This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, celebrated every year on 22 April.

Did you know that the first celebration of Earth Day was in 1970, and participated by at least 10% of the US population? Today, Earth Day is widely recognised as the largest secular observance in the world, marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action to change human behaviour and to create global, national and local policies for the protection of the environment.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Earth Day is going digital with 24 hours of action. Following the 2020 theme Climate Action, this year will focus on the enormous challenges and the vast opportunities of acting on climate change.

Here are a few ideas on how you can join Earth Day from home:

Remember to SAVE (Speak up. Act. Vote. Educate)

Speak up: Exercise your right to express, promote and defend your ideas. While we may not be able to assemble in-person, we can still create a mass outcry and outpouring of support online. Add your voice to this global demand for action with the shared hashtag #EarthDay2020.

Act: Take action and join and on social media (@earthdaynetwork) for 24 hours of action with EARTHRISE. Every hour, on the hour, they’ll have a new, powerful way for you to demand action and drive change.

Vote: Make your demands known by voting for those who will defend the planet. No elections in your country or too young to vote? Demand change with civic action – call your representatives, tweet your policymakers, volunteer for a candidate. There are so many ways to tell your leaders that human and planetary health must be the top political priority. Take action and send a message to your leaders on 22 April, and get registered, educated and ready to vote in your elections in 2020. Throughout April, the Earth Day organisation will have ways to get involved in local, state and national politics as they launch their Vote Earth campaign.

Educate: As Earth Day goes digital, the organisation is bringing teach-ins to a global scale as well. A dozen of the world’s most inspiring musicians, artists, scientists and thought leaders will use the power of digital teach-ins to share their experience, expertise and lessons to a global audience across the 24 hours of EARTHRISE. Tune in live to the organisation’s 24 hours of action as they feature digital teach-ins and interactive discussions from some of the world’s most inspiring voices for change. Bring your friends, family, coworkers and neighbours into this global digital conversation to share how you’re taking local action to meet this global crisis.

Find a digital Earth Day event 

Are you looking for digital or virtual Earth Day activities? Check out the Earth Day Live page. The world’s largest civic event is going digital for the first time in its history.

Take the Earth Day Daily Challenge

April is more than just Earth Day. April is Earth Month! Join the Earth Day Daily Challenge, a 22-day series that will allow people to connect through challenges to take action right now, and every day, for our planet. Each challenge will be posted daily on Earth Day Network’s social media channels (@earthdaynetwork). Participants can get involved by following the channels and adding their actions with the hashtags #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE. Find out more here.

Become a citizen scientist 

Use the Earth Challenge 2020 app to gather critical environmental data near you. Earth Challenge lets you gather important scientific data near you. It has two elements for you to measure – air quality and plastic pollution – with more on the way. Earth Challenge 2020 is available on Android and iOS devices.

Become an Artist for the Earth

Launched by the Earth Day organisation, Artists for the Earth is a global campaign to connect with arts organisations and artists everywhere to engage the public with the critical issues of the environment. Welcoming artists, singers, dancers and all forms of creatives, Artists for the Earth will display works of art centred on the environment, enlist educators to integrate arts programming about the environment into their curricula, leverage social media to expand its reach, and generate a global conversation about climate change. Find out more or sign up here!

Fight climate change with diet change

On Earth Day, consider eating your meals that has little to no environmental impact. Consider the footprint you’ll leave! A foodprint measures the environmental impacts associated with the growing, producing, transporting, and storing of our food – from the natural resources consumed to the pollution produced to the greenhouse gases emitted. Learn the impact your food choices make on the environment with Earth Day’s Footprints for the Future campaign, which highlights the different ways individuals and institutions can make an impact on their foodprints. Find out more here!

Watch nature documentaries or movies 

Whether you’re isolating alone or with family or friends, a movie night is always a good idea. Dedicate 22 April to watching a documentary or movie about our planet and climate change. Documentaries such as ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, ‘Chasing Coral’, ‘The 11th Hour’, ‘Our Planet’, ‘Planet Earth’, ‘Life’, ‘Oceans’, ‘Great Migrations’ and ‘The Blue Planet’ are some of the best. Not into documentaries? Then watch some action-filled movies on climate change such as ‘The Day After Tomorrow’, ‘2012’, ‘Geostorm’ and ‘Deep Impact’.

Make a video urging others to take action

Everyone is making videos during this period of self-isolation. Why not make yours more meaningful and impactful to influence others to do their part to protect the environment? Get creative!

Plant a tree

The Earth Day organisation aims to plant 7.8 bn trees by 2020 – one tree for every person alive. By planting trees, you’re taking a tangible action and taking part in this bigger goal. Or you can start small by planting a seed and growing a plant. Try planting herbs that will help you spice things up in the kitchen (Learn how to start your own herb garden on Marhaba).

Make signs at home as reminders to be more eco-friendly

Sometimes we just need a little reminder to help us change our habits. Create signs at home such as ‘turn off the lights’, ‘use less water’, or ‘use less toilet paper’ to remind and encourage yourself or others to change their habits and become more eco-conscious. Think and work on ways to make your home more eco-friendly and live more sustainably.

Make sustainable art

Making art is one of the most fun and popular Earth Day activities. But make it sustainable! Sustainable art is a vehicle of expression, a medium or an indictment, on behalf of sustainable development. It includes making art with messages of sustainability either by its theme or the media used to create the piece. Look for objects at home you can use to create art pieces and crafts. This activity can be even more fun with family and friends.

From Earth Hour to Earth Day to Earth Month

If you didn’t get a chance to join the millions of people from around the world as they switched off their lights during the Earth Hour on 28 March, don’t worry because this month, you have 30 days to make eco-friendly and sustainable choices.

April is Earth Month! Add these activities to your day throughout the month. Make a promise or take a pledge to make more eco-friendly decisions and actions in your daily life. Use less electricity and water, and reuse as many resources as possible. Hopefully, these practices will last a lifetime!

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