April 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. Sadly, we’ll be physically apart, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate — in this case — a Virtual Earth Day.
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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 events.
- Earth Day Initiative will hold a three-day livestream where millions of people can join activists, celebrities, musicians, and more in an “epic moment of community and hope for the future.”
- Columbia University’s Earth Institute will host Earth Day 50/50: Looking Back, Moving Forward, a conversation exploring sustainable and resilient paths for the future.
- EarthX Conferences will open all its Earth Day conferences to the public, free of charge. Topics will include technology, law, women in the environment, energy, and the future.
- NASA has put together an Earth Day 50th Anniversary Toolkit, filled with activities, videos, and special programs to help you celebrate Earth Day at home.
- National Geographic‘s Virtual Earth Day activity is a safari adventure with your kids to inspire a love of nature and wildlife.
- 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.
- The Smithsonian is hosting Earth Optimism 2020, a free digital event that includes a number of activities, workshops, and panels with notable speakers.
- Yale Blue Green will commemorate Earth Day with a Conversation with Andrew Garling, one of the original organizers of Earth Day.
Encourage a love of nature with family members. If you’re stuck inside, try learning something new about the environment, watching movies, or reading books with environmental themes. For a more collaborative pursuit try one of the many virtual outdoor tours that have popped up.
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 climate action. Even if you’re housebound, you can do your part with an activity as simple as staying informed about climate change and other environmental issues.
Other ways to get involved 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.
- Take a personal Earth Day Daily Challenge, a 22-day series that allows people to connect through challenges to take action right now, and every day, for our planet.
- Join Earth Day Challenge 2020, the world’s largest citizen science initiative to gather critical environmental data near you.
- 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. Earth Day Online Race 2020 spreads awareness of the climate crisis and benefits Mercy Relief.
Create Some Green!
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.
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 it 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 the Green That Life 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.
- Learn more about the impact of waste — particularly, plastic waste – on the environment. Watch the global premiere of The Story of Plastic on Earth Day, 2 pm EST, on Discovery Channel. Another film worth watching is The Clean Bin Project about a Canadian couple’s attempt to live a waste-free life.
Vote for the Planet
One of the most important ways to get involved is to support and vote for candidates with strong environmental records. This Earth Day, speak out by participating in Vote Earth, a global initiative that encourages citizens to use their voting power to address the climate crisis, fight environmental problems and restore, conserve and protect the natural world.
To help you stay informed about the environmental records of elected officials, a few organizations have put together scorecards on presidential and congressional candidates. For local candidates, visit their campaign website, search for their record on environmental protection, or even contact them directly.
- The League of Conservation Voters’ national environmental scorecard has a searchable database of all presidential candidates and members of congress.
- Greenpeace provides a scorecard for the presidential candidates.
- Sierra Club chapters issue state-specific report cards for select states, including California, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Check your local chapter for reports.