Here’s What You Should Do for the Planet This #EarthDay

Listen, change ain’t easy. I know that. But if it’s for the planet, you should be all in. So here’s what I’m doing this Earth Day, and you should join me.

1. Litter less, and work more on #2minutelitterpick. I’ve been picking up beach litter long before the #2minutebeachclean came around, but now it’s gaining some momentum as a Twitter hashtag (what isn’t these days?). It’s so easy to pick up some trash for two minutes on your way off the beach, down the street, and as you’re heading down the trail (just shove it in your backpack!). But it takes more than that — stop it at the source. Start committing to buying things with less packaging, and if you have to use plastic, PLEASE recycle it. A little goes a long way, and reduce, reuse, recycle still fits in the motto of Earth Day.

2. Give up straws. I have to admit — I’ve been trying this one, and it is HARD, especially when you’re out at restaurants and they just throw straws at you — literally. But just ask for no straw. Straws (and other plastics) are making their way into our waterways, choking up our oceans and literally choking our wildlife. Plastic is making its way into our food, too. #BanTheStraw is just the latest in the plastic-free movement (even McDonalds is doing it!,), behind the #BanTheBag movement, starring my favorite, the plastic bag. And it’s making waves — in July, Seattle will ban plastic straws and plastic utensils, and Scotland plans to ban plastic straws by 2019.

3. Plant a tree. Ok, people have been saying this for decades, and there’s a reason! Planting trees is one of the best things you can do for climate change, and trees are also just the best in general (I can’t source that information, because it’s just known to be true). If you can’t literally plant a tree because you don’t have the means, have someone else contribute for you! Companies like Tentree plant ten trees (you guessed it!) for every item you buy.

There are also many organizations you can donate to that will plant trees in regions that need it most. To start with a donation — Plant a billion from the Nature Conservancy, One Tree Planted, American Forests, and the National Forest Foundation.

If you need more suggestions, check out more campaigns on Earth Day Network.

Earth Week 2016: Happy Earth Day!

Day five in the Earth Week 2016 series. Read parts one, two, three and four.

Today is Earth Day!

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The signing of the Paris Agreement in December. Credit: United Nations Photo/flickr

This year, Earth Day has a special meaning. World leaders are meeting in New York City to sign the COP21 Paris Climate Agreement, which was ratified in Paris in December. 165 countries are planning to sign!

The agreement aims to lower carbon emissions in countries across the globe in order to limit our global warming to 2°C instead of 4°C, which is our current track of warming.

Limiting warming to 2°C may not seem like a lot, but it would decrease the amount of climate change impacts currently plaguing the world, including sea level rise, extreme weather and extreme heat.

There are still some climate change effects that won’t be completely eradicated, including ocean acidification. A lot of global heat is trapped in the oceans, and decreasing our emissions won’t decrease the current heat in the oceans. But, of course, it would help the overall rate of warming.

Because of the signing, world leaders are helping combat climate change by embracing renewable energy and carbon trading.

The main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen capability to deal with the impacts of climate change.

To reach these ambitious and important goals, appropriate financial flows will be put in place, thus making stronger action by developing countries and the most vulnerable possible, in line with their own national objectives.

World leaders are helping out, but we can too! Drive less (or ride public transit or buy an electric car!). Eat less meat. If your energy company allows you the option to choose wind or solar on your energy bill, pay the extra few dollars. A little from everyone goes a long way.

Thanks for tuning in this Earth Week! View the whole Earth Week Series here.

Earth Week 2016: #AppsForEarth connects Apple and the Earth like never before

Day two in the Earth Week 2016 series. Read day one here.

Money talks.. or so they say.

And it certainly helps with conservation efforts across the globe, as a little money can go a long way.

And that’s why Apple has paired up with 27 apps to send 100% of proceeds from app purchases and in-app purchases to the World Wildlife Fund from April 14 through 24 in a campaign called “Apps for Earth.”

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Causes include forest conservation, wildlife conservation, sustainable food development, ocean preservation, fresh water protection, and combatting climate change.

The apps aren’t just limited to conservation efforts, as they include games from Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Disney, Jurassic World, and Marvel, as well as Angry Birds, Candy Crush, Cut the Rope and line.

Lisa Jackson, former EPA director and now Apple’s VP for environment & social initiatives, told the Washington Post:

“This is yet another example of our work to help the planet, and it addresses something we hear a lot of from our customers. They love the work Apple is doing as a company, but they want to be engaged in this mission of leaving the planet better than we found it.”

So if you were waiting to buy those extra Angry Birds lives, do it now! And help save the planet one app at a time.

View the whole Earth Week Series here.

Earth Week 2016: 5 social campaigns to follow this Earth Week

Day one in the Earth Week 2016 series. Stay tuned for more!

The Earth needs a whole week, not just a day! So welcome to my Earth Week series.

If you’re new to the internet, welcome! You may have heard of the hashtag, or the greatest invention ever. With it, you can follow the conversation about pretty much everything. But I’m here to tell you about social campaigns worth following this Earth Day.

#ClimateSign

The #ClimateSign movement has been ongoing since the COP21 Paris Climate Agreement, and encourages people all over the world to throw up the “climate sign,” the letter “c,” and say why you care about climate!

While I worked Weather + Climate Day at the National Aquarium a couple weeks ago, I ran into some Climate Sign people working the same event! There’s me, above, saying I care about climate because I care about people. Follow them on Twitter to join the movement.

#24Seven

NASA’s Earth Day campaign invites people across the Blue Marble to share what they’re doing to protect it. This event will also give the public a look behind the scenes at the space agency:

“The Earth Day #24Seven campaign will give the world a glimpse at the various efforts NASA undertakes to protect and understand our home planet. NASA will post time-stamped snapshot “moments” throughout the day on numerous Earth-related social media accounts to collectively paint a picture of NASA Earth science.”

Find more info on the #24Seven Project here.

#AppsForEarth

Apple is pairing up with the World Wildlife Fund this Earth Week to raise money for climate change mitigation, forest conservation and fresh water protection (among other causes!). 100% of the purchases of certain apps (including some from Disney, Marvel and Angry Birds) as well as in-app purchases will go to these causes. Apps for Earth! Stay tuned, blog post coming tomorrow on this very subject!

#48DaysofBlue

The National Aquarium is launching a national campaign around water — all kinds of it! The campaign, dubbed #48DaysofBlue, launches on Earth Day and continues on until World Oceans Day 48 days later. The push covers everything from the issues oceans face in the long term (like pollution and ocean acidification) to water conservation in your home. Follow along on Twitter!

#Trees4Earth

The Earth Day Network is urging people to plant trees to combat climate change with their #Trees4Earth hashtag.

Deforestation is a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for up to 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Deforestation plays such an oversized role in climate change, in fact, that part of the 2015 Paris Agreement singled out both the end of deforestation and the importance of reforestation to hitting national climate goals.

For more on how trees can help, see Climate Central’s coverage of trees from the Paris climate pact.

#EarthDay (and #EarthWeek)

Last but certainly not least, an oldie but a goodie, the #EarthDay hashtag will have everything and MORE about the greatest holiday on the planet (in my opinion, of course). Follow #EarthDay and #EarthWeek (because Earth deserves more than one day) on Twitter for Earth news for the whole week.

View the whole Earth Week Series here.