Your use of "the earth", when your question really should have been about "the environment", needs a short comment.
There really is nothing we can do to harm the earth, or even "life on earth". If we collectively decided to use all of our ingenuity to eradicate life from the planet, we'd fail. It might take several million years, but eventually evolution would repopulate all the little niches that we currently see.
To use an analogy, as a species we're currently dismantling the very nice house we were born into, but that won't really hurt the land it sits on.
So how can you help save the environment?
The most direct thing you can do is to decrease your personal impact — your "footprint". If you have a car, sell it to someone else (who ideally, then, would not buy a new one). Move to a town or city that allows you to live without the consumption that the suburbs entail. Try to arrange your life so you can commute to work or school by foot, bicycle or public transit (or skateboard, or push scooter, or skates, and maybe even skis or ice skates in the winter). Choose a lifestyle that focuses on relationships and events, instead
By doing that, you'll already have taken the next step: serve as an example that it is a life that can be lived well.
The harder thing is to make a difference beyond your own life. There should be volunteer opportunities that do that. Cleaning the plastic off beaches, for example, or out of wetlands. Planting trees along city streets, or erosion control ground-cover on barren hillsides.
The more you investigate these, the more likely you are to find your own niche. You might live in a city that has nothing like San Francisco's Friends of the Urban Forest. and you might decide your mission is to start something like it. Or you might decide that more science needs to be done on how best to green our urban spaces, or how to better create the raw materials our civilization needs. Maybe you'll be part of the team of scientists and engineers that solve the problem of cellulosic biofuels. Or maybe you'll write the children's stories or adult fiction that raises consciousness about this to a higher level.
The deeper you enmesh yourself in a community that cares and is broadly active on this issue, the easier it will become to get involved, even at the career level.
Category: Personal Finance