Today is World Environment Day and this year, it’s Time For Nature.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Earth is now experiencing exceptional times in which nature is sending us a message; to care for ourselves, we must care for nature.
The foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the climate that makes our planet habitable - all come from nature - it is the foundation upon which each one of us was built and we all have the right, responsibility, and opportunity to change the world for the better.
Each of us can make the choice to seize this opportunity, and while at times it may be difficult to envision how one person’s actions alone can make a difference, we at Guinness World Records have witnessed the enormous influence that individuals can achieve with determination to positively impact the environment.
In a similar vein, brands, businesses, and organizations have used the power of record-breaking to unite individuals around sustainability efforts whether to educate, promote a cause, and/or implement direct change.
In a recent article featured on worldenvironmentday.global titled COVID-19: Four Sustainable Development Goals That Help Future-Proof Global Recovery, the author suggests there are four goals, out of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) established by the UN as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, that are vital for a truly sustainable recovery when it comes to improving the health of our planet.
Let’s take a look at these four goals and what we have seen organizations do with record-breaking to address them.
Goal 12: Responsible Consumption & Production
Fundamental to an environmental recovery is ensuring that the knowledge and commitment to responsible consumption and production extends across all pillars of societies.
In 2018, Los Angeles-based non-profit organization, Crayon Collection, took to record-breaking in attempt to make history while making strides toward achieving this goal.
With a focus on transforming discarded crayons into environmental and art education learning opportunities, Crayon Collection set out to combat a cycle of waste with its title attempt for the most Crayons donated to charity in eight hours.
The organization began a 1 Million Crayon Drive on Earth Day, encouraging children and adults worldwide to collect and donate gently used crayons to be redirected to teachers in need of supplies instead of landfills.
Through this initiative, Crayon Collection donated 1,009,500 gently used crayons that would have otherwise been discarded to teachers at LAUSD and Head Start Center in Los Angeles, California.
Goal 13: Climate Action
The climate crisis may be seen as a slower moving crisis than the speed of the current global pandemic, but its long-term effects are likely to be far more threatening according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
On 5 January 2018, the Plastindia Foundation and its partners in India successfully took climate action into their own hands with a record title attempt for the largest t-shirt, with the entire record-breaking item being made out of plastic waste.
The massive t-shirt was created by sourcing 200,000 used PET bottles which were then crushed, recycled, and processed into fibre to produce a whopping 4,000 kg of cloth.
Measuring a staggering 96.86 m (317.78 ft) long and 69.77 m (228.90 ft) wide, the largest t-shirt was then broken down into wearable clothing and donated to over 10,000 children in need.
After the record attempt, event organizer Jateen Rajput of Consumer Links, India said, “A simple act of disposing a used bottle could cause a new revolution for social and climate change was the core message and the T-shirt being converted to tangible clothing for 10,000 children was the best way to communicate how waste could be made into wealth and get Plastindia Foundation’s point across to the masses about the need for waste segregation.”
Goal 14: Life Below Water
The decline and degradation of natural marine, coastal and freshwater ecosystems, and their biodiversity, combined with increasing ocean warming, acidification, and pollution, presents a serious concern to our planet’s future.
To help alleviate this issue, Canadian artist Von Wong joined forces with Zero Waste Saigon (Vietnam) to raise awareness about single-use plastic pollution and its impact on the world’s oceans, as scientists predict there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050.
By creating a massive plastic sculpture made from reclaimed plastic including 168,037 straws, Von Wong successfully achieved the record for the largest drinking straw sculpture (supported) on 22 January 2019.
“The installation is meant to depict the parting of the plastic ocean in an attempt to engage and encourage individuals to say no to single-use plastics, especially straws,” explained artist Von Wong.
The record event was sponsored in part by Starbucks, who used the opportunity to bring attention to their installation of used straw collection bins at numerous of their stores in Vietnam.
Goal 15: Life on Land
Today, human activity has altered almost 75% of the earth’s surface, squeezing wildlife and nature into a shrinking corner of the planet and placing it under increasing stress.
Aiming to spread awareness of the long-term damage that ivory trade causes to a peaceful and endangered species, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) teamed up with the Bronx Zoo in Manhattan, New York to attempt the record for the largest display of origami elephants.
The event took place on 17 November 2016 and was organized as a part of WCS’s 96 Elephants campaign, a reference to the statistic that 96 elephants are killed each day for their ivory.
The organization invited people from around the world to send in their origami elephants to contribute to the record.
“WCS’s Bronx Zoo received these gems of folded paper from all over the world and assembled them into this gorgeous display as a simple gesture that sends a powerful message to the world that we are standing together to save these majestic animals,” said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Director of the 96 Elephants Campaign.
An impressive 78,564 origami elephants were sent to the Bronx Zoo from all 50 states in the US, along with 40 other countries, and 45 AZA zoos in pursuit of the protection and a healthy future for the elephants.
How is your brand inspiring your audiences? Attempt to break a world record for brand awareness, a product launch, celebration, CSR, fundraising or employee engagement – Find out more here, or contact us for more information.