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Observing Earth Day Amid COVID-19: Sustainability and Humanity

By Sustainability Manager, Jackie Mustakas

It’s impossible not to notice that the beginning of spring looks a little different this year. Ball parks, schools, store shelves and restaurants sit empty, while our homes buzz from morning to night with constant activity – becoming a temporary stand-in for workplaces and classrooms.

With Earth Day clearly in sight, Robins & Morton’s Sustainability Council has been reflecting on our company’s efforts to balance the environmental, social and economic needs of present and future generations. Each year, we recommend simple changes we can make as individuals to reduce our environmental impact, asking team members and partners to join us in making a difference. We also suggest participating in community events, like planting a neighborhood garden.

But this year, COVID-19 has completely changed the way we work, travel, shop, socialize and spend our free time. Although our world is facing new challenges, we acknowledge that those challenges have brought a new awareness to many things we often take for granted. It has reminded us of the interdependency of the social and economic pillars of sustainability. As a result, we’re more mindful of our interconnectedness to each other.

In honor of Earth Day at Robins & Morton, we’ve decided to observe the day differently this year. Instead of asking employees to make a lifestyle change, we’ve asked them to simply make an Earth Day Pledge of Gratitude. Participating is as simple as thinking of something for which they are grateful and sharing it on our company social network, Yammer, with the hashtag #pledgeofgratitude. As far as guidelines go, we kept it open-ended.

Pledges can be environmental. While we may not be able to visit beaches, amble through parks or enjoy outdoor activities in the same way, perhaps the additional time at home has given them an opportunity to appreciate nature in their own backyards.

Gratitude can be an appreciation for our natural resources, or the goods and products that come from those resources, combining the environmental and economic aspects of sustainability. It can be a renewed awareness of the supply chains that bring us those products.

They can be social – appreciation for healthcare providers, essential workers or having a supportive network of friends or family.

Those are just a few ideas. There’s no wrong way to express gratitude. We shared that the important thing is to take a moment amidst the uncertainty and reflect on those things that we may have taken for granted before COVID-19 changed so much of our daily lives.

We’re grateful for our Earth and the many things it gives to us. Events like Earth Day serve as an important reminder, encouraging us to do our part in being good stewards of its natural resources. But the intent for this effort stretches far beyond Earth Day – participation means finding positivity in difficult times and sharing it with your friends, neighbors and co-workers.

As we considered that, we recognized the opportunity to share this outside of our organization, too. We’d like you to consider joining us in taking a #pledgeofgratitude and sharing it on your social media channels. Our voices are stronger, louder and more impactful together. We also invite you to tag any of our social handles, linked below.

Most importantly, when we begin our return to normal, we ask that you remember those pledges of gratitude. Our hope is that those Earth Day pledges of gratitude remain with us as reminders of sustainability’s interconnectedness with our everyday lives and we continue to appreciate its lasting, positive impact.

Share your #pledgeofgratitude now through April 30 on social media and tag any of Robins & Morton’s social handles – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram. Spread positivity.

  • Tags:
  • COVID-19
  • Earth Day
  • economic
  • environmental
  • gratitude
  • social
  • Sustainability