By Sgt. Logan Thomas
Earth Day – April 22 – marks the 50th anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. While people may not be able hold gatherings this year due to COVID-19 social-distancing guidelines, there are still actions that can be taken from home to support the environmental movement.
According to Earth Day Network, the global organizer of Earth Day, this year marks the first Digital Earth Day, a global digital mobilization to address the most urgent threats to people and the planet.
“At Earth Day Network, the health and safety of volunteers and participants in Earth Day events is our top concern,” said Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network. “Amid the recent outbreak, we encourage people to rise up but to do so safely and responsibly — in many cases, that means using our voices to drive action online rather than in person.”
Earth Day Network is making plans to develop a major global event coordinated across digital platforms and will be providing live coverage of events from its social media accounts. Two hashtags are being designated to unify and track the global conversation, #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE.
Online events planned include digital teach-ins by scientists and artists, as well as action ideas people can take from anywhere.
One way to get involved while being socially distanced is by learning more about the environment.
The National Education Association has published an Earth Day curriculum that has resources for projects to do from home, including hands-on activities like building an oven from a pizza box and various art projects. Their website also includes a list of online resources that teach more about the environment and things people can do to help. This list of resources can be found at http://www.nea.org/tools/lessons/earth-day-curriculum.html.
A way to get the word out about environmental activism from home is with a window sign.
Earth Day Network has a page dedicated to making window signs on their website. The page has example slogans and general guidelines on what to include. Their page can be found at https://www.earthday.org/actions/make-an-earth-day-window-sign/.
Another way to get involved is by calculating carbon footprints, comparing them with averages across the country and finding ways to reduce them while at home.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, many daily activities – such as using electricity, driving a car or disposing of waste – cause greenhouse gas emissions. Together these emissions make up a household’s carbon footprint.
Determining a carbon footprint can be done by using the calculator provided by the EPA.
Tools in the calculator also show how people can potentially save money by switching to LED lightbulbs or changing thermostat temperatures. The EPA carbon footprint calculator can be found at https://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator/.
Cleaning up the community is another way to get involved.
According to the Earth Day website, many cleanups are expected to be rescheduled for later in the year, in coordination with World Cleanup Day, National Cleanup Day and Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup. Individuals can get involved in their communities by going out to clean up while practicing social distancing.
The most up to date information about Earth Day 2020 can be found on the website, https://www.earthday.org/.