Today is the 53rd annual Earth Day, a day when more than a billion people come together to celebrate the earth, It is easy to get overwhelmed and pessimistic about the current state of climate change and the world. The Willow Project is being backed by the Biden Administration and pushed through, despite wide opposition; the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is so large and deep that it would take 67 ships working for an entire year to clean up less than 1% of what’s currently in the North Pacific; the world’s glaciers are melting at alarming rates. With this year’s Earth Day, it’s important to understand some of how we got here and the ways we can fight for the earth every single day.


Large businesses, corporations, and entire industries play a huge role in both climate change and the messaging around it. Reports from the past few years have also found that just 100 companies are responsible for a majority of global emissions and top companies are exaggerating their climate change progress. And some companies have known for decades of their role in climate change but have actively fought against action to protect their bottom line. For example, reports from the last few years have found that the oil giant Exxon “‘predicted global warming correctly and skilfully’ only to then spend decades publicly rubbishing such science in order to protect its core business”

The 1971 “The Crying Indian”  litter advert from Keep America Beautiful is one of the more infamous and explicit examples of companies passing along the responsibility to individuals; it also doesn’t help that the racism in that ad certainly hasn’t aged well. This ad, which features an Italian American actor in red face, helped shape the American public’s relationship with waste but leaves out the fact that Keep America Beautiful was founded by large companies like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola and is the definition of greenwashing.

Individual Action

While corporations and large industries are by far contributing the most to climate change while actively working to keep the status quo, there is still hope and ways for individuals to care for the earth and fight climate change.

Shop local and build community with your neighbors and others around you. Buying local is a great way to get to know and support small businesses in your area while also decreasing your carbon footprint. And by developing relationships with those in our neighborhoods and cities, we can help each other and share resources. Your neighbor, for example, could be an excellent baker and might be willing to trade baked goods for the chance to borrow your lawn mower. Or while you’re already running errands, you could pick up groceries for a friend who doesn’t drive. Items that you might have tossed could also find a new life with someone else! Which leads to the next tip…

Reduce, reuse, and upcycle. Thrift and consignment stores are great places to check for items like home goods, decorations, and more. There are also stores like Ragfinery and The RE Store in Bellingham, WA that are dedicated to diverting textiles and construction supplies respectively away from landfills.

Get involved with work parties or become a citizen scientist. This work could include clearing invasive plant species out of a park, cleaning up a beach, participating in the annual Audubon’s Great Backyard Bird Count, or observing plant life cycles with Project BudBurst.

Support environmental organizations through volunteer work, financial support, following on social media, or attending events. Some great organizations include:

Learn more about current issues. No one person can know or keep up with everything but being educated about issues is vital. This can be done so many different ways, from watching documentaries like The Lost Salmon, listening to podcasts like Overhead at National Geographic, or reading books like To Be A Water Protector: The Rise of the Wiindigoo Slayers by Winona LaDuke.

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