There's reason to have hope. The theme behind this year's #WorldEnvironmentDay is three simple words that give us all the power to make all the difference: Consume with care.
By 2050, the planet will need to support more than 9 billion people, according to the U.N., which will mean we all have to get smarter and use Earth's natural resources more wisely.
So what can you do to celebrate #WorldEnvironmentDay 2015? Here are a few simple suggestions to put you in the mood to honor Mother Nature and remember to handle our planet with care.
Formidable Vegetable Sound System is a band at the edge of a new music scene aimed at encouraging cultural change. Their quirky combo of ukulele and dance music's mission, according to the group, is to "pound simple, sustainable solutions deep into our consciousness in the funkiest way possible." They've released a new song and music video in honor of #WorldEnvironmentDay called "Limits."
Sounds way more productive than other lyrics we have burned into our collective consciousness. I'm looking at you, Kiss — "I wanna rock 'n' roll all night and party every day."
For #WorldEnvironmentDay, the U.N. asks that you share your dream for the planet and pledge your support to make those dreams come true. There are 7 billion of us on Earth, and we all have our own dreams but just one planet to share.
U.N. research explains that the big gains in sustainability will be led by the world's most powerful companies that use natural resources on a huge scale. When you can, support companies like U.S. IT company Adobe Systems or satellite cable provider DIRECTV, which are ranked among the most green companies in the world today. Here's a list from Newsweek of the greenest companies in the U.S. and around the world. The Environmental Protection Agency also provides a tool to help you verify green marketing claims on the products you buy.
And when companies aren't making sustainable business a priority, it's consumers who can hold them accountable, like when Starbucks was bottling its own water in drought-plagued California.
It's sickening to think that 30 percent of our food in the U.S. is wasted — along with the water, labor and other resources invested to produce the food. All told, food waste costs the U.S. economy alone nearly $50 billion annually. Making matters worse, according to the U.N., our landfills are full of organic waste, which is the single largest source of polluting methane emissions. Food manufacturers and restaurants are on the front lines of mitigating food waste. In France, the government has passed new laws banning food waste and demanding restaurants to find ways to donate unconsumed food to those who need it.
Eat the leftovers, and save the planet.
"Today, our ocean is overfished, polluted, and acidifying by the day," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wrote in his statement about World Environment Day. "And the science is clear: we must take action on climate change, which poses a threat to the entire planet."
Whether you live in a desert, forest or near the beach, every one of us is connected to the ocean. Support organizations like the Ocean Conservation Society, which lets you adopt (symbolically, of course) your own wild bottlenose dolphin.
It's also important to make everyday decisions to buy sustainable seafood that is farmed in a way that won't continue to deplete the ocean's wildlife.
The U.N. celebrates World Ocean Day on June 8 this year.
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