Spring is in the air, and on April 22, countries around the world will be celebrating Earth Day. This is a day to reflect upon the importance of preserving the only planet we call home – and to take action to save it. But in our hectic, workday lives, we often can’t find time to take a breather, much less think about protecting the environment. So, for those of us who are chained to our computer – or our phones – here are five ways to help save the earth without getting unplugged.
Suggest an office telework day
Working from home is not only a great quality of life choice – who doesn’t like to work in pajamas? – but it’s also great for the environment. Cutting down on traffic reduces air pollution from exhaust gases and dust, water pollution from chemicals spilled into our waterways, and our reliance on climate change-producing fossil fuels. You can magnify this effect by proposing an office work-from-home Earth Day. After all, if everyone whose job could be done at home chose to telework for just one day a week, the energy savings would be the equivalent of taking more than 27 million vehicles off the road.
Commit to going totally paperless
With online bill-pay, subscriptions, and cloud storage, going paperless has never been easier. Shifting to digital saves trees by reducing paper use and also reduces fuel consumption by all the planes, trains, and automobiles required to deliver all those little pieces of paper. In fact, if every American home paid its bills online, it would cut solid waste by some 1.6 billion tons a year and greenhouse-gas emissions by 2.1 million tons.
Contribute to Environmental Research
But don’t I have to be an expert to do that, you may ask? Not anymore! With Zooniverse, you can assist professional researchers right from your computer, enabling research that wouldn’t be possible or practical otherwise. Identify wildlife to create thriving forests, search drone images for orangutan nests, help identify predators of endangered species – or start a project of your own! Leveraging the power of the web for social good is what the internet is supposed to be about.
Travel – online
Tourism may broaden our horizons, but, in excess, it can also be very harmful for ecosystems that can’t handle the accompanying resource strain and pollution. But with recent advances in virtual-reality technology, you can have a virtual experience right from your own computer, just by putting on a headset. And virtual reality can also be used to raise environmental awareness on everything from ocean acidification to deforestation to the consequences of taking over-long showers. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a virtual reality experience may be worth a million!
Donate to an Environmental Organization
In this age of cutbacks, environmental and conservation orgs are more dependent than ever on donator support, and with just a few clicks of your mouse, you can set up a one-off or – even better – small recurring donation to the cause of your choice. There is a dizzying array of nonprofits to choose from, so make sure you do some quick research to determine that your org of choice is truly doing good, rather than just sounding good. And (shameless plug alert!) one of those worthy organizations just happens to be the Student Conservation Association. Click here to make a donation that matters – and feel good about doing good.
With these handy tips, you can harness the power of technology to make Earth Day more than just a name on a calendar. Want to get even more involved? Next week, we’ll be back with ways to take a hands-on role in saving the planet, right in your local community. In the meantime, to keep up to date on all the latest developments in the SCA, you can sign up for our newsletter here – digital, of course!