April 22nd, 2020, marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the annual celebration of the environmental movement. In 1970, according to EarthDay.org, about 20 million Americans assembled to demand greater attention to the protection of the planet. Since then, activists around the world have gathered each year to mark the day.
Ironically, this year’s Earth Day is taking place during one of the most widespread and deadly pandemics the world has seen for generations. As a result, any gatherings or other in-person events have had to be canceled — but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the occasion while sheltering in place.
There are over a thousand different programs from all over the world listed on the Earth Day website. Unless stated otherwise, all take place on Wednesday, April 22nd. A sample includes:
A range of activists, along with entertainment and political celebrities, will offer discussions, performances, teach-ins, and suggestions for action on the office website of the Earth Day movement. This will take place for 24 hours. Participants include Pope Francis, Steve Ballmer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Dave Matthews.
This is a program of 10 short animated films by professional animators, college students, and children, all from the Pacific Northwest and curated by artist and animator Marilyn Zornado. They will be available starting 8AM ET on April 22nd through 8PM ET on Sunday, April 26th.
An “international telematic festival” featuring live performances by a variety of multimedia artists will start at 8PM ET on Tuesday, April 21st, and continue through Wednesday, April 22nd, at 8PM ET.
In a World Earth Day Sculpture Challenge, Jupiter Artland and the Centre for Interaction Design at Edinburgh Napier University is inviting young people to explore sculptures by professional artists and build their own sculptures. The winning design will join Jupiter’s permanent collection.
This seven-minute YouTube event, described as “a meditative study of the seemingly infinite nature of space and natural physical structure,” will take place on Wednesday at 3PM ET.
The UVM Environmental Program and the Gund Institute will sponsor a talk by Nalini Nadkarni, the pioneer of tree canopy ecology, from 4:30 to 6:30PM.
National Geographic is encouraging kids to start their own safaris by creating artwork featuring their favorite animals (there are resources on the website) and then hanging their art out so that others can see them from their windows or as they (safely) walk around the neighborhood.
This is only a very small sampling. There is a wide range of other events happening — for example, invitations for children to send in art or to participate in sing-alongs, classes about rooftop gardens in Nepal, and a climate workshop for students in Belarus.
To find something you may be interested in joining, you can visit the Earth Day 2020 event page where you can either click on an event on a world map or page through a calendar of events. You can also filter the events by type, age group, and language, or (if you haven’t yet) add an event of your own.