By Malleana Ruffin, Social Media Manager
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. And while the earth deserves our collective celebration and engagement this year like any other, typical Earth Day activities, like concerts and rallies, community clean-ups, and environmental-based lessons in school aren’t possible. So, how do we keep the planet healthy and keep ourselves and others healthy, too?
On April 22, a number of .ORGs are offering innovative ways people can engage with one another, Earth Day, and the planet. Here are just a few of their many great ideas for individuals, businesses, students, and parents.
Take on the Environment, Online
Due to social distancing, many things that we typically do in-person have gone virtual, and Earth Day is no exception. You can still engage in environment-friendly social action this year with EarthDay.ORG’s 24 Hours of Action, a global digital mobilization that includes calls to action, performances, video-teach-ins, and more. Check out the many avenues for discussion and learning, and don’t forget to download the free Earth Challenge App, which empowers “citizen scientists” to monitor their local environment and offers cool tools and tips for environmental protection.
Make it Not Just Another Day at the Office
Gathering online with your coworkers rather than around the water cooler doesn’t mean you can’t join together in service together this Earth Day. EarthShare.ORG is one way to contribute with your team to help make the planet healthier. They connect influential environmental organizations with employers, people and communities to work on such issues as air quality, clean water, climate change, and preserving the land and wildlife.
Student Activists Can Lean in From a New Angle
Since its inception, high school and college-aged leaders have been integral to Earth Day activism. In fact, one such leader created the Student Conservation Association (theSCA.ORG) more than 60 years ago—a then 20-year-old Vassar student named Elizabeth Putnam. Since then, the organization has been bringing together student leaders to protect and restore America’s treasured natural spaces. SCA’s virtual Earth Day offerings will have student leaders buzzing with such activities as creating a pollinator habitat!
Teach Your Children Well—And Have Fun, Too!
As children learn from home, due to social distancing protocols, parents may wonder how best to educate their kids about the earth and celebrate Earth Day. Most kids love animals and learning about them is a terrific place to start. Watch an environmental documentary or animal show with your child and learn how humans can help protect endangered species. Many zoos and aquariums – like Zoo.SanDiegoZoo.ORG – also are offering free livestreams of your favorite animals, so tune in and get up close and personal these amazing creatures and their habitats. Budding environmentalists can also create eco-friendly art projects from recyclables for the EarthDay.ORG Artist Gallery, or observe nature and write a song, poem or story.
Plan a Plant-Based Feast
In this time of sheltering in place, many of us are cooking more than we ever have. Why not have an Earth Day Plant-Based Feast? Adopting a plant-based diet (like this one from OneGreenPlanet.ORG) has wide-ranging benefits for the planet, not to mention our bodies and taste buds. Make a commitment to “Meatless Mondays,” or whatever day, or meal, of the week you want—and make sure it’s delicious. Try these easy plant-based recipes, set the table, and set aside your worries for a bit, while you enjoy a meal and help the planet.
Make Your Home More Sustainable
There are many things to do in our own backyards (even if we don’t have them) to help the Earth this April 22. GlobalCitizen.ORG reveals how composting biodegradable food and materials helps feed the soil, its organisms, and plant life, while reducing waste. You can begin simply by creating a compost pile in your backyard or, if you live in an urban area, store vegetable, fruit and other natural scraps in a plastic bag in the freezer and then dump it when full at a compost collection place. You can also use whatever extra time you have at home right now to cultivate a garden, whether you are in a house or apartment home.
No matter how you celebrate Earth Day 2020, remember that you can make a difference from home for the planet we all call home. Happy Earth Day!