By: Alex Knutte
Wednesday, April 22, 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. This year’s theme was climate action, as it is the biggest stressor our planet currently faces. With strikes and mass gatherings cancelled due to COVID-19, people celebrated the day a little differently than normal. Even though much of the world is under a stay at home order, Earth day was not cancelled, but instead moved virtually.
The Earth Day Network adapted previous plans and shifted their movement virtually. They offered 24 hours of global conversations, calls to action, performances and video teach- ins, all offered from a livestream to be watched from the comfort of one’s home. Even though Earth Day went digital, the goal was the same: to mobilize the world to take the most meaningful actions to make a difference.
The U.S. Climate Strike Coalition and Stop The Money Pipeline Coalition hosted Earth Day Live, a 72 hour live stream to celebrate our home. The first day of the event centred around unity and building community, the second day focused on financial institutions and ways to rebuild the economy, while the third day highlighted the urgency of political change to help the planet. Al Gore, Mark Ruffalo, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chelsea Handler are just a few of the dozens of celebrities, politicians, scientists, journalists and activists that participated.
UNICEF and The World Wildlife Fund hosted a virtual concert on Earth Day with over 40 artists from six countries, all participating from home. Highlights include performances by Ricky Kej, Lonnie Park, and Laura Dickinson.
Greta Thunberg, a 17 year old activist known for school strikes for climate, participated in Earth day by taking part in a livestream call with climate scientist Johan Rockstrom. On Earth Day, Thunberg also tweeted: “Every day is #EarthDay. The changes needed to safeguard future living conditions for all species won’t come from governments or businesses. It will come from the best available science and public opinion. So it’s up to us. Spread the science. #unitebehindthescience.”
Miami University celebrated Earth Day virtually as well. Student organizations posted different challenges, photos, and videos to promote Earth Day. Leaders of Environmental Awareness and Protection (LEAP) posted an Instagram challenge for students to post what they are doing in quarantine that is helping the environment. EcoReps also challenged people to post a picture with their reusable water bottle on Earth Day. The Miami Sustainability Instagram account encouraged followers to comment their sustainability resolutions. Despite annual Earth Week festivities being cancelled in Oxford, the Miami community still adapted to bring the message of Earth Day to students and staff.
People all over the world united for Earth Day 2020 with the same goal in mind: to better and preserve our planet for future generations. After all, every day should be Earth Day.
Cover photo courtesy of Alex Knutte