A lot of people are worried about the environment right now. And President Trump ... well, he's not helping.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

He's called climate change a Chinese hoax, made no secret of his disdain for the Clean Power Plan, and signaled that he plans to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate deal.


But here's the thing: Though the political parties are divided, the American people are largely in agreement — we want to preserve the environment and take proactive steps against climate change. So, with that in mind...

Here are 21 things anyone can do over the next four years to take action for the environment:

1. Donate to organizations dedicated to environmental causes.

You know that old adage about voting with your dollar? Now's the time to put it to use. Check out organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Ocean Conservancy, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, World Wildlife Fund, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Rainforest Trust, or the Conservation Fund.

2. If you can't donate yourself — well, how do you like marathons and bake sales?

If donating money isn't in the cards, you could try signing up for charity drives or races. The World Wildlife Fund's Panda Nation program, for instance, can help you set up fundraisers that combine events like bake sales or marathons with charitable donations.

3. Get your hands dirty by joining a citizen scientist project.

A horseshoe crab. Image via iStock.

Instead of just promoting science and nature conservation, how about getting involved yourself? Scientists need lay people to help collect important data from all around the country. There are a ton of these projects, from tracking horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay to watching urban birds. PBS, National Geographic, and Scientific American have lists of citizen science projects for you to help out in your area.

4. Prefer to keep your hands on the cleaner side? Help with research by playing games online.

No joke. Some of these citizen science projects have migrated to the internet. At Zooniverse, for instance, you can decipher bat calls, spy on colonies of penguins, investigate old whaling ship records, or play Chimp & See.

Other websites will let you use satellite footage to uncover archaeological sites or will fold proteins while you sleep.

5. Organize or participate in park cleanup events.

Image via iStock.

Instead of a hiking trip, why not join a park cleanup? It's a good workout, and at the end you can break out some beers and enjoy the newly clean park yourself.

Check out The Ocean Conservancy and GOOD for guides to getting started.

6. Support good science journalism with real, actual money.

You know what's the antidote to fake news? Real news.

Show your support for legitimate, nuanced science reporting by subscribing or donating to outlets such as National Geographic, Scientific American, and Smithsonian Magazine. While you're at it, support reputable news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, or NPR.

7. And follow them on social media so you can join in the discussion.

In addition to the places mentioned above, check out groups like the National Parks Service; science communicators like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ed Yong; astronomer Phil Plait; and podcasts like "RadioLab." I mean, I could go on naming people all day. Join in to hear what they're saying and add your own voice.

That said, remember that people on social media are still people — keep it civil. It's always good to stay a little suspicious, fact-check, and read articles before you post or retweet them.

8. Or ditch the phone entirely and just go outside!

Image via iStock.

Grab some friends and and organize hikes, boating expeditions, or nature walks. Hit the beach. Check out the tide pools. Get a hunting permit and go hunting, if that's your thing. Get a fishing permit and go fishing. Get an annual pass to the national parks and go enjoy some of the most beautiful landscapes our country has to offer.

Why? Because, well, nature is goddamn beautiful and being outside is good for you. But it'll also remind you of why it's worth protecting.

9. Call your representatives and senators and let them know you care about the environment and they should too.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Making small changes yourself to protect the environment is good, but in order to make a huge difference, we need systemic changes too. It's important to make sure politicians are paying attention. Call them.

Actual phone-to-phone conversations make a difference. Remind them what's important to you. Here are all the phone numbers for the House of Representatives. Here are all the phone numbers for the Senate. You can also sign up for email alerts from various conservation organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund or for apps like Countable that will let you know when important bills are up for a vote.

10. If your representatives don't listen, set up a calendar reminder so you don't forget the midterm elections.

Or, heck, have you considered running for office yourself? If you're not happy with how the government works, why not get involved? Anyone can run for office, so if you've got some good ideas, why not throw your hat in the ring?

11. If you have kids, get involved in their environmental education.

If you have kids, offer to chaperone a school field trip to a museum or park. If their school isn't planning any field trips, help set one up for the class. An AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium is a great place to start. Or maybe your kid would like a birthday party at a natural history museum or a trip to a day camp or summer camp? If you're in the Seattle area, the city has a list of camps.

12. Fill your car's tires. Yeah, I'm serious.

A well-maintained car gets better gas mileage and produces fewer emissions. Just filling low tires can improve your fuel efficiency by up to 3%. You may want to get regular tune-ups and consider going easy on the pedal and brake as well.

