Every year, Earth Day takes place on April 22. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and the theme is climate action.

Earth day challenges people to seek opportunities to protect and restore our planet. Steps as small as joining a local cleanup can help make a difference.

To celebrate Earth Day locally amidst the coronavirus pandemic, you can help tackle litter in Beaufort County and the surrounding areas on your daily walk. If you want to go a step further, monitor the environment using your phone.

The specialists behind Earth Day have created an online campaign to get people to contribute to environmental monitoring with the Earth Challenge 2020. The challenge uses mobile technology and citizen science data to motivate people to engage with science and decrease threats to the environment in their communities.

There is an Earth Challenge app as well as affordable hardware that comes with sensors that volunteers can use to collect data. The app helps each user become a citizen scientist and learn about the environmental concerns in each community, including air quality, insect populations, and plastic pollution.

The goal of this challenge is to engage millions of global citizens through education and action. You can tag @earth_challenge on social media to document the environmental condition and changes in your community.

Scientists will use the data collected to assess ecological threats and opportunities. This challenge is an excellent way to help keep our Lowcountry community beautiful and thriving.

After looking outside at the environment around you, take a look into how you can implement earth-friendly tactics in your home.

Energy-efficient appliances such as dishwashers, dryers and refrigerators use the minimum amount of energy to complete a task to reduce their impact on the environment.

A smart thermostat uses Wi-Fi to adjust your home’s temperature from your smartphone so that you can access it from wherever you are. There is no use heating or cooling an empty house all day, so use the smart technology to turn the air on before heading home from work.

Smart light bulbs are another impactful investment you can make this Earth Day. You can remotely control them to ensure you’re using them only when you need to.

An added benefit is that all of these appliances also help you save on your energy bill! Think about what positive changes you can make this Earth Day to keep our community beautiful.

Michael Cole is the general manager of Hargray.