5 New Emoji That Hype the Environment

By Faran Krentcil, Fact checked by Jessica Ochoa

3 min read


New emojis are always cause for celebration, especially because with each of their software updates, these little graphics get even more inclusive, specific, sweet, and sometimes wacky. (This jellyfish wind chime thing🎐why?)

The newest batch of (literally) iconic data hits iPhones this week, with 120 new graphic possibilities, including heart hands, a disco ball, a troll, and 12 tiny pregnant people wearing what we can only assume is a new SKIMS collection.

There are also five new emojis from the natural world, and each of them has something vital to tell us about helping the planet…


It may look like a gorgeous ocean tree, but don’t be fooled: Because it doesn’t produce its own food, coral is considered an animal and not a plant. Native to warm waters in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, coral is an essential part of ocean health and marine biodiversity. That’s because over 25% of marine life lives inside coral reefs, they protect shorelines from erosion and flooding, and even provide scientists with material for bone grafts and research. Because coral is hyper-sensitive to temperature, ocean warming has “bleached”—or deadened—about 14% of the world’s coral reefs in the past 15 years alone. Because we have the chance to help regenerate those reefs through conservation, reforestation, and greenhouse gas reduction, the coral emoji is a major symbol of why we should help the planet, and how there’s still hope to regrow a future where all kind can thrive.


In folktales, these blue eggs are a sure sign of spring. IRL, not so much, since robins are such adaptable birds, they can breed in warmer or cooler climates. (Just ask the Wild Elements members in frigid Boston MA and arid Austin TX, who report the little chirpers are all over their lawns.) Wherever they are, robins support their ecosystems as omnivores, eating berries and scattering their seeds and controlling insect populations by snacking on bugs and worms, while serving as prey for hawks, foxes, and owls. Healthy robin eggs often indicate healthy soil and plants, and seeing them in the wild is considered very good luck. (But please don’t touch them!)


Don’t be sad! An empty nest may connotate loneliness, but it means baby birds (or human kids) have successfully grown into healthy, independent adults ready to make their own way in the world. That’s great news for birds who spend the majority of spring readying their chicks to (literally) fly the coop. 


Also called the Indian Lotus, this aquatic flower is amazing. Its roots help filter pollution out of the water; it can regulate the temperature of its flower petals, and its seeds can survive for millennia. (In 1994, scientists planted a Sacred Lotus plant from around 600 A.D. and it grew just fine.) The Sacred Lotus is a symbol of survival and the beauty of endurance, and a reminder that below every Insta-friendly blossom is a network of strong and protective roots. 


Okay, the emoji is a little goofy, but kidney beans are actually great. Easy to grow and affordable to buy, these legumes have so much natural protein that just ½ a cup of them gives you the same nutritional value as 1 oz. of animal meat. Sub them for beef in chili, tacos, and even burgers like Martha Stewart does, and know your meal is great tasting, great for your body, and even better for the health of the planet.