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This Earth Day, we can’t afford to be complacent or make excuses.
The COVID-19 pandemic will make it harder for many of us to volunteer on or around April 22 as we have done in years past. But it’s more important than ever for us all to do what we can to protect our planet’s air, land, water, wildlife, and biodiversity.
Worsening environmental conditions, including the unchecked carbon emissions that create climate change, make it more likely that zoonotic diseases will jump species and cause future pandemics.
And pandemics are not all we need to be concerned about and work to prevent.
From protecting our oceans and generally re-wilding key parts of our planet, to promoting sustainable farming and cleaning parks and open space, here are just a few ways you can get involved and help restore our planet, even in this moment of closures and social distancing.
As a global society, we generate two billion tons of waste each year, about a third of which ends up in landfills. At least eight million tons of unrecycled plastics end up in the ocean. The environmental cost of this is staggering—driving up carbon emissions, exacerbating the global plastic trash crisis, and negatively impacting marine life and human health.
To address this, Oracle teams up with the Ocean Conservancy, California Coastal Commission, Heal the Bay, Keep Collier Beautiful, Pacific Beach Coalition, Going to School, and the SEGO Initiative. It’s easy to reach out to organizations like these and commit to cleaning up beaches, coastlines and riverbanks on your own time, while practicing social distancing and following local ordinances.
Oracle also has long supported The Marine Mammal Center, which helps students learn about ocean health through hands-on activities. We fund the Center’s Global Response Initiative, which rescues entangled whales, seals, and sea lions along the California coast, and trains professionals around the world to do the same. Oracle is also proud to support National Geographic Society's Pristine Seas, which has been phenomenally effective, protecting more than 6 million square kilometers of ocean in 23 marine reserves since 2008, and going strong.
Oracle Volunteers cleanup waterways, plant trees, and care for critical habitats around the world—everywhere from the shores of Agara Lake in Bengaluru, India to Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas, USA—in collaboration with various environmental organizations.
Keep Austin Beautiful, California State Parks Foundation, Keep Durham Beautiful, SayTrees, and The Trail Foundation are just a few of the organizations we work with. Each offers various ways you can help keep your community green and clean, whether by adopting a lake, planting trees, cleaning up an area, or donating funds to support these organizations. There are a myriad of ways to help restore our planet.
Sustainable farming is key to mitigating the environmental damage caused by agriculture. Sustainable farms encourage biodiversity, conserve scarce water resources, and build healthy soil through techniques such as composting and planting cover crops.
Oracle Volunteers around the world are planting and tending crops with these methods—and preparing fresh meals with the produce. HandsOn Broward, Organization Earth, Urban Roots, and many others have opportunities for families and individuals to get involved, even under pandemic conditions.
By recycling your computers, mobile phones, and other electronics, you're helping to ensure that hazardous contaminants are kept out of landfills where they can leach toxins and harm the environment. In most cases, parts from your old electronics can be reused to make new ones, so long as you get them to a recycler. Organizations like Eco-Cycle, ECOTIC in Romania and the WEEE Centre in Kenya are just a few of those we support.
In the Northern Hemisphere, it’s springtime, which is a great time to clean out your closets and get rid of clothes you no longer wear, but that still have plenty of life left in them. Rather than throwing it away, donate it to a nonprofit that gives to those in need and/or resells clothes to fund charitable programs like Dress for Success, Japan Refashion Association, Instituto PROA, and Gerando Falcões. You can also upcycle old t-shirts, cotton dresses, jersey lounge pants, etc. and make amazing cleaning cloths. There are also rewarding ways to recycle; bring back your unwanted Patagonia clothing and accessories to any Patagonia store and they’ll recycle it and give you store credit!
Even if you cannot safely get out in the world to volunteer right now, you can still make a big difference from home by recycling and upcycling, nixing single-use plastics, using less water, doing some laundry on the cold cycle, becoming more energy efficient, and walking or riding a bike instead of driving. Of course, within our means, we can also open our wallets to donate, and vote with our wallets to support the production of sustainable organic food as well as high quality gear that we'll love and use for many years.
Together, we can make every day Earth Day.