How to celebrate the 50th annual Earth Day from home
This year’s may be the most important Earth Day since its inception and we can’t miss out on the opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come, how far we have to go, and what we need to do to get there.
This Earth Day, like every other day for the last two months, feels different. We’re not holding our typical celebrations nor encouraging crowds to meet up and clean up. But this year may be the most important Earth Day since its inception and we can’t miss out on the opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come, how far we have to go, and what we need to do to get there.
The first Earth Day was held in 1970 to increase the public’s awareness of ecological issues and to put the environment on the national political agenda – permanently. It seemed to work. Before the year was over the Environmental Protection Agency was officially authorized by Congress, and the the next few years saw the passage of both the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. We had lofty goals and the political will to see them through. As the years wore on, priorities shifted and the once powerful push for environmental protections waned as industry pressures grew. Environmentalism remained a ‘radical’ ideology rather than an ecological reality as the economy chugged along wearing blinders. Now, on its 50th anniversary, we celebrate an Earth Day in which the Environmental Protection Agency has suspended enforcement of its environmental laws indefinitely.
These are indeed unprecedented times. At moments, our environmental, medical, economic, and social challenges can feel insurmountable. Thankfully there are still those ‘radical’ environmentalists who have found it within themselves to not only maintain their momentum amidst the pandemic but charge full steam ahead and make great strides toward a sustainable future for our local and global communities. We all have a little ‘radical’ environmentalist within us, so this year let us celebrate community action and our own daily practices that help move the needle toward a healthier and more sustainable future for us all.
Ways you can make a difference while celebrating close to home:
Join a Community Group
Take the pledge and help your community make a difference by reaching out to one of the groups listed below. If you can’t find one near you, consider banding together (virtually) to create one! Any of the groups below would be more than happy to help you get started.
- Bedford2020 (http://bedford2020.org/) Community engagement, education, and the creation of grassroots support for climate change projects have been the focus of Bedford 2020 since its creation in 2010. They are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making a difference through community programs that span five action areas, including Energy Efficiency/Renewable Energy, Food & Agriculture, Transportation, Waste & Recycling, and Water & Land Use. They take a “petri dish” approach to developing and piloting projects in the Greater Bedford community that are replicated and expanded in Westchester County and beyond.
- Croton100 (https://croton100.org/) Croton100 is an all-volunteer community-based organization that seeks to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in Croton-on-Hudson, NY (zip code 10520), to net zero by 2040. Their goal is 5% reduction per year from 2020 to 2040. They look to achieve this goal through a combination of advocacy, education, and campaigns to help Croton residents choose a lifestyle with zero or lower emissions. Visit their website today to take the pledge and find out when their next volunteer meeting is being held (via video conference).
- Yorktown100 (https://yorktown100.org/) Yorktown100 is an all-volunteer community-based organization that seeks to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in Yorktown, NY (zip code 10598), to net zero by 2040. Their goal is a 5% reduction per year from 2020 to 2040. They look to reach this goal through a combination of advocacy, education, and campaigns to help Yorktown residents choose a lifestyle with zero or lower emissions. Visit their website today to take the pledge and learn more.
- Green Ossining (https://www.greenossining.org/) Green Ossining works to promote environmental sustainability community-wide and develop practical methods that protect our natural resources. They aim to create a forum for those in the community that are concerned about the environment, explore and prioritize sensible “green” methods and practices, and identify ways to promote “green” methods and practices.
Participate in the Earth Challenge 2020 Citizen Science Project
Earth Challenge 2020 seeks to be the world’s largest ever coordinated citizen science campaign. Using mobile technology and open citizen science data, Earth Challenge 2020 empowers people around the world to monitor and mitigate threats to environmental and human health in their communities.
Check out EarthDay.org’s 24 Hours of Action
Go digital and find an event (or seven) that’s right for you. You can even filter your search by event type and age group to find something you’ll be most interested in.
Pledge to Vote Earth
Also by the Earth Day Network, Vote Earth encourages citizens everywhere to use their voting power to address the climate crisis, fight environmental problems and restore, conserve and protect the natural world.
Comment on the Federal Register
Click here to view a list of environmental rules and regulations the federal government has proposed. You can leave a comment on active proposals right from your computer or smart phone.
Have a Movie Night for the Earth
For the entire week of Earth Day and in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22 — One Earth Film Festival invite you to participate in One Earth Film Fest’s Earth Week Virtual Mini Film Festival, in partnership with the City of Chicago. Register for one or more FREE screenings, watch a film in community online, then discuss with experts via live chat on Zoom.
Emotions running high? Anxiety and stress making the thought of staring at a screen for one more moment intolerable? Channel your feelings into a creative outlet. Write a song about earth day, draw your favorite windowsill plant, dance to a song about the earth, or settle into a grassy (and socially distanced) area for some meditation and reflection.
However you celebrate Earth Day this year, remember that taking care of ourselves and our environment are one and the same
About the Author
Nadya Hall, Community Environmentalist
Nadya has her master’s in environmental policy with a focus on human-wildlife coexistence. She is passionate about the conservation of wildlife and wild places through science, advocacy, and environmental education.