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Every year on April 22, the world celebrates Earth Day to support environmental action. This year, Earth Day 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the event being celebrated. With the climate emergency representing the biggest challenge to the future of our planet and humanity itself, the theme of Earth Day this year is climate action. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the 24 hours of Earth Day – and this entire Earth Day week – will be celebrated online through digital action, anytime and anywhere you are in the world.
What is Earth Day?
Earth Day was created on April 22, 1970, when 20 million people took to the streets in the United States to protest environmental neglect. Since then, every year, the day marks a celebration of an international environmental movement and represents one of the world’s biggest civic events to demand action to save our planet. In 2016, Earth Day was chosen as the historic day when the Paris Agreement on climate change was signed by countries all over the world.
What is the theme of Earth Day this year?
This year, which marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the theme is climate action – the most pressing issue that threatens our planet and life on earth itself.
With the world continuing to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, Earth Day and Earth Day Week this year will be held digitally online. Both the health and climate emergency are challenges that are imminent, life-threatening and are spelling disaster for people, the environment and the planet – and we must solve both issues.
“The coronavirus pandemic does not shut us down. Instead, it reminds us of what’s at stake in our fight for the planet. If we don’t demand change to transform our planet and meet our climate crisis, our current state will become the new normal — a world where pandemics and extreme weather events span the globe, leaving already marginalized and vulnerable communities even more at risk,” wrote the organisers Earth Day Network.
How can I take part in Earth Day 2020?
Despite the ongoing pandemic that means public events and social gatherings are not possible, we can still collectively voice our unified demands for climate action digitally.
There will be 24-hours of global digital mobilisation on April 22 that each and every one of us can join in on, from live-streamed conversations to calls for action, performances, webinars and digital environmental “teach-ins” and workshops. All of us can take part throughout the day of digital action from wherever we are in the world, and the goal is to flood the online world with demands for climate action.
What sorts of virtual activities will happen on Earth Day 2020 and throughout the week?
Join an Earth Day online event: You can find various Digital Earth Day events that match your time-zone and your interests, from Instagram post competitions to creating environmental art. Find an event to join on the online global map here.
Vote Earth and ask 3 friends to do the same: You can pledge to take a vote for environmental progress, and challenge 3 of your friends to do the same to keep the momentum going. Vote for Earth here.
Become a citizen scientist: You can become a “citizen scientist” alongside thousands of other participants by helping to gather important scientific data and information on the climate crisis by getting the Earth Challenge 2020 App here.
Get educated on environmental issues: One of the most important things that we can do from home is to learn about the scientifically proven facts to do with the climate crisis. Not only will it help keep us informed, it will also help you convince others who might be skeptical about the pressing need for climate action. Find scientifically-backed peer-reviewed data on climate change here.
Test your environmental knowledge: You can also take a fun online test to see how much you know about the climate emergency. Test your knowledge using Earth Day’s official digital quiz here.
Read our Climate Solutions coverage: As a part of Earth Day, Green Queen and other media outlets around the world are participating in a week-long global journalism collaboration to strengthen the coverage of the climate story. The theme of the week will be on Climate Solutions, and you can find all our special articles dedicated to the topic here.
For a full list of regularly updated Earth Day activities, check the Earth Day Live page here.
This story is published as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.
Lead image courtesy of Getty Images.