Earthday.org, the global organizer of Earth Day, chose “Invest in Our Planet” as the 2023 theme to engage governments, institutions, businesses, and the more than 1 billion citizens who participate annually in Earth Day to do their part – everyone accounted for, everyone accountable.
Human influence is unequivocally to blame for the warming of the planet, and the sad truth is some forms of climate disruption will be felt for centuries to come. However, we must collectively push away from the dirty fossil fuel economy and old technologies of centuries past – and redirect attention to creating a 21st century economy and culture that restores the health of our planet, protects our species, and provides opportunities for all.
Here are 10 things to get you started to protect the planet and the creatures we share it with:
1. Make your backyard wildlife friendly. Start with these time-honored tips from Friends of Animals, which range from creating basking spots for butterflies to skipping pesticides in favor of organic lawn-care solutions.
2. Take a stand against logging in our national forests. Climate-saving national forests are on the chopping block. Our Spring 2023 “Action Line” magazine cover story shows they are worth more standing and encourages people to take action against a proposed logging project in Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont. You can read more here.
3. Cut back on your waste. Garbage buried in landfills produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Keep stuff out of landfills by composting kitchen scraps and garden trimmings, and recycling paper, plastic, metal and glass. Tell store managers and manufacturers that you want products with minimal or recyclable packaging. Check out our article for tips on ways to reduce the amount of food that goes uneaten and to make sure that the food scraps and leftovers are put to a beneficial end use.
4. Change the way you think about transportation. Walk or bike whenever possible. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint, but your overall level of health will improve, and you will save money on parking and gasoline. Take public transit or carpool whenever possible. If you’re in the market for a new car, an electric vehicle will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
5. Make every drop of water count. Conserve water by fixing drips and leaks and by installing low-flow shower heads and toilets. Challenge yourself to a “speed shower.” Turn off water while brushing teeth or shaving. Treating and transporting water requires energy, while water conservation results in reduced energy requirements and carbon emissions.
6. Switch to “green power.” Research where your power is coming from—wind, water, coal, or solar—and talk to your power provider to determine if a greater percentage could be coming from renewable resources. Encourage power providers to switch to green power and, if possible and/or economically viable, switch to a company offering power from renewable resources.
7. Make climate-friendly food choices: Meat and dairy production are both contributing greatly to the climate crisis. Methane is the second-most significant greenhouse gas, and cows are one of the greatest methane emitters. Their grassy diet and multiple stomachs cause them to produce methane, which they exhale with every breath. We recommend adopting a plant-based lifestyle. Check out our guides here.
8. Repurpose rather than discarding or recycling clothing and household goods. Give them a chance at a second life. Gently used clothing can be donated to charity or exchanged with friends and family. Old T-shirts can be repurposed into rags for cleaning. Household goods can be donated to charity or sold at a garage sale. Through repurposing, the amount of waste being sent to landfill sites is reduced, there is no need to use energy for recycling, and others can benefit from your used items.
9. Practice sustainable fashion. If you want to dress to kill, but not the earth, you just need to change some bad habits. Here’s how.
10. Support and donate. Please consider becoming a member of Friends of Animals and helping us mitigate the disastrous effects of climate change on our environment and the wildlife who rely on it. You can also join us on social media and sign up for our email alerts here.