Earth Day In The Age Of Social Distancing: How To Join In From Home
Since 1970, Earth Day has been dedicated to protecting the planet through tree plantings, cleanups, and other community gatherings. And while most in-person events have been canceled this year due to COVID, there are plenty of virtual opportunities to show the planet a little extra love leading up to the big day on Thursday, April 22. (On the bright side, joining from home will also mean fewer carbon emissions.)
This week, tune in to these virtual Earth Day activities to learn, share, and be inspired—but don't stop there. Commit to carrying the climate lessons you've learned into your everyday life, 365 days a year.
Stream a new eco-documentary.
There's no shortage of fascinating films and documentaries that you can stream to bring some of today's most pressing environmental issues into your living room.
This week, EarthX, an environmental conservation live streaming service, will be screening at least one of them a day on their platform, with topics ranging from a futuristic waste-to-energy plant turned ski slope in Copenhagen to the threats to the endangered American ocelot. Liveable Planet will also be hosting a virtual film festival of 67 indie eco films this week.
You can also string together your own movie night with these climate-themed new releases:
- Kiss The Ground: An exploration of regenerative agriculture and its potential to reinvigorate our food system (Netflix)
- Honeyland: A beautiful glimpse at ancient beekeeping traditions in North Macedonia (Amazon Prime or Hulu)
- David Attenborough: A Life on our Planet: The king of the nature documentary reflecting on his life and work (Netflix)
- My Octopus Teacher: The unlikely story of a man learning from a wild octopus in a kelp forest off the coast of South Africa (Netflix)
Tune in to an Earth Day hearing, panel, or conference.
No matter what aspect of environmentalism most interests you, there's probably a conference or panel on it this week. Here are a few to look into:
- If you want to see what policy changes are in the works: On Thursday and Friday, President Joe Biden will be hosting a Leaders Summit on Climate where 40 world leaders will gather to discuss their efforts to curb climate change leading up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November in Glasgow. (Details TBA)
- If you're curious what Greta's up to this year: Congressman Ro Khanna of California will be hosting a hearing entitled “The Role of Fossil Fuel Subsidies in Preventing Action on the Climate Crisis.” A Livestream will be available on YouTube and the Committee on Oversight and Reform website, and Greta Thunberg is expected to testify. (Thursday 4/22 at 10am ET)
- If you're wondering how we're going to pay for all of this: This year, multiple conferences are assembling business leaders to discuss financing the climate transition, including ones from We Don't Have Time (Thurdsay 4/22 at 8am ET) and Bloomberg Green. (Monday 4/26 to Tuesday 4/27)
- If you want to hear from the next generation of climate leaders: Earthday.org is kicking off its series of online programming on Tuesday with a youth climate summit led by Earth Uprising. (Tuesday 4/20 at 2:30pm ET)
- If you're a foodie looking to eat more sustainably: Join the nonprofit Food Tank for a conversation with chefs Ozoz Sokoh and Mahlomola Thamae about connecting food to culture, health, and climate (Thursday 4/22 at 9am ET). Watch as number of brands in the regenerative agriculture space including Maple Hill, Force of Nature, and Kiss the Ground meet on Instagram Live for a panel discussion on the carbon sequestration potential of this farming technique (moderated by yours truly!). (Tuesday 4/22 at 8pm ET)
- If you were freaked out by Seaspiracy: Nonprofit Oceanic Global will be hosting a discussion about the role that traditional, indigenous fisheries can play in ocean conservation. (Tuesday 4/20 at 3pm ET)
- If you just want to be inspired: Join The Nature Conservancy for an Earth Day Celebration commending some of today's most impressive environmental changemakers. (Thursday 4/22 at 12pm ET)
Get the family involved.
For the little ones, National Geographic will be hosting a family-friendly virtual event on their YouTube Channel for "Earth Day Eve" on Wednesday, April 21, at 8:30pm EDT. The event will travel the globe to hear inspiring stories and music celebrating the beauty of our planet.
Read up on the reality of climate change and potential solutions.
Looking for a fresh climate read? These 11 new ones are informative and engaging. An Earth Day in their pages would be an Earth Day well spent.
Do an Earth-themed flow.
Yogis can tune in to NY-based studio Sky Ting's special Earth Day-themed virtual class on Thursday 4/22 at 10am ET. It's a donation-based class and all proceeds will go to Billion Oyster Project, a citizen science group that is cleaning NYC's waterways by reintroducing oysters in New York Harbor.
Join a digital campaign.
In the name of keeping the momentum going and ensuring that every day is treated like Earth Day, Enough Media has started a new social media campaign calling on people to post a photo with what they've had #EnoughOf on Earth Day and what they'll be doing to enact change long after April 22 passes. Learn more about how to join the movement here.
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.