50 years ago, the modern environmental movement was born. Earth Day was founded with bipartisan support to bring together Americans and their shared desire for environmental stewardship, but also to demand governmental environmental protections to ensure Americans could enjoy a healthy country in the present and for the future. Americans came together and made an incredible impact: the EPA was born in 1970. Plus, all this happened:
In 1970, there was “the passage of other first of their kind environmental laws, including the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Air Act. Two years later Congress passed the Clean Water Act. A year after that, Congress passed the Endangered Species Act and soon after the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. These laws have protected millions of men, women and children from disease and death and have protected hundreds of species from extinction.” –EarthDay.org
Pretty inspiring, right? The story of the first Earth Day proves we can make a difference when we come together.
Though the energy and excitement around Earth Day has been hindered due to COVID-19, many major celebrations are moving online to celebrate virtually, utilizing music, speakers, workshops, and more to educate and inspire action. There are also many other ways for us to celebrate Earth Day and put our environmental stewardship into action.
Here are ways to take the spirit of Earth Day and celebrate this year:
- Participate in the Earth Day 50 Virtual Kick-Off from March for Science NYC and Earth Day Initiative. Today!
- Celebrate Earth Day Live with virtual teach-ins, music, workshops, and more. From 4/22 – 4/24.
- Join Fashion Revolution for Fashion Revolution Week 2020. From 4/20 – 4/26.
- Learn about electric vehicles with Drive Electric Earth Day on 4/22 with Sierra Club.
- Celebrate Earth Week with March for Science, now through 4/26.
- Celebrate National Park Week, now through 4/26.
- Celebrate National Environmental Education Week with eco-activities and lessons for teachers and parents. From 4/20 – 4/24.
- Learn about solar energy with a free workshop on 4/21.
- Tune in for an Earth Day Storytelling Slam on 4/22, organized by Climate Generation.
- Take a compost workshop with LA Compost on 4/22 and 4/23.
- Join the Wet’suwet’en Solidarity Digital Blockade on 4/23. RSVP on Facebook. On the morning of 4/23, the organizing groups will be in touch with online tools to email, call, and tweet at KKR to tell them to respect Indigenous rights.
- Experience a virtual electric vehicle ride and drive on 4/23 with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Electrify the South.
- Explore what your local organizations are doing for Earth Day. Many groups/organizations are hosting workshops this week to connect. Check your organization’s latest newsletter, website, or social media to see what’s happening.
- Check out what your local environmental groups are doing to celebrate and inspire action. Example: San Diego groups are coming together for Climate Uprising SD and Davis groups are coming together for Climate Strike Davis.
- Explore Earth Day events registered through EarthDay.org.
- Support your local restaurants, especially restaurants that focus on sustainability like ocean friendly restaurants, restaurants prioritizing organic and local ingredients, etc.
- Follow your representatives on social media and/or subscribe to their newsletters.
- Support your local farmers with a CSA membership.
- Explore activities and resources from #EarthDayatHome with NASA.
- Support local businesses by buying local instead of Amazon or elsewhere.
- Sign up to volunteer for an organization. Ideas: find your local 350 chapter, Sunrise Movement chapter, Citizens’ Climate Lobby chapter.
- Clean with eco-friendly, nontoxic products. Look for zero waste cleaning options to reduce your packaging waste.
- Open your windows to get fresh air in your space.
- Register to vote. Are you registered? Has your address changed since you last voted? Search “register to vote” and your state to get the online voter registration page.
- Join a text banking group (example: Greenpeace has a volunteer group).
- Watch The Story of Plastic on Discovery Channel or host a screening.
- Connect with climate buddies to check in and help keep each other motivated.
- Look into sustainable fashion companies so when you need a new purchase, you’ll know where to buy it from.
- Spend 10 minutes looking out the window. Pause to experience the sights, sounds, and sensations around you.
- Do a citizen science project. iNaturalist is a good place to start.
- Write to your reps with easy online submission pages from environmental organizations. Submit here, here, and here.
- Learn about one important political issue. Ideas: Green New Deal, carbon pricing, renewable energy, environmental justice. Bonus: write a social media post about it to share what you learned.
- Read a climate book.
- Donate to an organization or a cause.
- Buy secondhand, even when buying online (think ThredUp, etsy, or even the “buy used” option on Amazon).
- If you go for a walk, pick up a few pieces of trash along the way.
- Learn about the history of Earth Day.
- Watch a climate-related documentary.
- Do a zero waste craft. Simple prompt: use one piece of trash/recycling material and create something.
- Follow organizations doing great work.
- Compost. Compost on your own or find a composting company to work with.
- Take a quiz to learn your eco-footprint.
- Find a climate mentor. It’s fun to have people to look up to and inspire us to do great work. Think about people you know or bigger names (celebrities or influencers) doing powerful things for our planet. Learn more about what they do and let it inspire you in your own climate activist journey.
- Take Climate 101 from Grist.
- Share an Earth Day post. Suggestion: share the great events happening at the beginning of this list.
- Craft your climate story.
- Host your own Earth Day gathering. Invite friends and family to hang out online and talk about ways you want to get involved in the future. Bonus: prep a 10 minute talk about why it’s important to get involved.
- Do a walking meditation or Earth Day meditation.
- Write a letter or email to your representatives about a local issue. A good resource for what issues to write about and email templates: your local 350 chapter.
- Go vegetarian or vegan for a day. Experiment with a new recipe or two to see how easy and delish plant-based eating can be.
So how are you going to celebrate Earth Day? Commit to getting involved after Earth Day as well. This is how the real change happened after Earth Day 1970, and it’s how we’ll all make a real impact moving forward…by working together.
Photo credit: Chris Boese