#EarthDay: Invest your time, know-how for a healthy planet and a Climate-Ready Nation

Plus: How NOAA science, service and stewardship are put into action every day

Rainbow over Mauna Loa Observatory on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Rainbow over NOAA's Mauna Loa Observatory on the Big Island of Hawaii. The observatory is a premier atmospheric research facility that has been continuously monitoring and collecting data related to atmospheric change since the 1950s. (Image credit: Brian Vasel/NOAA)

Every Earth Day we pause to appreciate all that our home planet provides humankind. 

Earth Day is also a time to  recognize the serious challenges Earth faces. Last year alone, the nation experienced 20 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters. And global climate change has caused a ripple effect of negative impacts on Earth, its life-sustaining ecosystems and natural resources.

Yet there is hope. Science, innovation and human ingenuity can make Earth resilient to climate-driven changes at home and abroad.

Earthday.org’s theme for Earth Day 2022  is “Invest in our Planet™ offsite link. At NOAA, we understand that investments in science and research can yield great returns for sustaining Earth’s essential natural resources. 

We’re investing in our planet every day. And we’re ramping up our efforts as we move into the future:

As you read this story, NOAA scientists are hard at work monitoring climate-influenced changes to the atmosphere and ocean; ensuring our nation’s fisheries are sustainable; and predicting what this year’s hurricane season could look like. (What's the difference between weather and climate, anyway? Start here.) 

Speaking of climate change, did you catch this recent news? Scientists have found that the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and atmospheric methane surged for the second year in a row.

What does carbon dioxide have to do with a warming planet? We have a video for that:

Climate change is also affecting a number of important species in a big, bad way. Take fish for instance. This video and these Q&As with NOAA climate scientists explain how.

Experts all over the world say it’s not too late to make a difference. And they can use your help. 

Invest your time and talents as a “citizen scientist.” Follow your curiosity and join one of a number of  volunteer projects designed for you to contribute directly to real-life scientific research. 

There’s something for everyone, whether it’s reporting severe weather, measuring Earth’s magnetic field from your smartphone or collecting and recording types of trash that blight our beaches and shorelines. We also have a list of home-based virtual citizen science projects, too.

New for Earth Week 2022! Celebrate everything that nature does for us by taking steps to increase climate resilience in your community. Along the way, you can earn fun badges! Download and print them at home, share them on social media and show them to your family and friends. You just might inspire others to increase climate resilience in their communities.

Citizen science typically involves data collection by members of the public who pass their information along to researchers trying to answer real-world questions. The idea behind citizen science is that anyone, anywhere, can participate in meaningful scientific research.
Citizen science typically involves data collection by members of the public who pass their information along to researchers trying to answer real-world questions. The idea behind citizen science is that anyone, anywhere, can participate in meaningful scientific research. (NOAA National Ocean Service)

Remember: It’s never too soon to engage young scientists in the making. Check out these activities and experiments for kids that will flex their brains while having fun. Our Joint Polar Satellite System videos explain how to make model molecules, create paper out of seeds and build a rain gauge out of household items. 

Safe to say, it pays (and save$!) to think global and act local: Are your plastic take-out containers piling up? Running the dishwasher twice a day? Here are 10 simple choices you can make now.

Here’s where we come in:

From “sea to shining sea,” NOAA and partners are making major strides towards achieving the goals of America the Beautiful, a decade-long national initiative to conserve and restore at least 30% of our lands and waters by 2030. This video will be a bright spot in your day:

Watch this video showing how NOAA is leading efforts to conserve and restore 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.

Our conservation and restoration work is nothing new. In fact, this year NOAA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Marine Mammal Commission are marking the 50th anniversary of landmark environmental legislation through the “50 Years of Ocean and Coastal Conservation” campaign. Follow the hashtag #OceanAndCoasts50 on social media, and download a new commemorative poster each month that celebrates 50 years of NOAA’s national marine sanctuaries.

And since just last Earth Day, NOAA led the designation of two new and exciting marine protected areas you can visit:

Schooner within Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary.
Built in 1843, the schooner "Home" is one of the oldest shipwrecks discovered in Wisconsin. This schooner and others like it can be found within Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary. (Tamara Thomsen, Wisconsin Historical Society)

Can’t make it to a national marine sanctuary? Then dive in from the comfort of your couch: Immerse yourself in these spectacular 360-degree underwater views. You can also explore findings from our newly released SanctSound project. SanctSound’s mission is to assess sounds produced by marine animals, record and share audio of marine noises, study physical processes like wind and waves and detect human activities.

Going fishing this summer? Our national pastime is benefitting from new tech innovations: NOAA Fisheries is developing innovative ropeless fishing gear offsite linkto help prevent marine mammal entanglement off the coast of New England. Watch our video to see these traps in action.

You might be interested to know that just this week, NOAA Fisheries released an online tool to help track the location and movement of fish and other marine life in U.S. waters. It gives us insight into how our climate and oceans are changing, and how these changes are affecting the distribution and abundance of marine species.

If being in the great outdoors among marine life is your passion, we have tools for you: Do you know the correct way to safely view marine mammals? Check out our guide, “Please no selfies with the seals.  Got a scuba or snorkel trip lined up? Check out our infographic to see how you can protect coral reefs.

Person stepping on corals.
WHAT NOT TO DO: Please don't step or stand on coral reefs; they can easily be damaged or destroyed. Coral reefs worldwide are essential ecosystems to fish and other marine life. (Marine Photobank and Ziggy Livnat, For the Sea Productions)

Whatever you do today, sit back and enjoy this cool Earth Day video featuring incredible footage from our world ocean!


Check back later in the week for more to explore. In the meantime, follow NOAA’s Earth Week coverage using the hashtags #EarthMonthNOAA, #EarthDayNOAA and #EarthDay2022. And stay connected by joining our social media communities.