Originating back in 1970, Earth Day has evolved into a day celebrating the health and sustainability of the planet. In normal years, that would mean getting outside and engaging in activities like planting trees and learning about the environment. And as 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, big plans had been made.
Unfortunately, because of the global coronavirus pandemic, things will now be very different this year.
Due to health concerns and safety practices like social distancing, Earth Day 2020 will forego traditional large-scale events in favor of a Digital Earth Day. Hosted by Earth Day Network, the official organizers of Earth Day, the digital event promises to include a major digital gathering over various platforms and include social media campaigns and online educational sessions.
And while the Earth Day Network urges individuals to take precautions and follow the coronavirus safety recommendations, they have also encouraged everyone to take some time and perform some green self-assessments.
Consider whether you participate in a recycling program and, if not, how you can start. If you have the space to plant a garden, consider doing so now, especially if your state has enacted a stay-at-home order. Do some research on the appliances in your home and find out what you can do to cut back on wasting energy.
Basic safety precautions might present some challenges to immediately enacting on any changes, however. If your local government does not currently offer a recycling program, it might seem like a bad time to start petitioning for one. In that case, start small by doing your own recycling. Find out if there’s a recycling plant in your community, and if so, swing by and drop off your recyclable material while your out on another errand.
Even if you have space for a garden, you might lack the tools to create. Depending on what state you live in, that challenge might be easy to address. If the hardware store remains open, go purchase what you need. If it’s closed, mark off the planned gardening area and get creative with whatever’s available; old Tupperware containers can make a handy planter, for example.
Appliances, however, might present the biggest challenge. On the one hand, smart appliances get cheaper every year. On the other hand, if the stores remain closed, purchasing one online might not guarantee immediate delivery. Plus, you’d still have to remove the old one and install the new one, and then you might be stuck with an old appliance you can’t remove until safety procedures have been called off. One possible solution? If you’re stuck at home, try unplugging the appliances that don’t need to be running at all time. If you’re not watching the television, for example, just unplug it. Use common sense with this idea, though; it’s never a good idea to unplug the refrigerator or the freezer. If you’ve ever dealt with a long-term blackout, you’ll understand why.
Above everything else, the purpose of Earth Day remains about education about our world and what can be done to make it better. Not being able to participate in a crowded event does not limit the ability or opportunities to do that.