangered Species Act. It’s a day to advance sustainability and climate action around the world and to combat environmental issues. The theme for Earth Day 2023 is “invest in our planet,” which highlights the need to dedicate time, resources and energy to solve the climate crisis.
“We can’t think of a better way to highlight the theme of ‘invest in our planet’ than to volunteer within our communities to serve the Earth,” says Melissa Tiberio, Manager Domestic Engagement for Providence. “Climate resiliency is important for the health of those we serve. We’re honored to do our part to protect our planet.”
The intersection of climate and health
Because our health and the health of our world are so connected, it makes sense that climate change is leading to health impacts globally. For example:
- Extreme weather events, like wildfires, hurricanes and heat waves, can lead directly to injuries and death.
- Wildfires, air pollution from emissions and other events can cause increases in respiratory and cardiovascular disease.
- Viruses, bacteria and other harmful pathogens can spread as humans encroach on the environment through deforestation, and warming conditions.
- Shifting weather patterns that lead to droughts or unseasonal weather can impact crops, which affects nutrition.
- As severe weather increases, including weather that devastates homes and communities, mental health can be impacted.
“The direct and indirect health consequences of climate change make taking action to stop it an absolute imperative,” says Cassie Tinari, Executive Director Social Responsibility for Providence. “As caregivers, we are committed to doing our part to protect the whole health of our communities.”
Ways to volunteer for Earth Day
Providence is celebrating 2023 as the year of human connection. One way that Providence caregivers connect with our community is through volunteerism. This spring, in the season of renewal and new growth, Providence is encouraging caregivers to dedicate time to renewing their communities through service, advocacy and engagement through the Spring Forward campaign.
As part of this campaign, the Environmental Stewardship team at Providence has partnered with the Global and Domestic Engagement team to seek out and highlight volunteer opportunities to support our planet leading up to Earth Day 2023.
There are many ways to get involved in Earth Day, including:
- Cleaning up beaches and parks
- Community gardening
- Participate in teach-ins or rallies and share with your community on social media
- Planting trees
- Reducing plastic consumption
- Writing letters to elected officials
When you take the time to volunteer and invest in the planet, you are also investing in yourself, your loved ones and your well-being.
How you can impact climate change
Earth Day is just one day, but you can take action year-round to help the planet, reduce your carbon emissions and address climate change.
- Brush up on your climate literacy to better understand the threats facing our planet.
- Calculate your plastic consumption and find ways to reduce it.
- Cut back on fossil fuel consumption and make the switch to renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions.
- Incorporate more plant-based meals into your family’s diet and consider composting your food scraps.
- Learn about sustainable fashion and buy clothing that is less harmful to the planet.
- Participate in The Great Global Cleanup® to remove trash from your neighborhood, greenspaces and more.
Collaborate with your community and local and national governments to take action to mitigate the effects of climate change on public health. Collective action and advocacy can help drive change that can benefit the health of all including supporting biodiversity throughout our ecosystems, protecting natural resources and ensuring clean water access. Every individual action helps, but with the power of the community, that action becomes even greater.
“The health and well-being of our communities go beyond the walls of our ministries,” says Ali Santore, Chief Advocacy and Social Responsibility Officer for Providence. “We are so grateful for our caregivers who engage with our community members in solidarity and service for our planet. We only have one planet – and it’s our responsibility to invest in it to make sure it, and we, can stay healthy.”
To learn more about Earth Day celebrations near you, visit earthday.org.
Melissa Tiberio, Manager, Domestic Engagement
Melissa is responsible for managing local volunteer and community engagement programs for caregivers. She also oversees the implementation of a system-wide online platform that helps caregivers connect to volunteer opportunities in their local communities. Prior to joining Providence in 2015, Melissa spent time working with nonprofit and educational organizations to build community partnerships and manage volunteer programs. Melissa holds a master’s degree in social justice from Loyola University- Chicago.
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