Did you know that this Wednesday, April 22, marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day?
As noted by the Earth Day Network, “On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans — 10% of the U.S. population at the time — took to the street, college campuses, and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet.”
This movement led to the passage of critical environmental laws in the U.S. including the Clean Air, Clear Water, and Endangered Species Acts, with many countries following suit.
But now, “despite that amazing success and decades of environmental progress, we find ourselves facing an even more dire, almost existential, set of global environmental challenges, from loss of biodiversity to climate change to plastic pollution, that call for action at all levels of government,” said Denis Hayes, the organizer of the first Earth Day in 1970 and Earth Day Network’s Board Chair Emeritus.
And, on top of all this, we are of course in the middle of a global pandemic so Earth Day will be a little different ths year. But there are still plenty of things you and your family can do to celebrate – and even help. Here are a few ideas and resources for you:
- The Recycling Partnership has several great coloring sheets and a scavenger hunt you can do with your kids here
- In the words of the Earth Day Network, “Earth Day is going digital for the first time in its history, and it needs your help now more than ever.” Learn more about how you can volunteer.
- Interested in citizen science? Earth Challenge 2020 seeks to be the world’s largest ever coordinated citizen science campaign. See how you can help monitor and mitigate threats to environmental and human health in your community.
- NASA will air an Earth Day episode of “NASA Science Live” featuring experts exploring important discoveries about our home planet, advances in green technology and aircraft, and a new interactive app to let anyone at home help NASA map coral reefs around the world. The program airs at 3 p.m. on NASA TV, YouTube Premiere, Facebook Watch Party and Periscope/Twitter.
- NASA Earth Science experts have also recorded a series of short videos on a wide range of topics, from scientific advances since the first Earth Day to research expeditions in the air and on the ground. Check out Earth Science Video Talks on their YouTube channel.
- Looking for an Earth Day-themed toolkit for students? Try these: Earth Day Tool Kit and NASA's Earth Day 2020 50th Anniversay Toolkit
- Download a FREE Where Does My Garbage Go? Coloring book courtesy of the NWRA’s Women’s Council
- Take a visual walk through the history of this special day on its 50th anniversary
- Watch an interview, “Earth Day Then & Now” with co-founder of Earth Day
And, of course, don’t forget to thank the #EverydayHeroes in your community who are working hard for the planet every day of the year, picking up your trash and recycling, or serving in another way.
Earth Day may be digital this year, but we’re all in this together—perhaps more so than ever. Let us know how you’ll be commemorating this movement’s 50th birthday.