Mars Is Overrated: This Earth Day, Bet on Your Home Planet

Jed Oelbaum

It’s almost April 22 again, which means it will soon be Earth Day, a worldwide celebration of my number one planet.

Earth Day is great, because it’s the only day you can be totally chauvinistic about being an Earthling. Other planets may be bigger, or have more moons, but this is the time to stop, look around, and really take in the little things that make this planet great. Like, we have squids with three hearts. The other planets don’t even have squids with one heart. I don’t celebrate “Neptune Day,” you know why? Neptune sucks. Try living on Neptune.

Earth—it’s a pretty sweet place. Though we are dealing with some long-term planetary hygiene issues. Sadly, some of the very same companies we trusted to feed us nourishing cheeseburgers, mine our precious fossil fuels, and sew our cooling culottes continue to act unaccountably, disregarding human and planetary health, and willingly contributing to dire, climate-related peril. And while we all love our crimson, smog-infused sunsets and individually packaged prunes, the way we consume—or don’t consume—isn’t exactly helping the situation, either.

You may have noticed people talking about living on Mars these days. “Mars has water,” they might say. But you know what planet also has water, in your choice of matter states, and definitely provides the conditions necessary to support human life? Earth. So you have a decision to make this Earth Day: Do you want to live on Mars, drinking recycled urine and growing potatoes? Or do you want to find more sustainable ways to live, consume, and produce, to keep this planet’s glory days going strong?

Celebrating Earth Day, Make Change shares our favorite recent articles highlighting individuals, businesses, and technologies with something to say about our shared environmental future. From food to fuel to fashion, there’s still a world of reasons to bet on good old planet Earth.

5 Big Climate Change Problems and the Millennials Working to Fix Them

While  many of us make personal changes—like swapping petroleum-based plastics for reusable bags and bottles—others are making a bigger investment in saving the planet, starting businesses to address some of climate change’s biggest culprits and removing hurdles to a greener tomorrow.

The Solar-Powered Village That Could Change Egypt’s Mind About Sustainable Building

At first glance, Egypt’s first solar-powered village doesn’t seem so different from the ancient buildings that inspired it. Its architect schools us on designing a sustainable desert oasis.

The Tricky Business of Recycling Your Old Clothes

NYC textile recycler Wearable Collections wants you to know the environmental truth about the fashion and apparel industry.

Meet California’s Most Underappreciated Eco-Warriors: Can Collectors

A small army of overlooked environmental foot soldiers helps reduce the golden state’s waste, but how will they afford to survive with the plummeting price of recyclables?

This Startup Is Bringing Solar Power to Low Income Communities

For the affluent family, solar panels are becoming an obvious choice, but for the 40 million Americans living below the poverty line, despite the long-term financial benefits, solar panels are a luxury they can’t afford. Enter Resonant Energy.

The Must-Have Condiments Made of Ingredients Destined for the Dump

Britain’s Rubies in the Rubble turns ugly fruits and vegetables into beautiful preserves sold in London’s high-end markets.

America’s Next Farm-to-Table Sustainable Delicacy: Snails

Aside from being sustainable, snails have about as much protein per pound as fish, and high levels of essential minerals like iron and magnesium.

Even on a Frozen Rooftop, This Brooklyn Farm Is Growing

Brooklyn Grange, one of the largest rooftop farms in the world, grows thousands of pounds of produce, educates kids, and tries, in their humble way, to develop solutions for a food insecure future.