Written by Kelsea Siter, KEYS Americorps Member
Earth Day is right around the corner, and 2020 was a hard year for all of us; from the uncertainty and fear surrounding the pandemic, to the large wildfires that destroyed 4 million acres of land in California. Despite people staying inside because of Covid, 2020 still saw the highest levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. In fact, 2020 was the hottest year ever recorded globally, tied with 2016. We may have thought we gave the Earth a small break last year, but it may seem the opposite! So what can we do this Earth Day to help?
The theme of this year’s Earth Day is “Restore our Earth.” EARTHDAY.ORG organizes 3 days of seminars on April 20th through 22st, to bring together thousands of organizations, climate and youth activists, educators, and concerned citizens to discuss and bring awareness to our climate. Be sure not to miss the youth activist speeches by Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Villaseñor, Licypriya Kangujam, as they construct a list of demands for the Biden Administration’s Climate Summit. There will be tons of discussions on topics that interest everyone, from police brutality and environmental justice, to sustainable agriculture and air pollution. Find out more information here.
A simple and quick idea to get involved with Earth Day is to sign petitions and support climate education of our youth. Support the Great Global Cleanup by getting together with your friends and family and to do an organized clean-up in your community. Last year in September, over 20 million people in 179 countries participated in World Cleanup Day. Organize your own clean up here! EARTHDAY.ORG has also petitioned for climate literacy, through the support of nonprofits, educators, students, and even the Ministries of Education and Environment, to ensure we create a green market that involves all stakeholders in the decision-making process. Their goal is for all children to have access to high-quality climate change education to make informed decisions in the future. Find the petition here.
Another easy thing to do for Earth Day is to download the Earth Challenge app, made by EARTHDAY.ORG in partner with Wilson Center and the U.S. Department of State. This app uses public citizen science data and existing science projects to connect and inform people about climate issues and initiatives all around the world and in their communities. Download the app to observe and track water quality, air quality, food sustainability, animal populations, plastic use, and tons more, and compare your community to others around the world. Network with local scientists and get involved with projects in your area for this Earth Day. Find out more information here.
Lastly, a fun household project for Earth Day is creating greenspace in your community and supporting our pollinators. Pollinators are necessary to grow many of the foods that people around the world consume everyday. Almost all fruit and grain crops, and more than half of oil and fat crops are dependent upon pollinators, as well as over 150 other food crops such as tequila and dairy products. Planting flowers and plants is a simple and fun activity that people of all ages will enjoy. Using the right native plants that provide pollen and nectar for pollinators is an easy way to help the environment. Read about the 10 ways you can help pollinators in your backyard here.