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Environmental activism: what is it and how can it bring about change?

lidl socialtalks 16 9 aspasia eng

The term “environmental activism” is defined as the combined and organised actions of individuals or groups that aim to reverse or reduce environmental damage, as well as to promote awareness and mobilisation around the sustainability of the planet. Regardless of the methods, environmental activism has a clear objective: to create a sustainable and healthy living environment for present and future generations.

The magnitude of the ecological disaster our planet is currently facing, can easily lead to a general feeling of futility. People are often led to inaction, believing that none of their efforts can have any impact on ecological repair. But the truth is, every action counts, no matter how small. Recycling plastic, getting around by bicycle, using reusable products in our daily lives such as straws, bags and packaging, mass tree planting and cleaning up natural spaces, have already made a tremendous difference to the environment.

It is important for everyone to realise that every one of us has a responsibility towards the environment, and, at the same time, that the planet needs us now more than ever. Poor waste management, the unnecessary and excessive use of single-use products, and irresponsible behaviour, all affect the health of ecosystems, as well as the health of people. When garbage and waste that end up in nature, start to decompose, they release toxic chemicals into the air, soil and water, posing a threat to biodiversity, various ecosystems and public health. Preventing and repairing ecological damage is of vital importance, and requires systematic, dynamic and, above all, collective action.

Therefore, apart from the small actions that each of us can take in our daily lives, the first step towards a more organised and collective environmental defence can be as small and simple as undertaking a voluntary project of planting trees or cleaning up coastal pollution. Doing so can help a person to become familiar with activism and to identify a specific environmental cause that interests them.

A good example of environmental activism in Cyprus, where thousands of volunteers join forces for a cause, is the nationwide Let’s Do It! Cyprus clean-up campaign. This drive is organised every year by the Together Cyprus Volunteer Network, and is part of the global Let’s Do It! World movement, the largest ecological citizens’ initiative in the world. Lidl Cyprus, known for its environmental and social actions, has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment towards a more sustainable future, by undertaking initiatives and partnerships that aim at the practical protection of the environment, as well as the cultivation of environmental awareness. That is why, since 2021, Lidl Cyprus has supported the island’s largest environmental campaign, Let’s Do It! Cyprus, as a Major Sponsor.

By June 2023, over 22,500 volunteers had joined forces, collecting 99 tonnes of PMD and 223 tonnes of mixed waste, proving that change is, indeed, possible. It is also worth noting that at the closing ceremony of this year’s campaign, held on October 29, 2023, the largest parallel clean-up of the 14-kilometre-long Pediaion Linear Park was co-organised, clearing 6,664 litres of litter (mixed waste and PMD), with the valuable contribution of Let’s Do It! Cyprus, Lidl Cyprus, as well as the Nicosia, Strovolos and Lakatamia municipalities, adjacent to the park.

Creating a sustainable future for all is part of Lidl Cyprus’ strategy and vision. To this end, it undertakes actions that promote and support respect for the environment, sustainable development, and the proper management of resources. Because a healthy natural environment not only ensures the quality of our own lives, but also those of future generations.

At the same time, Lidl Cyprus, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, is constantly undertaking new actions and initiatives that have people and society at their heart. One of these actions is the creation of the video series “Lidl Social Talks”, where important issues of concern to modern society are discussed. Watch below (in Greek) the fifth episode, where Let’s do it! Cyprus Communication Manager Aspasia Christodoulou elaborates on the topic of activism.

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