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Earth Day 2024

22 Apr 2024

What is Earth Day and what is the library doing to tackle the climate emergency?

a graphic of the earth with text reading 'happy earth day April 22'

The first Earth Day in 1970 mobilized millions of Americans from all walks of life to birth the modern environmental movement. Since then, Earth Day has evolved into the largest civic event on Earth, activating billions across 192 countries to safeguard our planet and fight for a brighter future.

For Earth Day 2024, the focus is on Planet vs. Plastics, with a commitment to end plastics for the sake of human and planetary health, demanding a 60% reduction in the production of all plastics by 2040.

Visit the Earth Day website to learn more about their goals and initiatives and try their quiz to test your knowledge of the impact of plastic pollution.

What is the library doing? 

This year the RCN Library and Museum established a climate change emergency group with the aim to review current environmental practices in the library and to generate ideas and actions to implement positive sustainable change. We already have initiatives to minimise our ecological footprint such as reducing our paper usage with printing limits and providing postal loans and online training sessions to reduce unnecessary travel, the emergency group aims to build on these and expand our efforts in meaningful and sustainable ways.

We are also using a company called Warpit on a trial basis with potential benefits for the rest of the organisation. This is an online platform to support redistributing, reusing, and recycling surplus redundant resources such as furniture, equipment, fixtures, and fittings.

However, sustainability isn’t just about the actions we take, it’s also about empowering others to make a difference. That’s why we’re raising awareness of the library resources available to RCN members to help educate and inspire.

All RCN members have access to GreenFILE through the library, a free research database covering all aspects of human impact on the environment. Its collection of scholarly, government and general-interest titles and includes content on topics such as global warming, green building, pollution, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, recycling, and more.

If you would like support using GreenFILE or other library databases, book a 1-1 training session online or in-person. These sessions last up to an hour and are tailored to your needs.

You might also want to check out our sustainable nursing practice subject guide to find key resources, books and journals on sustainability in nursing available through the RCN Library.

Looking to the future

In the UK, the NHS has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050. Urgent action is needed across healthcare and medicine to adapt nursing practice to deal with the impact of the climate emergency. Therefore, we are excited to announce our next exhibition in November 2024, which aims to encourage nurses, nurse leaders and policymakers to think about sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint of nursing.

Watch this space for more information. In the meantime, details of our current events and exhibitions can be found online, including Shining a light: a history of nursing support work, a new exhibition launching Friday 10th May 2024.


Page last updated - 14/06/2024