How to Give Back to the Planet on Earth Day and Every Day - United Hub

How to give back to the planet on Earth Day and every day

By Matt Chernov, April 18, 2018

When the very first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, it took place primarily on college campuses and in grade schools across the United States. Approximately 20 million Americans participated in that inaugural event, making it the most successful environmental demonstration at that point in history. Today, the nature-themed holiday has blossomed into a global celebration that reaches upwards of a billion people around the world. As the 48th annual Earth Day approaches, here are some simple activities and practical suggestions to help you and your family better manage your own environmental impact throughout the entire year.

Commuter bikes for rent on a city street

1. Getting around town

Instead of jumping in your car for short trips, hop on your bicycle instead. By cycling around your neighborhood instead of driving, you'll cut down on harmful greenhouse gas emissions while enjoying some fun and beneficial exercise. It's a win-win situation.

When it comes to your car, fuel efficiency is the name of the game. Depending on the condition of your vehicle, several government programs around the country provide financial incentives to help you upgrade to a newer, cleaner, more energy-efficient car. For example, in California, the popular Replace Your Ride program offers substantial rebates to drivers who are ready to trade in their high-polluting vehicle for an electric or hybrid model.

2. Make your home energy efficient

In keeping with the phrase “think globally, act locally," the fastest way to make a significant contribution to the environment starts at home. Begin by switching to highly efficient LED light bulbs throughout your house or apartment. Not only will they help you conserve energy, they'll cut down your utility bills as well.

Adjusting the various heating and cooling units in your home by just a few degrees can also have a dramatic impact on both the environment and your budget. From your dishwasher to your thermostat to your refrigerator and electric dryer, a barely-noticeable temperature adjustment makes a significant difference in the long run.

Organic garden grown in someone's yard.

3. Naturally delicious

Although they might cost a little bit more, switching to organic vegetables has a direct impact on the planet's health. Since factory farms introduce harmful pesticides and toxins into our environment, purchasing local organic produce instead is a tasty way to support sustainability and clean living. Or better yet, start a backyard vegetable garden and grow dinner yourself.

Speaking of your yard, replacing a thirsty lawn with one that's more drought-resistant is a great way to conserve water and cut down on high utility bills as well. If that's too big of a project, then repairing leaky, broken sprinklers is an easy way to make a quick environmental difference.

4. Less is more

Let's face it: from food to clothing to common household products, most of us buy and consume far more than we actually need. This explains why a recent movement to scale back on unnecessary purchases has produced dramatic environmental results. Buying fewer disposable items cuts down on the avalanche of waste that ends up in landfills around the country, so choose products that use less packaging and help lighten the load.

If you're looking for a practical tip to make an environmental difference, recycling is an excellent way to cut back on the amount of trash each of us produces annually. For example, reusable water bottles and reusable shopping bags are a perfect way to help reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills. Similarly, by donating clothing to charities rather than throwing it away you'll solve two problems with one easy action.

United employees putting together recycled items for Clean the World.

5. Group effort

Environmentally conscious volunteering is an excellent way to have fun while helping to save the planet, so sign your family up for a weekend volunteer program in your hometown. Not only will you make a difference where it's needed most, you'll teach your children the value of community service.

If you're new to environmental volunteering, The Nature Conservancy is a great place to learn all about it. Founded in 1951, this nonprofit organization is dedicated to protecting our planet's natural resources by providing structured programs that match volunteers of all ages with projects that foster a sustainable world. From cleaning polluted rivers in Kansas to maintaining hiking trails in Maine to seed harvesting in Indiana, The Nature Conservancy has a volunteer opportunity that's right for you.

6. Paper trail

To help save trees, switch to online banking and reduce the massive amount of paper that's wasted annually. Skipping the receipt that you get at the ATM is another easy way to cut down on your paper consumption. Though some of these changes may seem small, when considered on a global scale they can produce impressive environmental results.

When shopping for paper products to use at home, look for labels that indicate they've been previously recycled. Many companies now proudly advertise that their products contain 80-100% recycled paper, which makes choosing sustainable brands much easier.

Lower Yosemite Falls framed by Pine Trees

7. Explore your world

Visiting one of our country's 60 national parks is a wonderful way to support the environment while experiencing nature's awe-inspiring beauty firsthand. Since the small cost of every park admission ticket contributes funds that provide much-needed services to help with conservation efforts, why not plan a trip to one of them today? For information about the many ways that the National Park Service protects the environment, visit the National Parks Conservation Association website.

When you've decided which national park to visit, book your flight at united.com or by using the convenient United app on your smart device.

Why we fly

By The Hub team, November 27, 2020

In October 2019, we launched a first-of-its-kind airline miles donation platform, Miles on a Mission. In the inaugural year, MileagePlus members donated over 70 million miles, with United matching over 20 million miles, to 51 organizations. These miles have allowed for these organizations to do important, life-changing, life-saving work in the communities we serve around the globe.

United cargo connects products to people all over the world this holiday season

By The Hub team, November 23, 2020

Critical medical shipments – Check.

High-tech electronics – Check.

2.7 million pounds of lobster? Check.


