This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day—a global movement of people demanding greater protections for the planet. The first Earth Day took place in 1970 and was observed by around 20 million individuals, mainly in the United States. Since then, the event has been observed in 192 countries and has mobilised one billion individuals to take action for our planet. Amid the recent coronavirus global pandemic, Earth Day’s global organiser has announced that this April 22 will mark the world’s first Digital Earth Day. So that means virtual protests, social media campaigns, online teach-ins and more. Want to join in with Earth Day London 2020 from the comfort of your sofa? Here’s how:
Watch the Smithsonian Channel’s new series
American television channel Smithsonian is marking Earth Day’s special anniversary with a new, five-part short-form series. The documentary covers the disappearing wetlands of Louisiana. Last Call For The Bayou follows filmmakers Dominic and Nadia Gill who use aerial photography, a two-man drone team and a paraglider to confront the reality of climate change today.
How: You can watch Last Call For The Bayou on the Smithsonian Channel’s digital platforms and website
When: From April 10
Plant a tree with the Canopy Project
Since 2010, tens of millions of trees have been planted by the Earth Day Network, in partnership with the Canopy Project, which plants trees across the globe. This year, the plan is to plant 7.8 billion trees (one for every person on Earth) in honour of Earth Day’s fiftieth anniversary. The trees are mainly planted in areas in dire need of rehabilitation—those most at-risk from climate change and environmental degradation.
How: By donating to the Canopy Project via earthday.org
Cost: One tree is roughly £1.00
Celebrate nature (virtually) at the Hayward Gallery
For Earth Day London 2020, the Hayward Gallery has brought together 38 international artists for Among the Trees. This exhibition invites us to consider the essential roles that trees and forests play in our lives, ecosystems and psyches. Although the Hayward Gallery is now closed due to Covid-19, their Instagram feed is full of treespiration, allowing you to still experience the exhibition, albeit virtually. And the best thing is, this way it’s free!
How: Check out the Hayward Gallery’s Instagram feed
When: From now
Immerse yourself in nature via Netflix
This year, why not turn to a nature documentary on Netflix? Currently available for streaming is 2019’s Our Planet. Narrated by David Attenborough, the groundbreaking Netflix original series allows you to experience Earth’s natural beauty through an examination of how climate change impacts all living creatures. There are tonnes of other Attenborough classics available to stream, including Blue Planet, Africa and Planet Earth.
How: By visiting netflix.com
When: From now
Cost: Included in a monthly Netflix subscription
Take part in direct action training
In the build-up to Earth Day London 2020, the UUYACJ (Unitarian Universalist Young Adults for Climate Justice) group will be leading direct action trainings to help equip communities to take bold action on climate. These trainings are free and open to all people with all levels of campaigning experience.
How: Sign up for a training session via the UUYACJ’s website
When: Various dates, see the calendar for details
Follow along on social media
The full details for the official Digital Earth Day schedule are yet to be released. But virtual protests, social media campaigns and online teach-ins are all set to form part of the schedule. Make sure you don’t miss out by following along with the fun using the shared hashtags #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE. The Earth Day Network will also provide live coverage of the global digital mobilisations from its social media accounts. These can be found by searching @earthdaynetwork.
How: Keep track of the #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE hashtags
When: April 22, 2020