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The impact of Earth Day extends beyond one day in April! Across the country, DreamWakers received flashchat requests from educators studying the ocean, conservation efforts, and climate throughout the month. All of these wonderful educators shared a common interest in getting their students involved in protecting our planet.

From a 7th grade classroom in Grovetown, Georgia working on a public-service announcement (PSA) about the effects of plastic in the ocean, to a group of 5th graders exploring the importance of water to different cultures, we set out to match these young scholars with outstanding scientists and reporters all studying our planet and environment.

5th-grade students from San Marcos Elementary in San Marcos, CA chatting with Conservation International’s Scott Atkinson

Throughout the month of April, five classrooms had the unique opportunity of connecting with speakers for a 45-minute virtual conversation where they didn’t hold back and asked the tough questions about conservation and climate. Inspired by the advice our wonderful speakers shared during their Earth Day flashchats, and the work they do every day, we’re excited to share FIVE important lessons to remember year-round!

Scott Atkinson

Senior Technical Adviser with Conservation International

“I would like you to just remember: Get into nature, get outside. Whatever you can do. People only protect what they love […] I want to tell everybody in the world we won’t protect our planet and we won’t protect our ocean unless we love it. And so the only way to love it is to get into it. Any opportunity you get, get outside into the woods, go for a walk or a hike, maybe go camping sometime with friends if you get an opportunity. Just get outside into nature.”

Jennifer Howard

Director of Marine Climate Change with Conservation International

“Incentivize companies to do better by saying ‘I’m not going to buy your product’ because it’s bad for the environment and that kind of forces them to change. One thing that I try to encourage is to really take a hard look at what you’re buying and what your parents are buying… As you’re buying and consuming the product, you’re producing waste. And one of the best ways to reduce waste is to be thoughtful about what you buy.”

Bill Weir

Chief Climate Correspondent with CNN

“In traveling around you realize how our little choices, like where we decide to go on vacation, can change an entire community. How they interact with the world every day because they lose their access to fishing and they become bartenders and waiters, or where we put our trash changes the way people live in different parts of the world. A lot of the times we don’t know how we get our food or where our waste streams go. The more you realize it the more it leads an impact on how I live my life, and think about what I order in a restaurant, where it came from, who are the people giving it to me.”

Kimberly Arcand

Visualization Lead with NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory

“For me, the state of our planet is one of the most important things to be paying attention to right now. I don’t have a ton of expertise on what can and should be done, besides what all the other experts I know are saying, which is reduce our carbon output, reduce our pollutions in the air and reduce our carbon footprints on an individual level and on business levels. Those are the sorts of things that I understand to be the most “bang for your buck” I would say. But, it takes everyone working collectively together to make a big change.”

Tom Di Liberto

Meteorologist with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center

“When you deal with climate change a lot, it can sometimes be sad. Because you research a lot of things, how the world is changing, how the world is going to change and how that may impact people. It can get you down sometimes because you know what the future may bring if we continue to do things the way we’re doing them. The way I get around that is through hope in people. I find that important to remind myself that the future hasn’t happened yet, so it’s always important to have hope. Keep a positive outlook and have hope.”

Don’t forget to check out DreamWakers on Twitter and Instagram for more Earth Day flashchat insight!

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