Today’s Earth Day Google Doodle reminds us to take care of the best planet in the Solar System

As a space reporter, I spend a significant portion of my time thinking about how to escape Earth and what lies beyond this tiny world of ours. But exciting as it is to dream of walking on other planets, one thing is clear: Earth is by far the best one to live on. Or at least, it’s the easiest one to live on. We can walk outside, wearing nothing but thin layers of fabric — no pressurized spacesuit required! Our bones and muscles stay strong and functional thanks to our planet’s gravitational pull, something you don’t fully get on Mars. Not to mention the temperatures! Sure they may vary, but they definitely beat the surface temperature of Venus: a balmy 880 degrees Fahrenheit.

But the easy living on Earth won’t stay that way unless we take good care of our planet. And that’s the big reminder of Earth Day, a day dedicated to protecting our environment and keeping our world healthy. Of course, there are a lot of threats to our easy way of life on Earth, first and foremost of which is climate change. The influx of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere continues to trap heat and raise temperatures, threatening whole ecosystems, melting Arctic ice, and causing sea level rise. Those greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide, also filter into our oceans and make the water more acidic, resulting in the deaths of certain sea creatures and causing ripple effects in whole food chains.

These dangers are illustrated today in the Google Doodle for Earth Day, which features a fox dreaming of what our planet could be like if the climate alters too much. In response to his nightmare, the fox grabs some friends and comes up with solutions to mitigate climate change, specifically by reducing their reliance on burning fossil fuels for power. That includes using renewable forms of energy like wind or solar power, riding a bike in lieu of driving a car, or opting for vegetarian meals instead of meat — since the meat industry is incredibly energy intensive.

They’re all good examples of ways we can reduce our carbon footprint. Otherwise, just remember that you could be on Mars instead, where you’d probably have to live behind thick reinforced shielding to avoid radiation for the rest of your life and never breathe clean air again.

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