6 Things You Can Do on Earth Day to Make the Planet Better

Happy Earth Day from Visual News! There have been a lot of exciting movements since the inception of Earth Day in 1970. Recycling is being utilized more than ever, dialogues over major environmental issues are being discussed and acted upon, farmer’s markets are ubiquitous, and bans on plastic bags and bottles are just beginning in major cities. There’s plenty to be proud of, but no one can pat each other on the back just yet. There is still much to do both globally and locally. For Earth Day 2015, here are a few simple ways you can help the planet and give back.

Dutch Promote Women’s Rights With a Massive Portrait

Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada-1

To assist Netherlands feminist foundation Mama Cash with promoting and protecting women’s rights around the world, world renowned Cuban-American terrestrial artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada created an enormous portrait of a woman’s face in Dutch soil. He explains: “Using fertile soil to create this piece becomes a metaphor for what can come forth if the vision of these women is respected and allowed to bring about change.” With the help of 80 volunteers, Zeeburgereiland in Amsterdam, which is larger than 2 football fields was transformed to become the fierce face of a female activist in less than a week. They used almost 5 miles of rope, 7 tons of straw, 5,300 cubic feet of soil, and 1,150 wooden poles to bring Gerada’s vision to life.

Massive Ice Typography With A Message


Environmental artist Nicole Dextras creates larger than life installations with a message to share, but the message only lasts as long as the weather permits. For her series Signs of Change, Dextras used wooden forms to create ice words that ranged from 18inches to 8 feet tall and placed them in various locations throughout Canada from the highly trafficked metropolis of Toronto to the pristine corners of the Yukon. The angle from which they are viewed as well as how far along they are in the melting process determine how a person might interpret them. She uses coloring in some of the sculptures to make them stand out more and make sure her message gets noticed and takes photographs and time lapse videos to record their life and eventual death. The medium of ice shows the transient nature of all things.

The LGBT Equality House Across From Westboro Baptist

Equality House Westboro Baptist 1

The “Westboro Baptist Church” of Topeka, Kansas has caused a lot of pain and frustration due to their extreme actions. They’ve protested at the funerals of American soldiers killed in action and shown their strong anti-gay message with picket signs reading “Pray for more dead soldiers” and “Fags die, God Laughs.” The small group is largely considered a disgrace to America, the Christian faith and humanity, and has thus garnered significant media attention. Now, they have a bright new beacon on their block, one that according to most interpretations of Christian scriptures they should Love: it’s an LGBT equality action group.

Russian Statues Protest for Pussy Riot

Earlier this year they were a mostly unknown feminist punk band from Russia… but now they have become an international phenomenon and a wakeup call to the reality of social freedoms in the modern Russian Federation. The group, called Pussy Riot staged an illegal concert on February 21st, on the steps of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

Tents are Art Too!


The Occupy movement put down roots all over the world at its peak, especially in the USA where finding a city center without encampments was unlikely last year. The Occupy movement has definitely lost some steam, or even disappeared all together in many places. In Denver, Colorado, a law has been passed making it illegal to camp on city sidewalks. Meanwhile in Germany, a different version of Occupy blew up in protest of Stuttgart21, the new train station and urban development project starting in Stuttgart, Germany.

Young Adults: The Future of Social Activism

The profound impact social media has had on our society (and the world) in the past years has led people to take it far more seriously and think differently about how it can affect social issues. Not only are people sharing content with family and friends, but they’re standing up and supporting issues they feel strongly about. In 2010, TBWA/Worlwide posed the question, “How can brands engage young adults in social responsibility?” The answers were critically important, yet simple: make it easy, make it social, make it fun. Two years later the study has been updated, and insights into engaging this crucial audience of pro-social consumers, as well as ideas about creating a better world have been found.

Greenpeace Pits David Against Earth Eating Goliaths

Whether you love or hate the world environmental organization Greenpeace, they certainly do come up with some clever, attractive and maybe even effective advertising campaigns. Part of a new initiative, these beautiful black and white illustrations see a tiny, inflatable boat born figure battling against gigantic monster like environmental problems. The daunting manifestations of oil rigs, overfishing, deforestation and air pollution are all confronted by the activist David wielding a tiny slingshot… and from the story it’s based upon, we know he will be triumphant.

Flooding the Amazon for Ineffecient Energy

The jaguar in position in the Xingu river at the site of the Belo Monte dam

With a world full of over 7 billion people, many governments have trended toward desperate fixes to keep up with the increased needs of their people. Unfortunately the worlds ever increasing appetite for energy often comes at the cost of nature. In Brazil, yet another large scale energy project has been launched, the Belo Monte dam. It is planned to be the world’s third largest in installed capacity.  However, it will only produce 39% of its maximum capacity, so the majority of its effect on the environment will not even produce energy.  David de Rothschild, the adventurer behind the well-known Plastiki project, has started a new organization named MYOO to address environmental irresponsibility just like this

Occupy Wall Street: Dollar Bills Spread the News

How do we spread the word about the massive wealth disparity in the US? This incredibly cool idea uses infographics stamped on dollar bills (one of the very items in hot discussion by the Occupy Wall Street movement) to quickly communicate jaw dropping facts to the country at large. Occupy George, the creators of the stamps, have open-sourced all the design giving citizens access to images for making your own rubber stamps. For those who don’t have easy access to a stamp making company, they’ve also created a set of printable dollar bills complete with graphics. Head over to Occupy George soon to get your greenbacks working for the people!