Image by Markus Spiske

Invest in Our Planet Now 

by Natalie Bencivenga


April 1, 2021

The time is now for our communities to come together to act on climate change. We cannot afford to keep our heads in the sand and we must put pressure on our government, world leaders and multinational corporations to make actual changes both in policy and in practice. We have only one Mother Earth and we must recognize that this home is dying. Without our help, extreme weather patterns will continue, displacing both humans and other living creatures. The planet’s biodiversity — which sustains our food and clean water sources — continues to disappear at an alarming rate. 

There is no debate left on this. The vast majority of scientists, ecologists and researchers agree — the climate crisis is here and now we must learn to live with it and manage it so that the generations coming up have a healthy and safe home to inhabit. Read on for things that you can do on an individual level — but also on a collective level — to inspire change that can bring us all a healthy and prosperous place to live.

Shifting to policies that support sustainable, green energy: Did you know that clean energy remains the biggest job creator across America’s energy sector, employing nearly three times as many workers as work in fossil fuel extraction and generation? Median hourly wages for clean energy jobs also are about 25 percent higher than the national median wage — and also pay better than most fossil fuel extraction jobs. As we continue to move away from our reliance on fossil fuels, we must support politicians and policies that back job creation in this sector. Governments hold the power to build an ethical and lucrative green economy through private/public partnerships, incentives and regulations. Connect with your local representatives and tell them that the time is NOW for clean energy. 


Put your money where your earth is: Generations Gen Z and Millennials recognize the power in their purchasing, loudly boycotting certain brands on social media, causing entire sectors — like the fast fashion industry — to rethink its purpose as it looks at its bottom line. Don’t forget, we have an incredible amount of power as a consumer nation. By deciding what and when we buy particular products, we can force the hand of large, multinational corporations to take a stand, clean up their practices and even phase out single-use plastics. 

Eat more plants: One of the easiest ways to become more sustainable in your everyday life is to reduce your consumption of animal products. While 70 percent of the world is covered in water, only 2.5 percent of that water is fresh, drinkable water. Many people around the globe — 2.1 billion — lack access to safe drinking water. As the climate crisis continues, this alarming number will continue to increase. Did you know that one-third of the water we use is for raising animals for food? One hamburger requires 663 gallons of water to produce while a single egg takes 53 gallons of water, according to the Pacific Institute and National Geographic. Animal agriculture makes up 20 to 33 percent of all freshwater usage in the world. Companies like Tyson, America’s largest meat producer, pour more toxic waste into our water supply than ExxonMobil and Down Chemicals! Not sure how to get started? Check out Pittsburgh Earth Day’s Pinterest page or my webshow, Heating Up, for lots of delicious plant-based options. 

Want more ideas? Check out Earth Day Tips HERE and let’s get activated!


Natalie Bencivenga is a regular columnist with The Green Voice Weekly Newsletter and hosts Pittsburgh Earth Day's VEGED; Earth Inspired Eats