Image via iStock.

If you live in a place where bikes and buses are a thing, save the car for long trips and use alternative transportation whenever you can instead.

13. Rethink your grocery list.

We all need food to live, but the way we grow it can be kind of taxing on the planet. Large livestock such as cows and pigs often take a lot of land, feed, fuel, and antibiotics to raise, which can be tough on the environment. Eating smaller, buying local, and eating animals further down the food chain can reduce the impact your grocery list has on the environment.

Consider swapping burgers for barbecue chicken or adding an extra vegetable to your dishes, and whenever possible try to eat things that are grown in the same state you live in.

14. Get rid of all the junk mail and needless paper waste that's been piling up.

Oh good, I qualified for 47 different credit cards today. Image via iStock.

More than 4 million pounds of junk mail is produced each year, and about half of it ends up in the trash. You can help cut down on this waste by talking to your local post office or using services like Catalog Choice, DMAChoice, or  OptOutPrescreen to remove your name from mailing lists.

While you're at it, sign up for electronic billing and receipts instead of paper ones.

(Also, who wouldn't want less junk mail?!)

15. Make sure you're recycling electronics properly.

Computers, electronics, and batteries can be full of acids, rare metals, and lead. That gunk can end up in our soil and water, which is, you know, not good. You can help keep lead and toxins out of the soil by using proper e-waste procedures.

Instead of tossing your old cell phone in the trash or leaving your old laptop on the curb, use this website to find a recycling center near you. You can also donate or recycle old cell phones. Many carriers, such as AT&T and Verizon, also have trade-in programs.

16. If thinking about the global environment feels overwhelming, think local instead.

We might not be able to count on the federal government, but that doesn't mean cities, towns, and neighborhoods can't still take action to protect the environment.

Join Audubon International's Green Neighborhood program, read the NRDC's neighborhood development guide, create a neighborhood repair team, persuade your city to turn defunct industrial sites into green spaces, or follow the small town of Ashton Haye's example and go carbon-neutral altogether.

17. Download apps that will help you keep conservation and environment info handy.

Put your phone to good use. Find more sustainable fish with an app like Seafood Watch, lower your water bill with Dropcountr, get ocean conservancy tips from Rippl, learn what's going on in your neighborhood with Ecoviate, or find new ideas with #climate.

18. Educate yourself by watching amazing environmental documentaries.

[rebelmouse-image 19494220 dam="1" original_size="750x422" caption="Image from "Before the Flood."" expand=1]Image from "Before the Flood."

Documentaries are a great way to get caught up on current issues. Check out BBC's delightful "The Blue Planet," "Life," "Life Story," and "Planet Earth" series; Leonardo DiCaprio's "Before the Flood"; "Chasing Ice"; Discovery Channel's "Wildest" series; or both "Cosmos" series.

19. Have uncomfortable conversations.

Look, I can write as much as I want here, but if you actually want to change someone's mind, you've really got to talk to them. Connect over shared values. If you're a hunter, talk to other hunters. If you're a farmer, talk to other farmers. If you're a city dweller, talk to other city dwellers. Find the places where you can agree, and go from there.

It can be weird, but it helps.

20. Don't panic.

Yes, climate change is real. Yes, it's caused by humans. Though some politicians may try to sow confusion, we just need to look out the window to see that the weather's getting weirder.

That said, it's not too late. We probably can't stop it entirely, but we still have the power to both lessen its effects and prepare for the future.

So don't panic.

21. Remember, you are not alone.

Though we may disagree sometimes on the best way to do it, the majority of Americans do want action on climate change and conservation. Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Green, this is an issue we can all get behind.

Images courtesy of Letters of Love
True

When Grace Berbig was 7 years old, her mom was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues. Being so young, Grace didn’t know what cancer was or why her mother was suddenly living in the hospital. But she did know this: that while her mom was in the hospital, she would always be assured that her family was thinking of her, supporting her and loving her every step of her journey.

Nearly every day, Grace and her two younger sisters would hand-make cards and fill them with drawings and messages of love, which their mother would hang all over the walls of her hospital room. These cherished letters brought immeasurable peace and joy to their mom during her sickness. Sadly, when Grace was just 10 years old, her mother lost her battle with cancer.“

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Losing my mom put the world in a completely different perspective for me,” Grace says. “I realized that you never know when someone could leave you, so you have to love the people you love with your whole heart, every day.”

