On April 22, 1970, millions of Americans took to the streets to highlight the importance of conservation in the United States. It proved to be a turning point for the nation; the first Earth Day was partially responsible for The Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts as well as the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency by Republican President Richard Nixon.
Now, 50 years later, Earth Day continues to be celebrated by nations across the world. But this year’s Earth Day will happen in a very different world than years prior. Due to the global pandemic, most people are staying home and the usual crowds that Earth Day festivities attract are simply not an option amid social distancing.
Fortunately, countless advocates are determined to stay positive, and in lieu of the regular festivities and gatherings, there are many other ways people can celebrate Earth Day this year.
First of all, check with your state and local authorities; outdoor enthusiasts (with proper social distancing) still have access to parks and trails in many states. If you have the opportunity, it can be a great chance for personal reflection as Earth Day turns 50.
For anyone who can’t make it outdoors this year, there are plenty of Earth Day celebrations that can be joined from the safety of your living room.
The National Park Service is offering “virtual visits” right now – a good time to take a look at some parks that are far from your home and perhaps plan a future visit.
In an effort to connect with people online, Earth Day Network will host Earth Day Live, a three-day event that will be live-streamed globally. Viewers can tune in to watch well-known celebrities and stars speak with top climate scientists on where the world and climate change stands in 2020.
“Whether it be coronavirus or our global climate crisis, we cannot shut down,” said Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network.” Instead, we must shift our energies and efforts to new ways to mobilize the world to action.”
The official Earth Day website also provides an interactive map that shows all of the digital Earth Day celebrations happening locally everywhere in the world.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that our own Heather Reams, CRES’s executive director, will be participating in a panel, “Charting a Bipartisan Path Forward,” on Thursday, April 23, at 4:40 PM EST during this year’s EarthxE-Capital Virtual Summit. The event is typically held in person, but it has been moved online this year to accommodate social distancing along with a number of other Earthx virtual events including a virtual film festival. All Earthx events are free to join, but registration is required.
Finally, if you are looking for something a little more unusual, why not join in an Earth Day celebration from above? NASA will post Earth Day activities and new content that shows the world as viewed by astronauts in space.
On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, CRES encourages people to celebrate the occasion digitally to remind ourselves that even while we are separated, we are all part of the same planet. Conservation is an ideal we must continue to champion, even as we stay at home.