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An Earth Day graphic of people holding the planet, recycling, planting a tree and moving a solar panel.
News Update

5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

April 18, 2024
  • Climate change
  • Ocean trash

Every person plays a vital role in our global ecosystem, and there are many ways to make a meaningful difference while you celebrate Earth Day. Right now, you have a powerful opportunity to raise awareness and take action for marine mammals and our shared planet.

The first Earth Day began as a grassroots initiative more than 50 years ago. One by one, millions of people ultimately showed up for the planet on this important day, and the modern environmental movement was born. Earth Day inspired individual and collective action, as well as the passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act that still play critical roles in protecting wildlife today.

The truth is that your actions can have a ripple effect and be a strong force for change. From responsibly observing animals at the beach to speaking up about climate change, even simple actions today can help nature thrive. So dive into these five Earth Day activities, and keep the celebration going by making earth-friendly choices all year long.

View Animals in the Wild

Observing wildlife is among the best ways to celebrate Earth Day and feel a renewed sense of reverence for the natural world. And along the California coast during springtime, you have a good chance of seeing migrating gray whales. You can help protect these gentle giants by participating in community science and reporting your sightings.

Newborn harbor seal pups can also be observed on California beaches around this time. These pups are often seen resting on their own while their mother hunts for food. You can help protect them by keeping your distance so the mother feels safe returning. When you keep wildlife wild, you’ll also be able to see incredible natural behaviors.

In Hawai‘i, Hawaiian monk seals come to shore mainly to birth and rest, and you may get the opportunity to catch a glimpse of mothers and pups during their peak pupping season. These seals are endangered, so every reported sighting provides valuable information to our researchers. By following these simple viewing guidelines, you will help conservation efforts to save this species.

Are you celebrating Earth Day at home? View wildlife in real-time by tuning in to our live webcam at Point Reyes National Seashore, a popular elephant seal rookery. When you text RELEASE to 65179 you’ll get a notification when a patient release that’s visible from our webcam is about to start as well as other messages with marine mammal stories, news and more. (Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to stop. Terms & Conditions.)

A gray whale rises vertically out of the ocean as it starts to breach.

Join a Local Cleanup

A seal on the beach holds a crumpled piece of plastic in its mouth.

Ocean trash, such as plastics and fishing gear, can be swallowed by wildlife or trap them in a life-threatening entanglement. Cleaning up trash is an easy way to actively reduce these risks and protect marine mammals from harm. In honor of Earth Day, join a cleanup near you or organize your own to immediately start making an impact.

Participating in a cleanup is an eye-opening experience to see firsthand the types of human-created debris found at beaches and waterways. Be sure to download the Clean Swell app to record your cleanup data and support ocean trash research.

Make Healthy Food Choices

The modern human diet has changed the planet. From the energy it takes to produce the food to how it gets to our plates, food choices are a big driver of climate disruption.

Did you know replacing one meat dish a week with a plant-based meal is the equivalent of driving 1,100 fewer miles each year? By making small but healthy meal changes, you can start a determined effort to reduce your carbon footprint and help safeguard future generations. For Earth Day activities that are good for you and the planet, try a new plant-based recipe or join community solutions to improve food systems and fight climate change.

Your voice and purchasing decisions can help shift the market and demand toward sustainable options too. By supporting sustainable fisheries, you can help ensure there are plenty of fish for marine mammals and people for generations to come. Explore this activity to see how you can care for the ocean by making sustainable choices when you buy seafood.

A graphic of farmers tending to plants and agriculture on the earth.

Talk About Climate Change

A hand holds a megaphone with the words “climate change.”

Most people aren’t talking about climate change. And the less often we hear about this human-caused threat, the less urgency there is to take action at the community and policy levels. Conservation is about people, so how can you make your voice heard and be a motivator for collective action?

One of the most impactful things you can do for future generations, wildlife and nature this Earth Day is to discuss climate change. Learn communication strategies to help people understand solutions and shift the story from one of doom to hope. Then strike up conversations with family and friends, do a climate action activity with the kids in your life, or contact local and state leaders—our shared earth is too important to say nothing.

Visit The Marine Mammal Center

Are you in the San Francisco Bay Area or making a trip soon? Celebrate Earth Day by visiting the world’s largest marine mammal hospital!

You’ll be able to see animal care experts providing life-saving care to seal and sea lion patients so they can be released back to the wild. Watch as our volunteers prepare meals in the Fish Kitchen, peek into our laboratory to learn more about our scientific research, and explore interactive exhibits that give you a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to rescue hundreds of marine mammals every year.

Tickets are free but must be reserved online in advance, and you can join a Guided Tour for the ultimate experience.

Find more opportunities to get involved by exploring our virtual and in-person events.

An educator shows a guest an interactive map of a marine mammal hospital.

Yes, I want to save a life!

Yes, I want to save a life!

You’ll be giving sick and injured animals the best possible care at the Center’s state-of-the-art hospital. With your gift today, you are giving a patient a second chance at life in the wild.

  • $35 You'll buy food for a hungry animal
  • $45 You'll provide life-saving medical care
  • $65 You'll make second chances possible

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climate change
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