Earth Day is an opportunity for Americans to reflect on how our daily actions impact the planet we live on and think about ways to waste less, reuse more, and keep Earth as healthy as possible. While it's fairly easy to realize that the Starbucks cup you get every morning on the way to work will end up in a landfill, it's a lot harder to actually change your behavior, much less come up with large scale solutions to global warming. Luckily, there are smart people out there developing innovative environmental projects you can donate to on Earth Day, helping fund science and joining the green movement with a few simple clicks.
On Friday, more than 150 countries will sign a monumental climate change deal at the United Nations, each setting their own goals for limiting carbon dioxide and other green gas emissions within their borders. Approved at December's climate change summit in Paris, the agreement aims to keep the global temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
While governments work to limit businesses' pollution, a lot can still be done to protect the Earth through individuals' actions and technological advances. Here are 10 environmental projects worth supporting if you want to join the cause:
Billions of pounds of food are thrown away by grocery stores and supermarkets every year. In order to prevent cold and frozen items from spoiling in shopping carts while customers roam around the store, ultimately deciding not to buy them and forcing stores to trash the items, Mark Ma designed the MeCool bag to keep food cold in shopping carts.
Suzanne Hickey and Steve Anderson want to expand their upcycling California business that repurposes discarded items into custom furniture. With a larger vehicle and storage space, the duo could double the amount of perfectly good items them keep out of landfills each year.
Composting Toilets For Refugees
A U.K. native is raising funds to bring compostable toilets to refugee camps in Europe, educating people about sustainable sanitation, keeping waste from being dumped into waterways, and naturally fertilizing the planet.
A team of social entrepreneurs from SustainEarth developed a way to provide affordable, clean cooking gas to rural Indian communities. Billions of people throughout India — and other parts of the world — cook over an open flame or on a crude stove, which releases harmful greenhouse gases their Biogas would help eliminate.
Clean Up North Brooklyn
The Clean Up North Brooklyn campaign aims to reduce traffic in the highly polluted New York City borough, relocate a trash transfer facility, and clean up the neighborhood overall for residents' and the environment's health. Donations will go toward producing a documentary on the issue and monitoring air and noise quality in the area.
Natural Mosquito Control
A New Orleans-based project found a way to eliminate mosquitoes threatening to bring the Zika virus to the United States without using dangerous chemicals. A trap attracts the bugs to lay their eggs inside, which can then be disposed of, helping stop the influx of mosquitoes and the spread of Zika.
Remooable Fuel wants to convert and clean hazardous methane produced from cows on industrial farms into sustainable Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) for vehicles, solving two problems at once.
Silver Bullet Tiny House Tour
Vera Struck is fundraising to take her tiny house on the road with the hope of teaching others how to live sustainably by building their own zero-waste tiny homes.
Working to bring a completely organic, sustainable supermarket owned by its employees to Denmark, Leaf hopes to expand outside of the country once it's established. The company is crowdsourcing so it can work for the community, not wealthy investors, and can be as environmentally friendly as possible.
Replacing one-use plastic bags that end up in landfills, reusable Bbagz are a more sustainable way to store food and are even safe to put in the freezer, microwave, and oven.
Sustainability comes in all shapes and sizes, as exemplified by these inventive projects.