Celebrating Earth Day 2020

April 22, 2020

Today marks the 50th annual Earth Day.  To celebrate, we've been spending the week reflecting on what we as engineers, scientists, technologists, and economists can do to protect our natural environment. In our Climate Change Statement we commit to designing and building practical solutions that reduce the presence of greenhouse gases (GHG) in our atmosphere and to adapting our built and natural environments to unavoidable climate change-related impacts.

Today, we were honored to share a special virtual presentation from the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Canada to our Hatch colleagues. Her Honour has an impressive career history focused on environmental stewardship, having held positions such as the head of the Canadian Atmospheric Environment Service, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, and later the founding President and CEO of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization.

In her role as Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Her Honour has focused much of her efforts on sustainability--inclusive economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, and social cohesion--ideas and values that Hatch feels passionately about. It's for this reason that we asked Her Honour to address our community in honor of Earth Day. 

The 50th anniversary of this important event is a milestone that comes at an unfortunate time in our history, as the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic has had tragic consequences and wreaked havoc on our lives as we knew them, it has also opened our eyes to the impacts of our “normal” lives on our natural environment. As countries around the world “shelter in place”, we have seen a dramatic decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and improved air quality. However, these positive impacts are temporary, while we fight this pandemic, and so we should take the opportunity to pause for reflection on what we want for the future of our planet. 

In an excerpt from her address, Ms. Dowdeswell poses Bruce Mau’s question (featured in the art exhibition Awakening) that's so relevant amidst the current challenges of the day as the world tackles COVID-19: Now that we can do anything, what will we do?

The time is upon us for bold ideas and brave resolve to move towards a world we actually want.