Take action to invest in our planet

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From tree planting and clean-ups to pledging support for climate change causes, millions of people around the world will be taking action on 22 April to help improve the environment in support of Earth Day.

Marking its 53rd anniversary, Earth Day was established by earthday.org as a global reminder to dedicate time, resources and energy towards helping to solve the climate change crisis and other environmental issues.

This year’s theme is ‘Invest in Our Planet’ and earth.org wants to accelerate the transition to an equitable, prosperous green economy for all. As part of this, it aims to engage the more than one billion people, governments, institutions, and businesses who participate in Earth Day to take collective responsibility and bring everyone together to understand ‘this is within our reach if we work together’.

Scotland’s Climate Week shares the same mission with the annual event aimed at raising awareness of the global climate emergency and encouraging action across the country. To mark the 2023 Climate Week, which runs from 26 September to 2 October, individuals, businesses and communities are being asked to put climate change at the top of the conversation list to help normalise talk around it.

Everyone is being encouraged to talk more about its impact and what each of us plan to do to tackle it because only by taking action together will Scotland succeed in becoming a net zero nation by 2045.

Making changes in our everyday lives all contribute to tackling climate change with reducing waste, the way we use energy and how we travel among the many ways we can play our part.

Scotland’s Low Emission Zones (LEZs) were introduced to the city centres of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow on 31 May 2022 to help improve air quality and protect public health by reducing the number of the most polluting vehicles on certain city centre roads.

Local grace periods now apply until enforcement begins.

In Glasgow, the LEZ already applies to buses. For other vehicle types, enforcement will start on 1 June 2023 (1 June 2024 for residents within the zone). Dundee will start enforcement on 30 May 2024 and Aberdeen and Edinburgh will start enforcement on 1 June 2024.

LEZs set minimum emission standards for vehicles that drive within the zone while also supporting the need to change the way we travel and encouraging people to change their habits. When enforcement starts, owners of the most polluting vehicles will face a Penalty Charge Notice if they enter an LEZ.

You can check if your vehicle meets LEZ standards here lowemissionzones.scot/vehicle-registration-checker

LEZs will help Scotland meet its air quality objectives and to reach net zero by 2045. They will also support the switch to more sustainable methods of transport, encouraging the use of public transport, as well as walking, wheeling and cycling as alternatives to taking the car.

Reducing your carbon footprint by choosing sustainable modes of travel is one of the many ways you can demonstrate support for protecting the environment on Earth Day, Scotland’s Climate Week and beyond. While these events may only be celebrated once a year, their purpose is to prompt everyone to take action every day to invest in our planet.

To find out more about how you can support Earth Day and Scotland’s Climate Week, visit the links below:

Earth Day - earthday.org/

Scotland’s Climate Week - netzeronation.scot/whats-happening/scotlands-climate-week

Find out more about Scotland’s Low Emissions Zones at lowemissionzones.scot/