Follow these Instagram accounts if you love the environment

We love these Instagram accounts for their shots of the environment and the planet.

National Geographic (@natgeo)

“Life is an adventure — enjoy the ride and the world the eyes of the National Geographic photographers.”

Miles upon miles of compounded and colorful aluminum cans in a New York recycling facility, a red plastic bag floating in the wind near Mt. Huangshan Mountain, China and a German nuclear power plant, rusted, barren and a monument to long-ago war — these are some of the pictures on NatGeo’s Instagram and they serve to remind us of our impact on the world. Don’t worry though, it’s not all doom and gloom. National Geographic showcases some of their best photographers from across the world, posting three to four pictures a day that capture the beauty of our planet.

U.S. EPA (@epagov)

“The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment.”

When policy meets pollution and when Fed meets farm, the EPA is there, meeting the needs of the environment. The EPA Instagram is an excellent example of how environmentally minded organizations can visually represent green initiatives. With a blend of statistics, infographics and the faces who make the organization what it is today, the EPA Instagram is a giant in the realm of environmental storytelling.

Everyday Climate Change (@everydayclimatechange)

“Climate Change is Real! A diverse group of photographers from 5 continents document climate change. Share your photos, tag #everydayclimatechange.”

Who are the people that make the turbines spin and the trees grow and the cities less smoggy? They are many, from China to India to New York, and they’re faces are on Everyday Climate Change’s Instagram. ECC focuses on the stories behind some of the challenges that face our planet. A woman, knee deep in the water of the Jamuna River in Bangladesh, stands in what was once her home. Smoke, billowing out of a plastic factory, destroy Cairo’s already toxic air. A pair of wrinkly lips and jowls, describing how global warming is a myth manufactured by the Chinese, belong to Donald Trump. Together, these stories make up the epic challenge of human vs. environment; Everyday Climate Change shows us that it has to be human and environment.

NOAA (@noaa)

“Official feed for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Our mission: Science, Service and Stewardship. Find us on Twitter @NOAA.”

A glacier, a space shuttle launch and a fragile turtle the size of a walnut. Ocean and ozone are NOAA’s bread and butter. Their Instagram lets out all of the stops to show what it means to be a part of a planet that’s over three quarters water. And if you’re sick of being boring and for that cool barista at Starbucks to think you’re smart, NOAA’s your social media place: (“Sup, Becky? Did you know that the National Marine Sanctuary System turned 42 today?”). With 160,000-plus followers, the NOAA team does everything it can to bring the air and sea to your fingers and inspire you to bring those fingers to pick up a barometer or click a donate button.

Yosemite National Park (@yosemitenps)

“Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but also deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, & more.”

When talking about sustainability, we often focus on innovation and the future. But what about those ancient sanctuaries that are more myth than reality? These are our national parks, and Yosemite National Park, just might be one of the most beautiful. In one day you can see vast expanses of green and blue and gray, and as day bleeds into night, millions of stars. The 1,200 square miles of beauty have drawn 221,000 followers, making for a successful Instagram. And from it, we can learn that, yes, sustainability is a fast-paced, future-looking force that protects places like Yosemite. But can’t we take a moment to enjoy it a little? 

International Space Station (@iss)

"The International Space Station is a collaboration of 15 nations working together to operate a world-class, state-of-the-art orbiting laboratory."

Two words: Space vegetables! OK, it sounds funny, but space-grown vegetables actually do have an impact on humanity's ability to survive on potential long-term missions in space. Is space the answer to an overcrowded planet? It's probably not THE answer, but it may be one option, at least for those with a great sense of adventure. Along with exploring the research being done for future missions, the ISS Instagram is a fascinating look inside the ISS — and the (higher than a) bird's-eye-view of the planet with awesome views of everything from auroras to storms, surely helped them gain their 936,000 followers.

Out of Eden (@outofedenwalk)

"Out of Eden Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Paul Salopek is recreating the journey of early humans out of Africa and around the world, one step at a time."

This project, which started in 2013, is a "slow" journalism experiment spanning 21,000 miles — all traveled by foot — and seven years. The project's website says along the way Salopek will be covering the major stories of our time — "from climate change to technological innovation, from mass migration to cultural survival." It's not an "instant read" when you look at the Instagram feed, but check it out and give the project a chance. After all, there are five more years to follow on this journey.

Planet Forward (@planetforward)

"Planet Forward is an innovative storytelling collaborative based at The George Washington University."

Of course you should follow us! Planet Forward was just in Rome with our inaugural Storyfest winners sharing their stories at the 42nd Committee on Food Security (CFS) annual conference. But we've also explored Ethiopia, shared some innovative ideas and announced contests (watch for Storyfest 2016's announcement soon!). Be in the know about all things Planet Forward. And tell us your story, by using #planetFWD.

How do you move the Planet Forward? Tweet us @planet_forward or contribute to the conversation with your own story.