Grace’s father was instrumental in helping in the healing process of his daughters. “I distinctly remember my dad constantly reminding my two little sisters, Bella and Sophie, and I that happiness is a choice, and it was now our job to turn this heartbreaking event in our life into something positive.”

When she got to high school, Grace became involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a handful of other organizations. But she never felt like she was doing enough.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to help beyond donating money, and one that anyone could be a part of, no matter their financial status.”

In October 2018, Grace started Letters of Love, a club at her high school in Long Lake, Minnesota, to emotionally support children battling cancer and other serious illnesses through letter-writing and craft-making.


Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Much to her surprise, more than 100 students showed up for the first club meeting. From then on, Letters of Love grew so fast that during her senior year in high school, Grace had to start a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of card-making materials.

Speaking about her nonprofit today, Grace says, “I can’t find enough words to explain how blessed I feel to have this organization. Beyond the amount of kids and families we are able to support, it allows me to feel so much closer and more connected to my mom.”

Since its inception, Letters of Love has grown to more than 25 clubs with more than 1,000 members providing emotional support to more than 60,000 patients in children’s hospitals around the world. And in the process it has become a full-time job for Grace.

“I do everything from training volunteers and club ambassadors, paying bills, designing merchandise, preparing financial predictions and overviews, applying for grants, to going through each and every card ensuring they are appropriate to send out to hospitals.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

In addition to running Letters of Love, Grace and her small team must also contend with the emotions inherent in their line of work.

“There have been many, many tears cried,” she says. “Working to support children who are battling cancer and other serious and sometimes chronic illnesses can absolutely be extremely difficult mentally. I feel so blessed to be an organization that focuses solely on bringing joy to these children, though. We do everything we can to simply put a smile on their face, and ensure they know that they are so loved, so strong, and so supported by people all around the world.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Letters of Love has been particularly instrumental in offering emotional support to children who have been unable to see friends and family due to COVID-19. A video campaign in the summer of 2021 even saw members of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild offer short videos of hope and encouragement to affected children.

Grace is currently taking a gap year before she starts college so she can focus on growing Letters of Love as well as to work on various related projects, including the publication of a children’s book.

“The goal of the book is to teach children the immense impact that small acts of kindness can have, how to treat their peers who may be diagnosed with disabilities or illness, and how they are never too young to change the world,” she says.

Since she was 10, Grace has kept memories of her mother close to her, as a source of love and inspiration in her life and in the work she does with Letters of Love.

Image courtesy of Grace Berbig

“When I lost my mom, I felt like a section of my heart went with her, so ever since, I have been filling that piece with love and compassion towards others. Her smile and joy were infectious, and I try to mirror that in myself and touch people’s hearts as she did.”

For more information visit Letters of Love.

Please donate to Grace’s GoFundMe and help Letters of Love to expand, publish a children’s book and continue to reach more children in hospitals around the world.

Freya from Maya Higa's YouTube video.

Ever wonder what an ideal date for a lemur would be? Or a lizard’s favorite Disney princess?

Thanks to one YouTube poster with a passion for animals and an endearing sense of humor, all questions shall be answered. Well, maybe not all questions. But at the very least, you’ll have eight minutes of insanely cute footage.

In a series titled “Tiny Mic Interviews,” Maya Higa approaches little beasties with a microphone so small she has to hold it with just her thumb and forefinger. And yes, 99% of the animals try to eat it.

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Images courtesy of AFutureSuperhero and Friends and Balance Dance Project
True

The day was scorching hot, but the weather wasn’t going to stop a Star Wars Stormtrooper from handing out school supplies to a long line of eager children. “You guys don’t have anything illegal back there - any droids or anything?” the Stormtrooper asks, making sure he was safe from enemies before handing over a colorful backpack to a smiling boy.

The man inside the costume is Yuri Williams, founder of AFutureSuperhero And Friends, a Los Angeles nonprofit that uplifts and inspires marginalized people with small acts of kindness.

Yuri’s organization is one of four inaugural grant winners from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, a joint initiative between Upworthy and GoFundMe that celebrates kindness and everyday actions inspired by the best of humanity. This year, the Upworthy Kindness Fund is giving $100,000 to grassroots changemakers across the world.

To apply, campaign organizers simply tell Upworthy how their kindness project is making a difference. Between now and the end of 2021, each accepted individual or organization will receive $500 towards an existing GoFundMe and a shout-out on Upworthy.

