It’s been two years since the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day and over two years since the start of this devastating global pandemic. Although it has kept us apart physically, the pandemic hasn’t stopped Virtual Earth Day celebrations. As we emerge from the ravages of the pandemic, there will be opportunities for in-person events, but there are still Virtual Earth Day activities to keep us all safe.
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Virtual Earth Day Activities
Virtual Earth Day celebrations are happening all over the globe. Check your local news and social media platforms for local celebrations, but national organizations are also getting involved. Here are just a few of the many Virtual Earth Day activities and celebrations that you can “attend” from the comfort of your couch:
- The Earth Day organization provides a global map of Virtual Earth Day and in-person events. Want to plan your own virtual event? The organization’s guide to planning a digital event has everything you need.
- Earth Day Live webinar on March 31 at 12PM ET, will feature several youth activists who will discuss the importance of addressing plastic pollution worldwide, how they created change in their community, and how others can get involved in the solution.
- Earth Day Initiative’s Earth Day 2022 will feature an Earth Day 2022 Virtual Stage that will broadcast live from New York City, as well as stream-in participants from around the world. The incredible line-up of presentations, performances, and speakers–Bill McKibben, Karen Washington, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, to name a few–will explore climate activism, sustainable solutions, and community building around environmental issues.
- Environmental Working Group is hosting a live Earth Day Celebration on April 22, 5 – 6pm PT that will broadcast a variety of real-life stories on topics ranging from PFAS pollution to the impact of food and agriculture on the climate. Speakers include Senator Cory Booker and actress Michelle Pfeiffer.
- NASA put together an Earth Day 50th Anniversary Toolkit in 2020, but the activities and videos are still timely. For Earth Day 2022 virtual activities and resources, visit NASA’s Earth Day 2022 page.
- The Sierra Club has put together nature-inspired activities for all to join, including art classes, eco-conscious cooking, regenerative gardening, sing-alongs, and calls to action.
Earth Day-themed Films, Documentaries, and Shows
Add a documentary or movie to your Virtual Earth Day activities. These selections will inform and inspire:
- PBS and Frontline have compiled a selection of their extraordinary reporting on environmental and climate topics. A Decade of Documentaries on Climate Change & Other Environmental Threats is some of the best in-depth coverage of climate change and other environmental threats that you will find.
- Environmental Film Festival’s Earth Day Encores will present encore screenings from April 21 through April 24 of their DCEFF30 Audience Award winners and six Forum conversations. All programs are free.
- One Earth Film Festival is planning an Earth Week Mini Film Fest, April 18 – 24 that will include films and related discussions.
- Check out the Sundance Institute’s documentary recommendations, along with these picks from Ethical Choice.
- Make sure to add Don’t Look Up–the 2021 Netflix drama about climate change–to your watch list.
- Disney+ has announced a new slate of movies that will be released on Earth Day.
- Earthx has a dedicated TV channel that features live and on-demand original series and award-winning documentaries. If you like what you see, make a date to attend the Earthx Film Festival, in person or virtually.
Learn Something New: Earth Day-themed Reading
Encourage a love of nature with family members from the comfort of your couch! Check out Green That Life’s section on Green Explainers, or grab a book and head outside with one or more of these selections:
- 10 Earth Day Books
- 10 Best Books on Climate Change
- Green That Life’s picks of environmental non-fiction include eco-classics, waste reduction, food, consumerism, environmental justice, green and healthy gardening, and conservation.
- Green That Life’s picks of environmental fiction for adults and children.
- Stay current on the latest environmental news with these periodicals and podcasts.
Get Outside — Virtually and Literally
Get outside — virtually. For a more collaborative pursuit try one of the many virtual outdoor tours that have popped up.
- National Parks. Google Arts & Culture has created virtual tours of five gorgeous national parks: Kenai Fjords, Hawaii Volcanoes, Carlsbad Caverns, Bryce Canyon, and Dry Tortugas. You can also take virtual tours of Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Everglades.
- Virtual Dives. National Marine Sanctuaries allows you to immerse yourself in the ocean and your national marine sanctuaries without getting wet! The virtual reality voyages use 360-degree images to highlight the amazing habitats, animals, and cultural resources you can find in each national marine sanctuary.
- Zoos. A number of zoos offer virtual tours and live webcam viewings of their animals. Check out Atlanta Zoo’s panda cam, the Houston Zoo, the Georgia Aquarium, the San Diego Zoo, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
- Birdwatching webcams. Check out the Sierra Club’s list. You’ll be set to vicariously enjoy springtime migrations.
- Field Trips. Take a field trip with Discovery to see polar bears in their Arctic habitat. The site includes pre- and post-viewing activities along with a polar bear chat Q&A. You can also try a farm field trip, this one in Canada!
