10 Ways to Help the World on Earth Day

Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

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This Earth Day, be part of a movement. On April 22, 2016, more than 1 billion people in 192 countries are expected to join together to protect our common home.  People will clean up their communities, talk to local leaders about their environmental concerns and spend time with their families outdoors.

Farmers in Nicaragua learn techniques to improve soil fertility. Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS
Farmers in Nicaragua learn techniques to improve soil fertility. Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

In a special event, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders to the United Nations to officially sign the Paris Climate Agreement, an international action plan to tackle global warming. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping jointly announced earlier this month they would both sign the agreement on Earth Day, the earliest day possible.

At Catholic Relief Services, every day is Earth Day. CRS works through local partner agencies to implement agricultural and environmental programs for the poorest farm families and rural communities worldwide. CRS’ immediate goal is to improve family well-being through agro-economic development and environmental stewardship. The agency's long-term goal is to strengthen the capacity of local agencies and farm communities to take control of their own development.

This Earth Day, join us as we celebrate our environment and the people who make it a better place. Here are 10 ways you can help.

1.  Learn more about climate change.

In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis reminds us that we have a responsibility to care for the Earth—our common home. CRS is creating a yearlong campaign that includes stories from the field showing how the changing environment is affecting the world’s most vulnerable. Our work spans the globe: from responding to drought in the Dry Corridor of Guatemala, to helping coastal communities deal with rising sea waters in Bangladesh.

2.  Advocate for our Earth and its people.

Ask Congress to protect people most harmed by climate change. You can be an advocate for those who often are not heard, by asking your senators and representative to support funding for poverty-focused international assistance, particularly the Green Climate Fund, and full implementation of the Paris Climate Change Accord.

3.  Plant a tree in your community.

God calls us to be stewards of the Earth. What you do in your community can have a big impact on the world. Trees clean the air and provide oxygen. They help us prevent soil erosion and can conserve energy. They are also beautiful.

4.  Support farmers and their families.

CRS doesn’t just help feed the world during emergencies. Our farming projects help hundreds of thousands of people feed their families, work toward self-sufficiency and steward the Earth’s resources for future generations. By giving a bag of fertilizer, for instance, you are helping farmers nourish soil, reap better harvests and earn more income.

5.  Pray.

Pope Francis advocates greater stewardship of global resources as one way to help our most vulnerable sisters and brothers. Please join us in prayer for those who suffer the most from environmental disasters. This video explains Catholic social teaching on caring for God’s creation.

6.  Attend a farmers’ market.

See the colors of a bountiful harvest at your local farmers’ market. These stands offer locally grown produce that’s nearly as fresh as picking it yourself. By supporting local farmers’ markets, you are also supporting your neighbors. Find a farmers’ market near you.

7.  Support fair trade.

This Earth Day you may want to get some dirt between your fingers and plant. One of CRS Fair Trade’s partners is Serrv, which has a new spring collection of home and garden gifts. When you support fair trade, you are supporting artisans around the world with fair wages and better access to markets. Plus, who can pass up these adorable pond critter planters?

8.    Be the change.

Join CRS University and the I Am Climate Change campaign in making a difference this Earth Day. Sign and share this Change.org campaign. If you are a college student, here are more ways you can bring Earth Day to your campus.  

9.  Fundraise.

You can provide direct assistance by setting up a page to raise money to support our emergency efforts. Your support will ensure that we can provide immediate assistance, including food, water, access to sanitation, legal services and medical care. Set up your own fundraising page.

10.  Connect on social media and share.

Follow and retweet @CatholicRelief and @CRSNews. You can also follow #OurEarthOurFuture for climate change related stories. Share this post using the buttons below.

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