Earth Day 2020: An Earth Day for the (Digital) Ages
Despite the Covid-19 global pandemic, millions of people around the globe are still expected to come together in support of our planet on Wednesday, April 22nd to celebrate 50 years of Earth Day in 2020!
The original Earth Day in 1970 came at a time when the American public found itself face-to-face with an historic pollution crisis, decades in the making, after images of the Lake Erie Fire and Santa Barbara oil spill jolted the country awake from its environmental slumber. Since then, the Earth Day movement has evolved into a global phenomenon that has pushed environmentalism to the forefront of the public consciousness.
Fifty years later, we find ourselves again facing unprecedented danger. The coronavirus pandemic has paralyzed the world and is keeping us isolated from one another. But now, more than ever, we desperately need the collective power of Earth Day to sound the alarm of an impending climate change disaster that threatens the whole planet and all life on it. So through technology, innovative thinking, and the same resilient spirit of 50 years ago, we will stand united in making Earth Day 2020 one for the ages!
Why Earth Day Is So Important!
Earth Day has become arguably the most effective tool in raising global awareness about the plight of the planet. It is now the largest secular event in the world, with an estimated 1 billion people in over than 190 countries participating in lively rallies, large outdoor activities and group projects, and solution-seeking conferences to take place all across the globe. Earth Day represents a worldwide environmental awakening that profoundly shapes the way we interact with the environment.
Earth Day Promotes Greener Laws
Prior to 1970, industrial and municipal waste was directly pumped into our air and dumped into our waters with reckless abandon, and negligent business practices had essentially no governmental oversight, at times resulting in environmental disasters. But thanks to the efforts of the original Earth Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was formed, and the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Endangered Species Acts were eventually created, and the results speak for themselves.
Cleaner Air – Since 1980, total emissions of the six major pollutants dropped more than 60%
Cleaner Water – Prior to the Clean Water Act of 1972, only one-third of American water was deemed safe for swimming or fishing, compared to about two-thirds today.
Cleaner Land – Since 1980, tens of billions of dollars have been invested in cleaning up hazardous waste sites across the country.
Earth Day continues to be instrumental in exposing the need for governmental regulations and community action to protect the environment against the destructive consequences of manmade pollution.
Earth Day Encourages a Greener Market
Using clean energy sources (such as solar and wind) instead burning fossil fuels helps cut down on greenhouse gases from polluting the air, and has the potential to be game changer in our fight against climate change. For years, Earth Day discussions have focused a bright spotlight on the benefits of clean power and this has helped to slowly steer the energy market in a greener direction. Clean, renewable energy continues to gain ground year after year with solar paneling and wind turbines becoming increasingly visible around the country, thanks to the efforts of Earth Day.
Individual action is the lifeblood of the green movement, and Earth Day helps remind us that each environmentally responsible decision we make is significant to the “collective impact” we can create together. This message of self-empowerment has given rise to plastic-free & zero waste lifestyles. It comes as no surprise that, in recent years, we have seen existing companies adopt more planet-friendly practices as new green enterprises continue to pop up across the market. There are more nature-friendly, sustainable products available now more than ever!
5 Ways To Safely Celebrate Earth Day 2020:
- Join EARTHRISE Online - With the Covid-19 pandemic currently bringing the world to a virtual standstill, the Earth Day Network has proactively moved their activities online! Their 24-hour “global digital mobilization” project called EARTHRISE will show how you can drive environmental action from the comfort of your home.
- Become a Citizen Scientist – Use your phone to make an impact by downloading the Earth Challenge 2020 app, available for Apple or Android. By collecting data on six environmental focus areas, you can be a part of the “world’s most accessible and transparent citizen science database portal ever created!”
- Create a Compost Pile – In the midst of a pandemic, freezer space becomes quite valuable. If you tend to store compostable scraps in your freezer to be dropped off/picked up later, now might be the perfect time to create your own backyard compost system that you can use to fertilize your plants & trees. Read our composting blog here to learn more.
- Do a Plastic Audit – With many of us practicing social distancing & self-isolation, now is a great time to do a plastic audit of your home. Go from room to room in your house and pay close attention to single-use, disposal plastic items or other products that you can easily replace with a zero waste alternatives. Below are some examples of sustainable swaps from Zero Waste Store that will help you reduce your plastic footprint.
- Connect with Nature (if your area allows) – Turn off your TV and computer screen. Put your phone down. Free yourself from electronic distractions. Find a quiet beach, a secluded forest, or an open meadow and simply reconnect with the earth. Our environmental work is far from over, but what better way is there to celebrate 50 years of Earth Day than simply taking a moment to enjoy the results of 50 years of hard work?