By Rebecca Fending
Happy Earth Day! Although the circumstances are not ideal for this global event, you can still observe the occasion without leaving your homestead. Whether you’re looking to make your home a little greener or simply just enjoy some time outside, here’s how you can make a difference with Earth Day.
Well, what is Earth Day?
Earth Day is a globally recognized day in which people are encouraged to both advocate for our planet and encourage each other to live in a way that’s more “green” or environmentally friendly for our Earth.
The history of the specific date of April 22 designates the “birth of the modern environmental movement” in 1970. With the help of several senators from across the United States, the idea of Earth Day was brought to life, but exclusively in our country. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin saw the intensity of the anti-war movement and wanted to integrate that same passion and call to action into the movement to end the environmental crisis.
As you can imagine, the spark of the idea of “Earth Day” took hold through college campuses throughout the states. Senator Nelson was strategic in placing the event during the week that fell between spring break and final exams so as to capitalize on students’ energy and academic scheduling freedom. With protests similar to those of the anti-war movement, Earth Day was in full swing.
It wasn’t until 1990 that Earth Day was accepted globally. 141 different countries engaged in various activities and educating themselves on the environment risks that threaten the health of the planet. Since then, the event has continued to influence hundreds of countries in an effort to unite people for the greater good of our home planet.
How can I celebrate from home?
Celebrating Earth Day from home is easier than ever before due to the organization’s digitization for this year. With the COVID-19 virus afoot, public health starts with caring for our immediate environment. This means that the organization encourages people to stay home and log on to their website in order to celebrate. However, since this is the big 50th anniversary of the event, there are no holds barred with this year’s celebration. Even with the coronavirus pandemic in full swing, environmental activism can’t be stopped.
According to the Earth Day website, the online celebration will, “fill the digital landscape with global conversations, calls to action, performances, video teach-ins and more.” The entertainment and conversation hosts include scientists like Dr. Sylvia Earle, Puerto Rican diplomat Christiana Figueres, previous U.S. Senator John Kerry and celebrities like Zac Efron. With 24 hours of packed and planned activities and entertainment, this Earth Day may be the largest yet.
How can I get my hands dirty?
Typically when people think of Earth Day they think getting on all fours and planting a whole garden or forest in one day. While you can definitely do this if you please, there are other simpler ways you can act in solidarity to help preserve our planet:
- Refrain from driving: Carbon emissions from our everyday vehicle trips add up; using one gallon of gasoline turns out 20 pounds of carbon dioxide in our immediate environment. Long term, these gallons pollute our air and wear away about our protective ozone layer.
- Reduce your waste: Challenge yourself and your household to see how little waste you can produce this Earth Day. For example, try to only consume foods that have little to no packaging. This could mean anything from going meatless to only using reusable glasses and cups. It’s up to you!
- Spread the word: Most everyone is looking for something new or different to do on the daily. Try talking to neighbors or friends about how they could help the environment by doing anything like composting, planting a new tree in the backyard or cutting back on their single-use plastic.
Ultimately, the purpose of Earth Day is simply to make people aware of what our planet needs and what we can do to help. Any gesture, no matter how big or small, means the world of difference. We’re learning more as a global community that most things in life require group effort. Whether it’s a viral or environmental pandemic, anything is able to be overcome.
Let us know how you’re planning on celebrating Earth Day in the comments below!