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The Obama Foundation Guide to Earth Day 2023

This Earth Week and every day, we can all take better care of the one planet we’ve got. It’s our home. Together, we can do our part to reduce our environmental impact and live more sustainably. Whether you’re in Chicago or in far corners of the globe— we hope you’ll be a part of this collective work.

As we carry out our mission to inspire, empower, and connect people to change their world, Earth Week is a perfect opportunity to take action to do just that.

Below, you can find resources and events to find ways to create a more sustainable world.

Do Your Part

Every action makes a difference. You can start by driving less, thrifting, reducing your paper use, composting, or even installing solar panels on your home if you can.

A light green graphic with the words: "Cycling saves at least 90% of CO2 emissions compared to driving. What you can do right now: Carpool, Take public Transit."


A light green graphic with the words "The fashion industry contributes up to 10% of humankind's carbon emissions. What you can do right now: Shop at local thrift stores, resell your clothes online, create DIY clothing."


A light green graphic with the words "2% of landfill solid waste is paper. What you can do right now: Switch to paperless billing, Use reusable and washable cloth napkins."


A light green graphic with the words "Installing a solar panel system cuts up to four tons of carbon emissions annually. What you can do right now: Apply for Tax Credits, Get started at"


A light green graphic with the words "Composting can cut up to 75% of an average home's energy use per year. What you can do right now: "Start your own compost pile. Find a composting station near you."


A light green graphic with the words "Exercise your right to vote. Elected officials have a major impact on how communities across the country help fuel climate solutions -- so make sure your voice is heard and counted at the ballot box."


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Get Involved

Taking care of your community is one of the most important steps toward improving the environment. An easy start can be participating in community cleanups.

Studies show that volunteering is a predictor of  better mental and physical health (Opens in a new tab) self-esteem (Opens in a new tab), and  happiness (Opens in a new tab) on an individual level as well. That’s a win win!

If you’re in Chicago

The Obama Foundation teamed up with the  Emerald South Economic Development Collaborative (Opens in a new tab) to curate three park clean-ups on the South Side in Washington Park, Jackson Park and Rainbow Beach.

If you’re local to Chicago, join us on Saturday, April 22, at the Washington Park Refectory. Shuttles will be provided to and from the other two locations. Clean-up supplies and food will also be provided.  Sign up here (Opens in a new tab).

A graphic showing a woman and toddler with medium-dark skin tone digging in a garden. The words "The Obama Foundation and Emerald South invite you to celebrate Earth Day 2023, Saturday April 22 11am-2pm, Washington Park Refectory, 5531 S Martin Luther King Drive" and a "Join Us" button.

Friends of the Parks (Opens in a new tab) is also hosting a citywide cleanup on Saturday, April 22.

If you’re not in Chicago, visit Earth Day for more in-person volunteer opportunities globally.

Volunteer Virtually

Check out virtual volunteer opportunities with  The Earth Day Initiative (Opens in a new tab). It offers online environmental justice, wellness, renewable energy, sustainable food, environmentalism, and climate activism workshops and events.

Learn More

Read books on environmental conservation and sustainability or watch related documentaries. If you’re in Chicago, check out the  One Earth Film Festival (Opens in a new tab), which is a weeklong Earth Day celebration from April 19 to 23, showcasing powerful films addressing climate change and environmental justice.

The Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures (Opens in a new tab) is also hosting a talk on ancient engineering and recycling in the ancient world. Attendees will participate in a scavenger hunt for prizes and receive plant herbs to take home.

Get Inspired

Learn more about  Joseph Nguthiru, a 2023 Obama Foundation Africa Leader, who is transforming the water hyacinth plant, the world’s most problematic aquatic weed, into biodegradable alternatives for single-use plastic products. To date, HyaPak has eliminated over 700 kg of water hyacinth from Lake Naivasha in Kenya.

Did you know we are building the Obama Presidential Center from a sustainable lens? The Center will be home to a sustainable landscape filled with new life: native plants, trees, birds, insects, and other pollinators that will grow, mature, and evolve alongside future generations.  Check out how we’re doing it.