April 22nd, 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. Although the pandemic kept us physically apart, it didn’t stop Virtual Earth Day celebrations.
As we slowly emerge from the ravages of the pandemic, there will be opportunities for socially-distanced, masked in-person events, but there are still Virtual Earth Day activities to keep us all safe.
Table of Contents
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. Want to plan your own virtual event? The organization’s guide to planning a digital event has everything you need.
- Earth Day Initiative’s Virtual Earth Day 2021 provides a space online for attendees to learn from environmental organizations and sustainable businesses, and connect with one another. Kickoff of Earth Week begins April 18.
- One Earth Film Festival is planning an Earth Week Mini Film Fest, April 19 – 25 that will include films and related discussions.
- EarthX will open its Earth Day events, including EarthxFilm Festival 2021, to the public, free of charge. The virtual celebration will include environmental and conservation leaders from a wide range of disciplines and interests who represent a broad spectrum of initiatives and efforts around the globe.
- NASA put together an Earth Day 50th Anniversary Toolkit last year, but the activities and videos are still timely. For Earth Day 2021 virtual programs and activities, visit NASA’s Earth Day 2021 page.
- National Geographic‘s Virtual Earth Day 2021 events include a docuseries on whales, which will premiere on Disney+. In addition, Mayo Performing Arts Center will present a Nat Geo Live Virtual Earth Day lecture by award-winning photographer and filmmaker Andy Mann: From Summit to Sea on April 22. The event is free.
- 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 2021, a free digital event that includes a number of activities, workshops, and panels with notable speakers.
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 “restore our earth.” 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 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.
- 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, 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, 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!
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.