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For this 50th Anniversary of Earth Day we draw inspiration from Rachel Carson. The famed marine biologist who wrote Silent Spring, and helped spark the environmental movement and said it best, "In nature, nothing exists alone."
With this in mind, here's a list of tips to live your life more sustainably and resources to learn more about our home planet. And if you haven't already, be sure to check out our Ambassador Spotlight with Conner Coffin and listen to our special Earth Day podcast episode, detailing the history of Earth Day with special guests, Conner Coffin, Lakey Peterson, Kira Redmond of Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, Linda Krop of the Environmental Defense Center, and Michael Chiacos of the Community Environmental Council.
For more tips on what you can do this Earth Day, from a safe physical distance, reference our actions to slow climate change and read on below for resources, books, movies, and webinars.
While the majority of real systemic environmental action is needed from private industry and governments, individual actions still play an important part. While not all of us are able to focus on climate change right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for those who can, our collective actions add up to real impact, especially if we keep them over time. Below are some actions you can take to slow climate change. While the focus of these are for actions we can take while in quarantine, we also include broader actions for when COVID-19 passes:
- Try to buy locally produced food. Locally produced foods have a much lower carbon footprint given their shorter shipping distances.
- Try to eat organic. Organic foods are healthier for our soil, our planet, and thus, our ocean.
- Eat less meat. Growing meat, especially red meat, has a high environmental footprint in terms of carbon production and water and land use.
- Cut down on dairy.
- Compost your food waste at home, or find a local community garden where you can drop it off. This is a huge way to reduce your waste and improve your carbon footprint.
- Vote! So many of our day to day actions are impacted by the systems built and provided by our government, so it's important to support leaders who will take action for the environment, at the city, state, and federal level.
- Educate yourself on climate change, its impacts to your local city, and in the broader world.
- Help spread that awareness to others!
- If you can, move to clean energy sources - such as wind, solar, or geothermal. Check with your local utility to see what options you have.
- Next time you need a new lightbulb, switch to energy efficient light bulbs and LED lights.
- Shut down your electronics when not in use to save energy.
- If you need new clothes, make smart choices with your dollars and buy from sustainable companies and brands who are actively reducing their carbon emissions.
- And when we're able to travel freely again -- It's always good to bike and skate more and drive and fly less!
Plastic can be useful, but it doesn't belong on our beaches, in our waves, or out at sea. While we're seeing single use plastic rise during COVID-19, we can still do what we can to minimize our use and keep the recommendations below in mind when COVID-19 passes.
- When possible, say no to plastic bags and bring your own reusable bag to the grocery store or farmers market. Remember to wash your reusable bag after each use.
- Where you can, buy your food in the bulk section to reduce packaging.
- While many of us are eating at home these days, if you order take away remember to mention how no additional cutlery, napkins and other single use items are needed. When COVID-19 passes avoid plastic cutlery by always bringing your reusables.
- Many restaurants and coffee shops have different policies around reusables because of COVID-19. Always present a clean reusable bottle or cup as an option and refusing plastic bottled water and beverages where you can.
- When shopping, try avoiding items wrapped in plastic.
- Visit local non profit websites for action alerts and petitions and when given the chance, vote to support policies like single-use plastic bans.
- Check out Surfrider's tips to make your home ocean friendly by eliminating single use plastic items from your home.
Many of us are in quarantine now, but when COVID-19 passes we each need to do our part to leave each place better than we found it through the actions below, especially our coasts and beaches.
- If it's safe and legal to be outside, do your best to pick up trash on the beach and trail and avoiding walking over dunes and stepping on beachgrass which helps keep our dunes in place and always follow local signage and respect sensitive habitats.
- If it's safe and legal to be in the ocean remember to wear reef-safe sunblock and avoiding stepping on or touching coral reefs.
- Donate to local non profit organizations making positive impacts in the areas of costal conservation, restoration, and protection.
- Earth Day Network is the global coordinator of Earth Day, and its website lists a variety of ways that people can get involved such as volunteering, switching to green power, exploring plant based recipes and more!
- Strike, divest, and vote for our future. From April 22, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, to April 24, activists, performers, thought leaders, and artists will come together for an empowering, inspiring, and communal three day livestream mobilization. The fights against the coronavirus and the climate crisis go hand-in-hand, and as we work to flatten the curve of this pandemic, we must strive toward the longer term goal of building a society rooted in sustainability and justice. Join Earth Day Live!
