Earth Day 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of this holiday. Typically, Earth Day is assigned a different theme or area of focus each year. This year’s theme is Climate Action. Most years, Earth Day events range from river cleanups to invasive plant removals. Of course, things will look quite different this year, but nonetheless, Earth Day will remain impactful. With social distancing in place for many of us, Earth Day has gone digital. Here’s some information and steps on what you can do to celebrate the planet from the safety of your own home.
But first, here’s a history of how Earth Day came to exist. The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, with the simple goal of raising awareness about mankind’s role in protecting the planet. On this date, 20 million Americans ventured outdoors and protested in favor of a more environmentally aware society. Americans took to the streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way to advance our planet.
The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement and is now recognized as the planet’s largest civil event. In today’s day and age, it’s hard to believe a majority people were not aware of serious environment issues, such as air pollution, toxic dumps, pesticides and or deforestation. While Earth Day started out as more of a political movement, today it has become a popular day for many communities to gather and clean up litter, plant trees or just go outside.
With the theme being climate action this year, it remains a daunting task to approach climate change, yet with vast opportunities. The enormous challenge of action on climate change has distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary. Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.
This year, people must use all the tools and actions available, big and small, to make a change in our lives and our world. While the coronavirus may be forcing us to keep our distance, it cannot stop us from advocating for this holiday. On April 22, anyone can join for 24 hours of action in a global digital mobilization that drives actions big and small, giving many different voices a platform. This day will include calls to action, performances, video teach-ins and more. Though Earth Day may be going digital this year, the goal remains the same: to mobilize our planet to take action to make a difference.
There are many interactive, online options available to celebrate Earth Day. Natural History Museums and Parks and Recreational departments are offering entertaining activities for anyone on online. The American Museum of Natural History is providing workshops in botany and glacial physics, live round-the-world journey and watch party and a virtual flight to Venus and Mars. The Staten Island Museum is hosting an interactive science fair, and the Museum of the City of New York is hosting a celebration for younger children to teach the importance of recycling and climate change.
Though Earth Day is falling amidst some tough times, strong action can and will still take place. There are so many ways to celebrate this holiday, starting with something as simple as going outside and enjoying nature.