They say every day is Earth Day, but there's definitely an uptick in environmental interest each April. Who wouldn't panic a little when they're reminded that the ice caps are melting, oceans are acidifying, and polar bears are looking pitiful all over the planet? The challenge comes in staying environmentally conscious throughout the year — figuring out little ways to fight for the environment that you'll actually do, rather than the stuff you always say you'll get around to doing one day.
Although the world has gone through changes in climate before, researchers warn the planet is currently warming at an unprecedented pace, and the most likely culprit is human activity. The good news is that many countries are working to save the planet; as of March, 133 countries have joined the Paris Agreement requiring them to take action against climate change. If all goes as planned, the accord should limit global temperature rise to less than two degrees Celsius — hopefully even 1.5 degrees.
On an individual level, you might feel like climate change is best left up to heads of state to figure out. However, there are plenty of ways you can (and should) do your part to protect the Earth on your own. Here are 27 so easy you'll wonder why you weren't doing them before.
1. Tweet your support for the Paris Agreement. World leaders will feel the pressure to join or remain in the accord.
2. Start an herb garden, instead of buying from stores that have spices shipped from around the world.
4. Go to the People's Climate March on April 29.
5. Don't forget your clever sign.
6. Research the environmental impact and practices of companies you regularly buy from. If you disagree with their practices, don't buy from them.
7. Stay informed on the latest research on climate change.
8. Find out what your local representatives' environmental policies are, and contact them in support or opposition.
9. Use your vote wisely.
10. Round up your friends to watch a nature-focused documentary.
11. Calculate your carbon footprint, and do what you can to reduce it.
12. Contribute to offsetting projects in developing countries.
13. If you can afford it, shop at locally-sourced groceries and restaurants.
14. Buy products that aren't tested on animals.
15. Buy used clothing instead of new.
17. If you don't already recycle, now is the time to start. If your area doesn't offer recycling, contact officials and ask them to start.
18. Unplug your devices. Better yet, connect them to a power strip and turn this off when you're not home.
19. Organize a farmer's market to support local food sources.
20. Start composting.
21. Plan your groceries ahead of time to reduce the amount of food wasted.
22. Donate or recycle electronics, and encourage others to do the same.
23. Support national and state parks. (At the very least, pay for your parking.)
24. Cut down on the amount of meat in your diet; the industry has a surprisingly deep impact on the environment.
25. Ask to work from home if possible to save on emissions from your commute.
26. Sign up for an environmental newsletter, like this one from the EPA.
27. Volunteer at a local clean-up event. It doesn't get more environmentally-friendly than picking up after your fellow humans.