While it feels like there is little to celebrate these days, with our world dealing with the extraordinary situation of a global pandemic, there is at least one bright spot this week: the 50th celebration of Earth Day!
The first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970, and it’s often cited as the birthplace of the modern environmental movement. Just eight years before, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring became a New York Times bestseller, and the tide started to turn—ever so subtly—toward a broader appreciation of natural ecosystems and the species that call them home.
Earth Day in 1970 started as an idea for a teach-in on environmental issues and turned into 20 million Americans attending organized protests that rallied against decades of industrial development and pollution. The result was the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency, followed closely by the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, and more.
Every year, according to EarthDay.org, more than a billion people around the globe celebrate Earth Day. With large events and mass gatherings postponed, this year’s Earth Day will look a bit different, but it’s by no means canceled.
Here are five ways to celebrate from the safety of your house or RV.
1. Earth Day Live 2020
Like so many events and gatherings, the organizers of Earth Day are taking this year’s celebration digital. Join Zac Efron, Dr. Sylvia Earle, John Kerry, Van Jones, Christina Figueres, Al Gore, and more for music, lectures, and discussions on April 22 at EarthDay.org.
You can also use the site to search for other digital Earth Day events.
2. Earth Day Quizzes
Whether you have kids at home or not, how about working your way through an Earth Day quiz? Test your knowledge of climate change, ocean and land protection, clean energy, or biodiversity with one of these fun and challenging quizzes:
- National Geographic Earth Day Quiz Whiz
- NASA Earth Day Quiz
- Conservation International Earth Day Quiz
- Whale Conservation Quiz
- Climate Change Quiz
- Clean Energy Quiz
3. Go on a 360 Virtual Field Trip with Campendium
Since we know you love to travel, we suspect you’re really missing your favorite landscapes right now. Trust me—we are, too! Dive into a 360 Virtual Field Trip with Campendium to regain a bit of that wanderlust and see the natural beauty of destinations around the country.
Our 360 Virtual Field Trips are hosted on YouTube, and here’s how they work. Click on the video you’d like to watch, then adjust the resolution up to 4K, if your internet service can handle the bandwidth. If you’re on a desktop computer, use your mouse to scroll side to side and up and down. If you’re on a mobile device, move your phone or tablet in the direction you want to see. To get a better look at a particular area, hit pause and scroll around!
- Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota
- Colorado Free Camping
- Hawaii Camping
- Joshua Tree National Park, California
4. (Digitally) Explore America’s National Parks and Forests
Though the concept of national parks in the United States pre-dates Earth Day by over 100 years, when many of us think of pristine nature, we think of the protected parks from coast to coast. On Earth Day, take a few minutes to digitally explore a park before diving into resources on climate change, conservation education, and science.
Start out with an immersive, digital tour of Kenai Fjords, Hawai’i Volcanoes, Carlsbad Caverns, Bryce Canyon, and Dry Tortugas with this spectacular experience on Google Earth. Once you’ve done that, dig in a little deeper with the resources available on the National Park Service Earth Day site, in the US Forest Service Climate Change Resource Center, and on the US Forest Service Conservation Education site.
5. Go on a Walk and Pick Up Litter
This Earth Day, do Mother Nature a solid by picking up any trash in and around your campsite, neighborhood, or local park. Make sure you adhere to social distancing rules and protect yourself with gloves and a mask or bandana over your face.
You can turn your good deed into an appreciation of the natural world, too, by taking a few moments to admire the trees, the flowers, the birds, and any wildlife you might see. It might even be a little clearer outside right now—especially if you live in a big city!
Though this Earth Day is unlike any that has taken place in the last 50 years, there are still ways to honor and appreciate the natural world on April 22. How will you celebrate?