- Historic Sites and Parks. The New York Landmarks Conservancy has a terrific set of videos on New York City treasures, including colonial landmarks, parks, sacred sites, and historic houses.
Get outside — literally. If you have an opportunity to get outside, make being outdoors as natural as hanging out inside. Whether it’s eating, playing, lounging, or boating, so many of these activities can be enjoyed outdoors. There’s an added benefit to being outdoors: It’s good for your health. Studies show that people who spend at least 120 minutes per week outside report better health and psychological well-being.
Help Out Mother Earth
Now that you’ve celebrated Earth Day and nature, take some time to give back to Mother Earth. Fittingly, the theme of this year’s Earth Day is “restore our earth.” Even if you’re not attending an Earth Day event, you can do your part with an activity as simple as staying informed about climate change and other environmental issues.
Other ways to take climate action include showing your support for an environmental cause or making a donation to an environmental organization. Here are some additional, Earth-Day-related, activities:
- VolunteerMatch, the world leader in volunteerism has compiled hundreds of volunteer opportunities that can be accomplished from home or locally.
- Join Earth Day Challenge, the world’s largest citizen science initiative to gather critical environmental data near you. Through a mobile app, this initiative helps monitor and mitigate threats to environmental and human health.
- Advocate from home by making an Earth Day Window Sign that shows your support and encourages your neighbors to take action with you.
- Help clean up Mother Earth by participating in the Great Global Cleanup. This year, help by volunteering to do an individual cleanup.
- Run (or walk) for our earth by taking part in one of the many virtual running events. For races, check here, here, here, and here.
Create Some Green!
Make your green spaces healthy. Now that spring is here, consider planting an indoor or outdoor healthy yard, using natural remedies for combating pests while feeding the soil and plants with natural fertilizers and soil amendments.
Go wild for rewilding. Rewilding is a managed process for transforming your yard into a natural oasis that wildlife and people can enjoy. Rethink your definition of a beautiful yard and rewild your open spaces for all! Learn how to rewild your yard here.
Plant a vegetable garden. If you’re game for starting a vegetable garden, get some free advice from legendary chef Alice Waters. A huge believer in “garden therapy,” Waters walks you through the steps to creating your own edible garden.
Reduce the Waste (Including Food)
Even if you’re stuck at home you can help the planet by making a concerted effort to reduce the waste you and your family generate. This accumulation of waste not only pollutes the environment but also poses health problems, from contaminated water to increasing carbon emissions.
- Reduce. Begin your campaign to reduce waste in the home by reducing your use of single-use disposable items. Pick one to eliminate and then try to add a few more to your waste-reduction plan.
- Reuse. Check out Green That Life’s Spring Cleaning post to learn how to re-purpose old items and donate responsibly.
- Recycle what’s left, but recycle right. Learn how to avoid wish-cycling and recycle responsibly.
- Recycle your Food. Food waste is a huge waste. For more on why, and to learn how to whittle your food waste, see Green That Life‘s post on the topic. Then, try your hand at backyard composting. Learn how to with Green That Life’s composting guide.
- Learn more about the impact of waste — particularly, plastic waste – on the environment. A film worth watching is The Clean Bin Project about a Canadian couple’s attempt to live a waste-free life.
Support Green Causes With Your Wallet
Donate to a worthy green cause. A simple way to support the environment from your home is to make a donation to a green group. Before you open your wallet, do a background check on the intended recipient to ensure that it is a legitimate environmental entity.
Go shopping! Celebrate virtual Earth Day with online purchases that benefit both you and the planet! Green That Life’s post on Green Gifts for Good includes gift ideas from green organizations that will suit any person and any occasion. You might even find something for yourself!
Invest in environmentally and socially responsible businesses and enterprises. Earth Day 2022’s theme is “Invest in Our Planet”. To that end, take inventory of any investments and divest from those that are not climate or planet-friendly. Investopedia and Green America are two resources that provide lists of socially responsible financial planners and investment consultants.
Even if you don’t have any investments, Earth Day is a good reminder to take stock of your purchasing habits, favoring eco-friendly brands while avoiding those that aren’t or may engage in greenwashing tactics.
Vote for the Planet
One of the most important ways to get involved is to support and vote for candidates with strong environmental records. Your ability to vote has the potential to effect substantive change in addressing the climate crisis. But it can only happen if you vote!
Knowing where your state and local candidates stand on environmental issues is critical. Take a few minutes to visit candidate campaign websites and search for their record on environmental protection. You can even contact the candidates directly to ask their views on environmental policy and push for change.
For more details on how to vote and who to vote for, see Green That Life’s Voter Guide, which is packed with voter information and resources.