50th anniversary of Earth Day

April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

In 1970, a bold show of support for defending our public health from the effects of pollution coalesced around like-minded conservative and progressive lawmakers, who were alarmed by deteriorating environmental conditions. Teaming up with student activists, they organized demonstrations and “teach-ins” that would eventually become Earth Day — a worldwide movement that would bring in environmental stakeholders, faith groups and other community organizations. In the end, it was the common cause of public health (and the long-term impacts that 150 years of industrial development was having on it) that brought so many disparate groups together.

Despite this momentous milestone, 2020 is also a year of great public health concern and precautionary social distancing, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has caused most Earth Day celebrations and cleanups to be postponed or cancelled.

Even though we can’t come together to celebrate as planned, there are still ways to be involved in Earth Day 2020 from home. Here are a few ideas from Recyclespot.org:

  • Head online to participate in virtual workshops, seminars and lectures. Earth Day Live will live stream activists, performers, thought leaders and artists throughout the day.
  • Take a virtual field trip with videos and live feeds from your local zoo.
  • Spend time outside and stroll through your favorite green space (while practicing social distancing).
  • Observe nature with websites and apps like iNaturalist that help you identify plants and animals in your neighborhood.
  • Visit EarthDay.org for family craft ideas, and take in some inspiration right outside your front door.
  • Watch a nature video or documentary on your favorite streaming service. You can also rent a digital library book about an environmental issue.
  • Pick up litter around your neighborhood or a local park. Lace up your sneakers and turn it into exercise by going on a “plog“. Be careful to maintain a safe distance and to use a grabber or wear gloves and a mask.
  • Help your local pollinators by building a bee condo or by planting a wildflower garden.
  • Celebrate Arbor Day on Friday by planting a tree. Find out more at the Arbor Day Foundation website.
  • Help accelerate scientific breakthroughs through volunteer participation at Citizen Science.
  • Calculate your carbon footprint at EPA.gov.
  • Visit Recyclespot.org and get acquainted with your garbage. Learn how to recycle better and conduct your own home waste audit.