By Matt Kettmann, Santa Barbara Independent:
Being stuck at home doesn’t mean that you can’t help fight climate change and improve conditions for all of the living and nonliving things on our planet. Running until the end of April, the Earth Day Challenge is a digital competition between 675 teams across the county to lower carbon footprints, support nonprofits fighting for sustainability, and learn about the natural world.
The challenge is cohosted by Sustainable Future, a Santa Barbara–based organization that’s working to get businesses, schools, churches, nonprofits, and public agencies to come together digitally. “We believe that the collective of even smallish daily actions can have a positive cumulative effect to combat climate-change issues,” said Deirdre Brannigan, the organization’s director of engagement. “Sometimes all we have control over is our daily actions in our own lives. Using this platform is a way to track our progress over time.”
She compares what Sustainable Future does to an app that tracks daily steps but instead focuses on sustainability measures. Once signed up for the challenge, participants will receive daily tasks, including volunteering for nonprofits, supporting local businesses, donating money or food to causes, learning about native plants and wildlife, and, perhaps most impactfully, pledging to change behavior, such as scraping rather than rinsing food off plates when washing dishes.
“Honestly there is no better time during this social isolation to participate in something as a community,” said Brannigan, who said that the Santa Barbara team is currently in fifth place and could use help to win the crown. “It’s really one of the only options for celebrating Earth Day together.”