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Five Ways You Can Really Help the Planet

Posted by \\\ \\\ Category: Bright Ideas\\\ sustainability tips

Earth Day's just around the corner, but we think every day should be Earth Day! Rather than let climate change, natural habitat loss, and other environmental issues get us down, we're getting busy instead. Here are several ways you can effect real change for all sorts of creatures and the whole planet, too.

1. Help Pass Climate Change Legislation

You don't have to go deep into the recent United Nations climate report to realize we're already seeing more extreme weather events and temperature fluctuations than we used to. One U.S.-focused initiative we really like is the Citizens Climate Lobby. The nonpartisan group helps regular people around the country to focus their energy on just one goal: passing “Carbon Fee and Dividend Policy” legislation in Congress.

2. Monitor Amphibian Health

Cute Frog

Frogs and toads are super-sensitive to pollutants both in water and on land. This makes them extra valuable as indicators of environmental health. If you have a pond or stream nearby, you might consider becoming an official FrogWatcher. FrogWatch USA is a U.S.-based program which enlists everyday people to help monitor frogs and toads during their breeding periods (between early February and the end of August.) After recording time, temperature, wind conditions, and types and intensities of calls heard during a three-minute period, participants enter their data into a national system that researchers use to study the effects of climate change, invasive species, habitat loss, and more.

3. Help Out Some Toads

Toad in a Toad House

And, if you or someone you know has a little land to play with, you can give area toads a leg up by providing them with habitat—and protection from predators. Here are instructions for making a couple of different toad houses and a toad hole.

Side Benefit: Many varieties of toads eat pests such as slugs, Japanese beetles, and mosquitoes!

4. Befriend The Bees

Pollinating Bee

Established in 2008, the Great Sunflower Project has become “the largest single body of information about bee pollinator service in North America.” To get involved, you need only grow one lemon queen sunflower, observe its blooms for five minutes or more, and report the number of visits from various pollinators during the observation period. By mapping the data collected, the researchers behind the project are getting a better understanding about the effects fragmented landscapes have had on urban, suburban, and rural bee populations.

(Need some lemon queen sunflower seeds? Try Renee's Garden. Bonus: When you use the code FR225A at checkout, Renee's will donate 25 percent of the proceeds to the Great Sunflower Project.)

5. Start a Garden

If gardening's really your thing, why not put in a honey bee garden? Featuring native plants and a few extra tips, here's a free, downloadable honey bee garden plan you can plant in order to provide local honey bees and other insect pollinators with rich sources of nectar and pollen.

One More Thing. . .

Pssst! There are hundreds of citizen science projects currently looking for volunteers. Check out CitizenScience.gov for even more opportunities to make a difference.