- Take action for the environment while social distancing with Santa Barbara Channelkeeper.
- The Community Environmental Council is hosting #TogetherWeEarthrise, an online Earth Day Festival dedicated to inspiration, community building, and climate action. The livestream event begins at noon Pacific time on Wednesday, April 22 and is available to view at SBEarthDay.org.
- Join Surfrider to learn about the history of Earth Day, understand the risks of going to the beach, read tips for an ocean friendly home and check out their #StayHomeShredLater campaign.
- Missing nature while quarantined? Check in on some of the Explore live cams like the Channel Islands Kelp Forest, Underwater Manatees, and more!
- Join We The Planet for a Global Day of Action on April 22, 2020 to keep the climate conversations alive.
- Have Kids? Earth Day is all about protecting the planet. For kids, that often means protecting wildlife. Start by meeting some amazing animals that need your child's help, along with tips on how to save some of them.
- Silent Spring - Rachel Carson
- The End of Nature - Bill McKibben
- Project Drawdown - Paul Hawken
- The Story of More - Hope Jahren
- Junk Raft - Marcus Eriksen
- The Water Will Come - Jeff Goodell
- Fifty years ago an oil spill united a community and changed the world forever. Learn more about the history of Earth Day through this 45-minute documentary at BetterTogetherMovie.com. Your rental contribution will help produce an educational version of the film.
- Celebrate Earth Day with the first-ever online release of the Save The Waves Film Festival! For the next five weeks, they'll be releasing 6 episodes of the best surf and environmental films for the world to enjoy. Tune in, be inspired and celebrate our oceans together while we're apart.
- Wednesday 4/22 - Turner Classic Movies is featuring 5 environmental films on Earth Day.
- Join the students of New Roads School for the Earth Day Premiere of the Inaugural Climate Changemaker Teen Film Festival. The festival will be streamed two times on Earth Day, April 22nd, at 10:30am and 5:00pm PDT. Details here!
- Friday 4/24 at 4pm PDT - Join our friends 5 Gyres and Surfrider LA for a community screening of Story of Plastic. The Story of Plastic is a seething expose, uncovering the truth behind plastic pollution and the false solution of plastic recycling. Registration and details here.
- The Story of Plastic will also premiere on Discovery Channel Wednesday 4/22 as part of their celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and on DiscoveryGO.
- If you have access to streaming services, here are a few of our favorite environmental films: Chasing Coral, Our Planet, An Inconvenient Truth and An Inconvenient Sequel, Before The Flood, A Plastic Ocean and Mission Blue.
- EarthxWomen "Women in the Environment Summit - Creating the Future We Want" which will be live streamed from Thursday, April 23nd - Saturday, April 25th. Register here!
- Join Jack Johnson and friends at Kokua Festival 2020 - Live From Home on Saturday, April 25th. This 2 hour special event hosted by Amazon Music will feature live music performances from past Kokua Festival artists.
- To celebrate Earth Day Surfers Against Sewage launched #ReturnToOffender - a unique #DigitalBeachClean campaign. Snap pictures of branded #PlasticPollution, share them on social media, tagging brands & demand action to stop plastic pollution.
- Heal the Bay Knowledge Drop-Earth Day History on Wed, Apr 22 at 1:30 PM PDT. Join for a look back over 50 years of Earth Day and the major policies that the people's movement accomplished.
- Please register to join Citizens' Climate Lobby (CCL) Sat, April 25, 2020 from 1-4pm EDT to hear from climate leaders, learn about quick actions we can take to help climate change, and get trained. You can attend this virtual Earth Day event from home. Please join us, and (virtually) bring a friend!
- April 29 at 10:15am PDT - Register here via the Sustainability Consortium to hear about climate communication and cutting through the noise to activate consumers in the webinar "Understanding the Landscape of Consumer Communication in Sustainability."
- Listen to Green Sports Alliance Webinar Series: The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.
While we cannot celebrate Earth Day in person, we can still come together digitally to educate ourselves, inspire our friends and family, and take action to slow climate change! Happy Earth Day!