Earth Day was first launched on April 22, 1970, mobilizing 20+ million Americans to take to the streets in peaceful purpose and call for environmental action from governments, companies and citizens across the world. It spawned an environmental revolution, one of the most important movements of our time.
Today, Earth Day is observed in around 190 countries and close to 100,000 organizations. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world, according to earthday.org
Massachusetts native Henry David Thoreau is considered by many to be one of America’s first environmental leaders. From his perch at Walden Pond in Concord, Thoreau understood that, “The earth is not a mere fragment of dead history, stratum upon stratum like the leaves of a book, to be studied by geologists and antiquaries chiefly, but living poetry like the leaves of a tree, which precede flowers and fruit. It is not a fossil earth but a living earth.”
Below are some virtual ways you can celebrate Earth Day this year.
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation, writes on its web page, “Every Day is Earth Day, and we look forward to celebrating Earth Day with you each year on April 22. To support Earth Day 2020, we’ve compiled activities, resources and stories to help kids, families, and teachers learn about sustainability issues, climate science, and actions they can take this Earth Day 2020 and every day.”
Of special interest is DCR’s Earth Day Pledge for children, as well as educational resources for teachers and students.
Springfield Museums’ 30th annual Earth Day Festival is virtual this year. You can find many resources and activities that demonstrate ways to enjoy the outdoors, learn about the beautiful natural world that surrounds us, and promote conservation through everyday actions.
On Wednesday, April 22 at 1:30 p.m., the Walden Woods Project and RESTORE: The North Woods is hosting a virtual lecture with special guest Dahr Jamail. He is the author of The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption, which chronicles his journeys to some of the world’s hot spots experiencing the most dramatic impacts of climate disruption. To register for the event and receive Zoom details, visit walden.org/events/dahr-jamail/.
Climate Action Now in Western Massachusetts and Environment Mass are organizing a virtual Earth Day to talk about renewal energy from 6:30 – 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 22. Register here for this free event.
Dennis Hayes, one of the founders of Earth Day in 1970, reflects on the original event and the movement today in the Harvard Gazette.
Finally, Keep Massachusetts Beautiful has a year round mission “to make Massachusetts a cleaner, greener place to live, work, and play.” KMB has chapters around the Commonwealth dedicated to seasonal cleanups and keeping cities and towns healthy and environmentally sound.
Happy Earth Day.