Four Earth Protectors On What You Can Do Now To Support The Planet
Simple ways to show the planet some love this Earth Day.
Saving the planet is a tall order, and figuring out how our own actions can have a larger impact can be intimidating. For most, social media is the first stop in making change, with organizations and creators across platforms sharing tips, deep dives, and links to take activism from URL to IRL. This Earth Day, Meta has partnered with creators and activists from around the globe to raise awareness about the realities of climate change and to share their tips for impactful actions that you can engage in right from your living room that will truly make a difference.
Share Your Cause
“Climate change and striving to be eco-friendly are two causes that are on the forefront of my social media presence along with the other forms of activism I strive to spread,” explained creator and actress Mona Swain. She went on to recommend The Ocean Clean Up, billed as the first scalable solution to intercept plastic in rivers before it reaches the ocean. “By sharing how important it is to do your part in keeping our planet healthy and clean, you are also inherently doing your part.”
“Social media is a powerful tool for driving both awareness and action,” said Nate Evans, whose page Beautiful Destinations boasts nearly 25 million followers. “ We've used tech tools and social media to help educate people about the importance of our natural world and motivating them towards positive action.” Campaigns like their Beach Clean Up campaign garner thousands of participants from all over the world. “With the advancements in technology and social media, just one person can influence many, who in turn can do the same."
Reality television personality Caelynn Miller-Keyes, said her own experience with beach cleanups was a simple way to get involved. “I always try to learn more about what they’re doing as well and take those ideas home with me,” she said.”I learned a lot of people don’t know how to properly recycle, there are certain things you may think are recyclable that are not. So education is another great tool to use while on this journey.” Since cutting meat from her diet after understanding its environmental impact, Miller-Keyes searched for new ways to make an impact. “I started to do more and more research on other ways I could be more proactive,” she explained. “Once I started traveling to different national parks, rock climbing, and hiking, I became even more passionate about preserving the earth.”
Start A Fundraiser On Instagram Reels
Once you’ve identified a cause you want to get behind, it’s never been easier to help them fundraise than with Instagram Reels’ new feature. Users will be able to add a fundraiser directly into the Instagram Reels, linking to your nonprofit of choice. Choose from over 1.5 million charities that span the gamut of climate and justice-based initiatives and direct your followers to learn about and donate to their cause in real time. With Meta covering the processing costs for nonprofits, there’s no donation too small to make a real impact in the blink of an eye (or the click of a button.)
Educate Your Feed
For Zyahna Bryant, an activist who often discusses how environmental issues have particular impact on racialized communities, partnering with sustainable brands can help raise awareness about not only their products and company values, but their larger goals and the causes they support. “I have worked to be intentional in reminding my followers that environmental justice is a social and racial justice issue and that it is important that we shed light on the topic,” she explained, pointing to Instagram features like Reels and carousels as ideal ways to share more information. “Utilizing in-app fundraising tools on posts on platforms like Instagram is a great way to bridge convenience with a great cause. What I have found is that people typically like to engage with and support good causes, and with the opportunity to raise awareness and offer steps for donations and other direct actions in a feed is a great way to get people involved.”
For Evans, who is part of a collective that runs Beautiful Destinations as a “climate-positive company that advocates sustainable tourism,” having a hand in preserving the beauty he’s found around the world is a driving force in his activism. “Through our work, we've had the privilege of traveling to many exceptional places,” he said. “These experiences have given us a sense of responsibility for ensuring that future generations can experience these wonders.”
With the UN reporting last year that some devastating impacts of climate change are now officially unavoidable, it can seem grim and yet there are still ways to prevent the devastation from getting even worse, especially for vulnerable communities. “I am passionate about Earth Day because I understand that the climate crisis is an urgent matter, and we have seen historically how our lack of care for the environment results in very real consequences for marginalized communities along lines of race and class,” Bryant said. “That said, climate justice is a racial justice issue and it must be understood as such.”
Make Small Daily Changes
Alongside digital activism, daily habits can have a big impact. While some changes are more accessible than others, they add up when used in tandem. “Even though I’m just one person, anywhere I can give a little to substitute something I use on a day-to-day basis with something that’s a lot more eco friendly, I do,” Swain explained about her own routine. “I use bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic ones, biodegradable toilet paper, sanitary products, paper towels, and even garbage bags.”
For Evans, staying conscious while traveling helps him understand the global impact of these changes. “We try to stay at locally-owned hotels, eat at locally-owned restaurants, and shop at locally-owned stores,” he explains. “By choosing local, you can economically support the destination you’re in and reduce your part in any transportation emissions that come from importing goods.” With transportation being one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gasses, booking direct flights with energy efficient aircrafts, taking ground transportation where possible, and traveling to destinations during their off-season can help to offset your carbon footprint. “Respect the environment. It’s one of the most beautiful and fragile things we have.”
Bryant added that small, intentional actions can lead to larger impact, including things like buying energy saver products or supporting clean brands that use recycled materials. “Many of us learned about reducing, reusing, and recycling at a young age, and I still rely on those lessons to serve as a guide to how I incorporate sustainable practices into my routine,” she explained.
Despite leading individual lives, the planet is a communal space. In the same way you might take collective care of a shared office kitchen or lounge, Swain says taking care of earth should be everyone’s priority. “There are 7.1 billion people in the world and we are all vastly different, however we all share a home here on planet earth,” she added. “When you share a home with someone, I strive and we should all strive to be a good roommate.”