April 22nd marks Earth Day, the annual U.N.-sponsored event to celebrate our planet and raise awareness of the impact that human activity has on our environment. TheWorldPost looks into some of Earth’s natural wonders that face the possibility of destruction. Additionally, the Huffington Post has captured the incredible diversity of Earth’s biomes landscapes in a beautiful collection of photos, as well as a set of 22 technicolor dreamscapes of actual places in nature.
NOVA has written about online crowdsourcing as a means to solve complex global challenges. The MIT Center for Collective Intelligence has created the Climate CoLab, an online platform where people from around the world collaborate on issues involving global climate change. In the past, crowdsourcing has often lead to fruitful results, from Wikipedia to open source software to the online game FoldIt, in which players from around the world helped produce an accurate model of a essential protein found in an HIV-like virus in just ten days, solving a problem that had confounded scientists for 15 years. The developers of Climate CoLab hope that their initiative will do for climate change what FoldIt did for chemistry. Anyone, regardless of background or expertise, can contribute to Climate CoLab, and a person’s work can be reviewed by an international community of people-including experts from NASA, the World Bank, and leading universities like Stanford and Colombia.
In honor of Earth Day, Phil Plait has compiled a list of fun factoids about Earth. SoulPancake has created a garden of gratitude. Additionally, for every shirt sold in their store in April, the I Love Science Store will be donating the money to plant ten trees. 100 shirts=1,000 trees. It’s a great day to be an inhabitant of Earth!