Scientists have spoken out about climate change for years, and now it’s really starting to show up in our everyday lives. While Earth Day is an incredible moment to raise awareness of key causes, it’s clear we need to adapt a more sustainable approach to our lives all day, everyday. The environment needs a more proactive stance to create change, and anyone can make a difference. Here are some key ways you can help the cause.
What You Can Do For Earth Day
You can start by living a more sustainable lifestyle. That can be as simple as conserving energy. This can include switching your light bulbs to LEDs, washing your clothes in cold water and hanging them to dry, turning off lights and appliances you aren’t using and reducing your heat and AC use. Being mindful about the resources we use everyday is an easy way to reduce waste and unnecessary use.
Decreasing your use of plastic is another vital place to focus your energy on because it’s one of the biggest polluters. Try using eco-friendly alternatives like reusable grocery bags, coffee mugs, and water bottles. Say no to single-use plastics. If you see a store or restaurant using these plastics, write them an email or speak to them about switching to biodegradable or compostable options.
You can be more eco-friendly with your clothes too. The fashion industry is another big polluter—particularly ‘fast fashion’. Look to brands that use sustainable materials and fair labour practices. Where you can, shop recycled materials too. Donate any old clothes or accessories that are still usable. If not, look for your local textile recycling drop-off.
Another easy way to help out is by switching to composting for your food waste. You’d probably be surprised to hear that food waste is also hazardous to the environment because of the methane it produces when it rots. Anything left you don’t want or that’s gone past its best, just add to your compost bin or patch, or visit a local composting site.
These are just a few of the lifestyle adjustments you can make, but obviously bigger changes need to be set by our government too. Get proactive on climate change by voting for candidates with a clear climate agenda, such as those who support the Green New Deal. If you aren’t eligible to vote yet, you can still get involved by writing to elected officials, starting and signing petitions, or attending marches or rallies. In addition, the Climate Stories Project is another excellent way to get your voice heard because they let you tell your own stories to help tackle the crisis.
Resources To Help You Become a Climate Activist
You may be ready to dive in and get involved, but if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, some organizations have tips and resources to help, like Fridays for Future. It was born out of Swedish activist Greta Thunberg striking at her school for the climate. #FridayforFuture was created when more high schoolers joined Greta worldwide, protesting outside their local government buildings. The website for this movement includes lots of resources including how to guide to strike, a map of strikes going on globally, and you can even register your own.
Another important organization to support is the Sunrise Movement. This movement works by talking to communities and sharing stories of how their lives are impacted or will be impacted by climate change. You can get involved by volunteering or donating money.
You don’t have to just look to youth organizations to get involved. There are many organizations you can get involved in. For example, The Peoples Climate Movement started in New York City, and the march has spread across the country. Its website also has a toolkit to show you different ways to get involved. That can be in a digital capacity that includes sample social media posts, ideas for videos and recruitment letters.
For a larger, international organization you can join, try 350.org. It has groups all over the world and offers trainings for organizing as well as a storytelling toolkit, graphics and art resources.
Environmental Non-Profits to Donate To
As well as the organizations mentioned above, other non-profits need your help. The Climate Emergency Fund is a way to help finance activists fighting for the cause. The Clean Air Task Force is working to push policy changes to achieve zero emissions as well as advocating for technology to meet this goal. The organization wants to “achieve zero-emissions energy, waste, agricultural, and forest management systems by 2050.” And the Sierra Club Foundation aims to solve the climate crisis as well as protect land, water and create healthy ecosystems for communities.
Nature and Wildlife Foundations To Support
Many different organizations are fighting to end the climate crisis. Some of them focus more on nature and wildlife. Those non-profits also need your help. If you’re an animal lover, you may want to donate to or get involved with World Wildlife or the Rainforest Foundation. The World Wildlife organization is working to help animals adapt, while the Rainforest Foundation aims to protect rainforests and work with indigenous people to get it done.
Climate Crisis Organizations with Solutions
Some non-profits out there are working on solutions to the crisis. A few are working on solutions to the carbon being emitted to our atmosphere. For example, Carbon180 is working with scientists, businesses and policymakers to find ways to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than we emit. And Climeworks is doing that work already by removing carbon from the atmosphere. At Tradewater, you can purchase credits to offset your carbon footprint that fits your budget.
Organizations are also working on expanding renewable energy like International Renewable Energy Agency, American Council for Renewable Energy and International Solar Agency. IRENA can help educate you on the renewable energy available and jobs within this sector. ACORE is working on bringing a renewable energy economy to the U.S through policy, financing and technology. ISES envisions 100 percent renewable energy for everyone and is working towards that goal.
Some organizations are supporting the planet through recycling, like the Global Recycling Foundation.
There are many avenues to choose to help support the planet and live each day like it’s Earth Day. It’s up to you to decide what one fits with your values. Share with us how you’re participating in Earth Day and beyond on social using #LifeUnzipped.