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Celebrate our non-fungible planet, this Earth Day and every day

Non-fungible: something that is unique, irreplaceable and non-interchangeable. Exactly like our planet.

This Earth Day, we challenged ourselves to think about what makes Earth so special, and so worth protecting. We teamed up with Atlas Obscura (as well as organizations like re:wild, WWF, Conservation International, National Park Foundation and Balipara Foundation) to explore unique locations across the globe that show how incredibly rare and one-of-a-kind this planet is. “The ocean looks after us. And what a responsibility we have to look after it,” says Elayna Carausu, one-half of the vlogger duo Sailing La Vagabonde (SLV). “I think that’s probably the biggest thing I’ve learned.” Elayna and her husband Riley Whitelum use SLV to show their 1.69 million subscribers what it’s like to sail across the world, discovering — and cherishing — the planet.

We asked them, and 14 other YouTube creators, to take us with them on their journeys to better understand the stress our environment is under, and what we can do to help. SLV took us to Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas, Lasizwe Dambuzae went inside the Sudwala Caves in South Africa, and ASAPScience explored a massive dune of pure gypsum in White Sands, New Mexico.

You can find all these YouTube adventures on our YouTube Spotlight channel, but we also wanted to hear directly from a few creators — the Sailing La Vagabonde duo and Manual do Mundo — about what they learned in the making of these videos.

Sailing La Vagabonde

Q: What was different about having a film crew on board with you?

We live on a boat, so we live a fairly isolated life, which we really enjoy. It’s not like we never see anyone, there are other cruisers out there and especially now with the kids we try to be around civilization more but still! Having so many people onboard at once was something we’d never done. We’d never had to make coffee for a crew of 10 people up until that point. Working as a team, and not just a duo, was a big change.

Q: What was the most surprising thing you learned about the Blue Hole?

That acid rain played a part in the formation of the Blue Hole and blue holes in general. I didn’t know much about acid rain at all. We learned so much about acid rain and blue holes, which was fun for us.

SLV blog post

Q: What was your favorite thing about sailing through the Bahamas?

We’re away from the trade winds here, the winds are much lighter year round with enough days of complete calm, so we can go freediving. The clarity of the water here is like no other place in the world. We’ve sailed tens of thousands of miles now, all through Europe, across the Atlantic four times, through the Caribbean, across the Pacific Ocean, island hopping our way all the way to New Zealand. We’re yet to find a place with better visibility.

Q: What can we do to better take care of our oceans and our planet in general?

Give a f$&k. If you honestly care, it will influence your friends and family to care as well. Gradually the culture around what we perceive as necessary in order to coexist with our planet in a harmonious way will change.

  • Choosing your protein wisely (try going vegetarian or vegan)
  • Conserve water
  • Reduce your waste (remember the three R’s, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle)
  • Reduce your carbon emissions
  • Support sustainable brands and companies
  • Sign petitions
  • Be aware of what good things are going on in your community and take part

Q: If people take one thing away from this video you made, what do you hope it is?

Science is cool, science is fun. I hope that to anyone who watched our video, that a spark has been lit and maybe you’re inspired to study or learn something new.

Manual do Mundo

Q: What was the most surprising thing you learned about ?

We visited a park with the largest area of preserved Atlantic Forest in Brazil. So, we got surprised, for instance, to see a clean river, which if we wanted to drink water from it, it would be possible. It is very unusual. We don't find it anymore. Here in Brazil, practically all the rivers are dirty with something.

Q: What was your favorite thing about the location?

An unforgettable moment was when we arrived at the mouth of the cave. We swam in the river next to a 200-meter high wall with a waterfall right in front. This landscape is totally different from what we had in mind. It felt like we were on another planet.

Q: What would you tell someone before they visited?

You have to prepare yourself for a heavy trail. So, if you have trouble in places like this, it's best to choose a lighter walk. We visited the viewpoint and the cave on the same day, which was even more difficult! It is also important to bring plenty of water and a light backpack.

NFP YouTube

Q: What can we do to better take care of places like these and our planet in general?

We must support the institution of reserves and parks that manage to control the destruction of the forest. In Brazil, for example, we have a series of challenges to be able to create parks like this.

Q: If people take one thing away from this video you made, what do you hope it is?

I would always remember the clean rivers we crossed. I would remember that we could have rivers like that. We would even have more water available in our city. This is a very serious problem in São Paulo, and this park is very close to there.

If you’re still looking to learn more this Earth Day, check out Google Earth, where you can journey to the Akaka Falls in Hawaii with Bretman Rock or the Odeo Botanico with ItsJinaKim in Korea. We partnered with these adventurers to make their travels part of an interactive Google Earth map.

Earth Day logo

And one last “travel” tip: Check out our Earth Day themed logo on the YouTube homepage and be sure to click on the binoculars to see creators exploring the world around them!

Happy Earth Day!