Earth Day: 5 ways to help save the planet from home

Earth Day is going to be a little different this year, but it’s still very much on.

Even as the world deals with the coronavirus pandemic, there are several concrete things that you can do, from your home, to help the planet on the 50th anniversary of the occasion. None of them require much time or money, but doing them is a way to take action on what can feel like an overwhelming problem.

Here are a few ideas:

5 minutes or less: Sign Leonardo DiCaprio’s petition

The noted environmental activist is asking people to help put a stop to the market sales of wild animals for consumption. Several wildlife conservation organizations are in favor of this move, because it protects both animals and people. “The commercial trade of wild terrestrial animals gives pathogens that have evolved with animals the perfect opportunity to jump to new hosts — humans — and spread through a globalized population,” the petition website reads. Sponsors also say that ending this practice is critical to preventing future pandemics like that of COVID-19.

$10: Donate to the organization behind Earth Day

The organization Earth Day Network, which proudly declares it grew out of the first Earth Day event in 1970, is accepting donations of as little as $10 to support its mission of organizing tens of thousands of groups into one voice protecting the environment. While you’re at the website, you can learn about the history of the special day, download a photo to use on social media (like the one below) and tune into Earth Day Live, featuring Zac Efron and Van Jones, musical performances and specific calls to action every hour on April 22.

20 minutes: Listen to Jameela Jamil tell the story of Greta Thunberg

Learn about environmental activist Greta Thunberg on Earth Day. (Photo: JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images)
Learn about environmental activist Greta Thunberg on Earth Day. (Photo: JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images)

Get inspired by 17-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg in an entertaining episode of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: The Podcast. Based on the New York Times best-selling children’s book series, Thunberg’s episode recounts why and how the teenager became an impassioned defender of the planet. It began with Thunberg convincing the people she was closest to. “Her most important victory came when, in 2016, she persuaded her mother to stop flying,” Jamil tells listeners. “This was a big deal because Malena’s career depended on traveling widely. Malena’s decision showed that no one person’s goals were more pressing than the planet.” People who are more informed about climate change, including the origins of Thunberg’s devotion to the cause, can make every day more like Earth Day.

$30: Sponsor a hive of honeybees

If you can spare the cost of a few lunches, you can change a family’s life — and help the planet in the process. Nonprofit organization Heifer International, which works to end hunger and poverty around the world, will contribute a hive of honeybees to a struggling family in exchange for your donation. The bees will produce honey, wax and pollen the family can sell, but there’s another reason to contribute. “Honeybees are essential to healthy crops, and their rapid decline threatens global food security,” Heifer says.

An hour or more: Start an online fundraiser

At, co-founded by Matt Damon, organizers will walk you through creating your own fundraiser to help in their mission of providing safe and clean drinking water around the world. The global nonprofit provides inspiration and examples of things others have done, from lemonade stands to yoga classes to movie nights (on your birthday or not). Once you’ve selected an activity, the organization beloved by the likes of Bono, Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake offers things like printable fliers and graphics to share on social media to help you succeed.

See you online.

See in 3D how much plastic is used around the world every hour, day, year and decade.

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