Meet the first four winners:

1: Balance Dance Project: This studio aims to bring accessible dance to all in the Sacramento, CA area. Lead fundraiser Miranda Macias says many dancers spend hours a day at Balance practicing contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, and ballet. Balance started a GoFundMe to raise money to cover tuition for dancers from low-income communities, buy dance team uniforms, and update its facility. The $500 contribution from the Kindness Fund nudged Balance closer to its $5,000 goal.

2: Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team: In Los Angeles, middle school teacher James Pike is introducing his students to the field of robotics via a Lego-building team dedicated to solving real-world problems.

James started a GoFundMe to crowdfund supplies for his students’ team ahead of the First Lego League, a school-against-school matchup that includes robotics competitions. The team, James explained, needed help to cover half the cost of the pricey $4,000 robotics kit. Thanks to help from the Upworthy Kindness Fund and the generosity of the Citizens of the World Middle School community, the team exceeded its initial fundraising goal.

Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team video update youtu.be

3: Black Fluidity Tattoo Club: Kiara Mills and Tann Parker want to fix a big problem in the tattoo industry: there are too few Black tattoo artists. To tackle the issue, the duo founded the Black Fluidity Tattoo Club to inspire and support Black tattooers. While the Brooklyn organization is open to any Black person, Kiara and Tann specifically want to encourage dark-skinned artists to train in an affirming space among people with similar identities.

To make room for newcomers, the club recently moved into a larger studio with a third station for apprentices or guest artists. Unlike a traditional fundraiser that supports the organization exclusively, Black Fluidity Tattoo Club will distribute proceeds from GoFundMe directly to emerging Black tattoo artists who are starting their own businesses. The small grants, supported in part with a $500 contribution from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, will go towards artists’ equipment, supplies, furnishings, and other start-up costs.

4: AFutureSuperhero And Friends’ “Hope For The Holidays”: Founder Yuri Williams is fundraising for a holiday trip to spread cheer to people in need across all fifty states.

Along with collaborator Rodney Smith Jr., Yuri will be handing out gifts to children, adults, and animals dressed as a Star Wars’ Stormtrooper, Spiderman, Deadpool, and other movie or comic book characters. Starting this month, the crew will be visiting children with disabilities or serious illnesses, bringing leashes and toys to animal shelters for people taking home a new pet, and spreading blessings to unhoused people—all while in superhero costume. This will be the third time Yuri and his nonprofit have taken this journey.

AFutureSuperhero started a GoFundMe in July to cover the cost of gifts as well as travel expenses like hotels and rental cars. To help the nonprofit reach its $15,000 goal, the Upworthy Kindness Fund contributed $500 towards this good cause.

Think you qualify for the fund? Tell us how you’re bringing kindness to your community. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis from now through the end of 2021. For questions and more information, please check out our FAQ's and the Kindness Toolkit for resources on how to start your own kindness fundraiser.

Cellist Cremaine Booker's performance of Faure's "Pavane" is as impressive as it is beautiful.

Music might be the closest thing the world has to real magic. Music has the ability to transform any atmosphere in seconds, simply with the sounds of a few notes. It can be simple—one instrument playing single notes like raindrops—or a complex symphony of melodies and harmonies, swirling and crashing like waves from dozens of instruments. Certain rhythms can make us spontaneously dance and certain chord progressions can make us cry.

Music is an art, a science, a language and a decidedly human endeavor. People have made music throughout history, in every culture on every continent. Over time, people have perfected the crafting of instruments and passed along the knowledge of how to play them, so every time we see someone playing music, we're seeing the history of humanity culminated in their craft. It's truly an amazing thing.

The pandemic threw a wrench into seeing live musicians for a good chunk of time, and even now, live performances are limited. Thankfully, we have technology that makes it easier for musicians to collaborate and perform with one another virtually—and also makes it easier for people to create "group" performances all by themselves.

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A round-up of delights from around the internet this week.

Hey all!

Welcome to Upworthy's weekly roundup of delights from around the internet. This week's list features a little of everything—gorgeous music, cute kids, adorable animals, hope for the planet and a brand new video message from the late and great Betty White.

That's right, Betty White left us a message of gratitude shortly before her passing. It's brief, but how lovely to see and hear her speak to her millions of fans one last time. Few celebrities are as universally beloved as Betty White was, and though we knew she couldn't live forever, it would have been fun to see her celebrate her 100th birthday. Now, at least, we get to experience her joy and warmth with a few last words.

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