While this year's holiday gatherings will look a little different, millions of people around the world will still carry on the tradition of celebrating the holidays with a meal.

As the appetite for different types of food from all over the world increases, so does the need for safe and reliable transport. Fish caught in the United Kingdom can depart at breakfast and arrive in Washington D.C. in time for dinner. Thanks to United Cargo's expansive network, we are longer constrained by global distance or the seasonality of a product,

United Cargo plays a big role in transporting shipments with a limited shelf life around the world. Packed in between the latest electronics from Asia and the hottest fashion items from Europe, our aircraft carry a variety of perishable shipments like flowers, fruit, meat and vegetables, where speed and careful handling keeps them fresh. Whether it's cherries from Washington State or vegetables from Peru, our temperature-controlled shipping processes and vast global network helps move these commodities all over the world.

While the holidays are an exceptionally busy time of year for shipping perishable items, United Cargo transports these critical goods for people all over the world year-round. Earlier this year, United Cargo moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program to support communities impacted by COVID-19. Additionally, with the holiday season here, we anticipate the cargo holds of our aircraft to be full of grocery store replenishments, including staples like turkey and ham, hitting shelves across the globe.

We take pride in our role to make sure perishables and produce arrive on time and at the peak of freshness. These products sustain, feed and nurture the world, and consumers around the globe depend on them every single day.

Since March 19, United has operated nearly 8,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 272 million pounds of cargo on those flights alone. United Cargo is proud of the role we play maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access commodities from all over the globe.

Bon appetit!

10 travel tips for the holiday season

By The Hub team, November 19, 2020

Whether you haven't flown with us for a while or just need a quick refresher before your holiday travels, read this list of tips to know before your flight and arrive travel-ready:

1. Download the United app for contactless bag check, payments and more

Before your flight, download the United app to view your flight status, check in, sign up for flight notifications, locate departure gates, access our free personal device entertainment when available and more. We've also updated our app with new features that can make your trip a little safer, including contactless bag check and touch-free onboard payments.

2. Read and sign the Ready-to-Fly checklist

Before completing check-in, all United travelers will need to read our Ready-to-Fly checklist and confirm that they understand and agree to our policies. These include:

  • Acknowledging that you haven't had any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • Agreeing that you will not fly if you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 21 days
  • Confirming that you will follow all policies regarding face coverings, social distancing and other health and safety measures we've adopted

3. Get familiar with CleanPlus

United CleanPlus℠ is our commitment to delivering industry-leading* cleanliness, plus putting health and safety at the forefront of your experience, in partnership with Clorox and Cleveland Clinic. We've implemented CleanPlus in a number of ways that you'll notice throughout your trip, as well as with some behind-the-scenes enhancements like:

  • Disinfecting high-touch areas on board and in the terminal
  • Using electrostatic spraying, Ultraviolet C lighting wands and more advanced measures to clean aircraft cabins before boarding
  • Redesigning our mobile app to allow for touchless check-in and contactless payment, along with enhanced travel assistance features

Studies show COVID-19 exposure risk is minimal when air filtration systems and masks are in use, so you can rest assured that the steps we've taken to keep you safe truly make a difference.

4. Don't forget essential documents

We've made a list of travel requirements and restrictions for every destination that you can check twice, or as often as you need before your trip. Just visit united.com/travelrequirements to get the details on COVID-19 testing, health documents and other things you may need before you fly.

5. Wear your mask

You may not notice our smile behind our face covering, but you can be sure that we're appreciative of all our travelers who arrive to the airport with their mask on, and continue to wear it over their nose and mouth at all times in the airport and on board. Make sure you review our requirements for face coverings, including what an acceptable face covering looks like. Bonus points if your mask infuses some holiday cheer!

6. A better boarding process for your safety

If you haven't flown with us in a while, you might want to get familiar with our new boarding process. To make boarding even safer, we now have travelers board their aircraft from back to front. At the gate, just listen for your row number to be called – we'll ask a few rows at a time to board, starting with the last row of the plane. This helps everyone maintain a safe distance from each other during boarding without slowing things down. As you step onto the plane, flight attendants will hand each passenger a sanitizing towelette, which you can use to wipe down your seat to ensure it's extra clean.

7. Pack smart

Before packing your bags, check to see what exactly you can carry on and what you should plan to check. You can also copy your confirmation number into our Baggage Calculator tool to learn about the bag allowance included with your reservation, as well as the cost of checking any additional bags.

8. Check your flight status, important notices and weather

Check the United app regularly for the latest updates, weather conditions, flight status, gate and seat assignments. You can also visit our Important Notices page to find essential information and updates about travel waivers, international travel, TSA and security, airports and United Club locations.

9. Arrive early; avoid the stress

Airports can be busy, especially during the holidays. The TSA advises arriving at the airport two hours before your flight for domestic travel and three hours for international travel in anticipation of long security lines. This can help ease the stress when navigating busy check-in areas, security lines and crowded boarding gates.

10. Relax and enjoy your flight

Once you're on board, it's time to sit back and enjoy your flight. Our flight attendants will be happy to help you with anything else you need.

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