By Catherine Reheis-Boyd, WSPA President and CEO
Each year, Earth Day offers us all an opportunity to stop and recognize the ways we can all improve – industry and individuals alike – in our efforts to collectively contribute to a more sustainable future. The problem is that many times the day comes and goes, as does the sentiment.
What impresses me about the oil and gas industry is that for decades we have continuously invested in innovation, committing to cleaner, more efficient technologies and operations to drive sustainable progress day after day, year after year. That’s why we were proud to publicly support the U.S. rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement earlier this year in addressing climate change. And we know can go further still as we continue to deliver safe, reliable and affordable energy to communities everywhere.
This year’s Earth Day theme is “Restore Our Earth,” and examines emerging green technologies and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems. Many WSPA member companies are making bold commitments that embody this theme, and are investing and setting sustainable business strategies that will drive progress for decades to come.
- Water management and savings is an example of direct action that correlates with today’s Earth Day theme. Companies within our industry are committed to conserving water, and in some cases, are giving back more than they use through reuse, recycling and reclaiming efforts.
- Reducing emissions through an inclusive mix of different types of energy is a huge focus of the industry, with new innovations driving future opportunities to limit greenhouse gasses and curb climate change.
- New technology and solutions such as carbon capture and sequestration are being introduced and expanded to move toward a lower carbon future while still providing the energy sources the world needs.
There’s a lot to be inspired by. As we celebrate Earth Day today, my hope is that we can also think about practices in our everyday lives to be more sustainable. While industry and companies across the globe have an important role to play in reducing emissions and protecting the planet, our individual day-to-day actions can also make a big difference. Here are some of my favorite everyday practices that I try to incorporate into my life:
- Never leave the faucet running. We all wash our hands a lot more than ever before due to pandemic precautions, so let’s be mindful to turn off the tap while we wash up and stay COVID safe.
- Re-use everyday things where you can, to give them a second life. I wash out and reuse my plastic bags for example – it’s easy and reduces waste to landfill.
- Volunteer to clean up your community or favorite area. Many companies provide some flexible volunteering time, or it can be a nice activity to feel good about on a weekend. If we all did it once or twice a year imagine the impact we’d make.
- Unplug your appliances and electronics when not in use. Devices left plugged in, even when turned off, still consume power, even if just a tiny amount each day – but it adds up over the course of weeks and months.
- Make conscious choices to support local businesses and locally grown food where we can – it not only supports your community but makes a sustainable difference as well.
Just as California needs an all of the above strategy for our energy future, my sustainability efforts at home are a mix of actions that both are attainable and make a difference. I hope this year Earth Day can remind us all that the work we do, and the choices we make in our everyday lives do have an impact, and it can be for the better. Let’s celebrate Earth Day today, and every day.