This year’s Earth Day is a special one, and not just because it’s the 50th anniversary of the event.
With stay home orders and heavy social distancing recommendations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the usual large gatherings of people to show support, clear trash and do more to help the planet just aren’t plausible.
But that hasn’t entirely stopped festivities being organized for April 22, and numerous organizations have arranged for ways people can engage with Earth Day without compromising safety.
Earth Day Network
The nonprofit Earth Day Network has lists of ways people can safely engage with Earth Day, from documenting your air quality to picking up litter while outdoors to becoming a citizen scientist.
You can watch messages, performances and calls to action broadcast live.
Earth Day Network also has an interactive map of Earth Day events around the globe that can be filtered by date, type and location to find specific local Earth Day events to participate in online.
A group of both American and Canadian environmental organizations have joined together in a coalition called the Detroit River Coalition. The group’s initial plans for a first event was to be the largest-ever one-day cleanup event on the Detroit River on Earth Day. The event is postponed to 2021 and instead the coalition is launching eEarthDay.
With eEarthDay, the Detroit River Coalition is challenging participants to pick a single-use plastic item they use regularly and switch to a recycled or reusable version. Post about it online with the tag #eEarthDay.
Earth Week Virtual Mini Film Festival
Previously held in Chicago and canceled this year, the One Earth Film Fest is having a virtual mini film festival instead, in partnership with the city of Chicago and in honor of Earth Day. Register for one or more free screenings and discuss the films with panelists via live chat afterward.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has created an Earth Day at Home toolkit with activities, videos, online games, mobile apps, Lego activities and more.
Earth Day 50/50: Looking Back, Moving Forward
The Earth Institute at Columbia University has organized a free live event with a number of speakers that will touch on the history of Earth Day and its future.
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy
Director of Michigan EGLE Liesl Clark is livestreaming a conversation for Michigan residents, with a focus on students and teachers, to talk about ways to protect the earth.
Join the livestream here at 10 a.m. and learn more about EGLE’s Earth Day here.
Great Lakes Now
Detroit Public Television is airing episodes of Great Lakes Now for the full week. Alternatively, catch up on all 13 episodes of Great Lakes Now on our YouTube channel.
Chicago PBS has put together a list of events that Chicagoans in particular might find interest in, including activities organized by Shedd Aquarium or Friends of the Parks.
Drains and Pollinators
The Science Museum of Minnesota has suggestions for things people can do in lieu of the typical Earth Day celebrations, including cleaning neighborhood storm drains and documenting local flora and fauna.
Catch up on other Great Lakes Now coverage of efforts to help the environment:
Great Lakes Moment: Earth Day turns 50
Growing Gardens: Churches and mosques create native plant gardens to help with water quality, wildlife and community building
From Rust to Resilience: Climate change brings new challenges and opportunities