Written by Robin McGahey and Alicia Bynum, edited by Abbey Greene
April 22nd, 2020 marks the 50th Annual Earth Day. Now, more than ever, we look to our filmmakers, conservationists, advocates, and supporters for what to do next. As Toni Morrison said, “This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.” So, let us support the artists, the creatives, the communicators, and more and celebrate Earth Day together!
We have compiled a list of events for you to attend (virtually, of course) and ways to get involved in Earth Day:
All of these Earth Day events and activities have grown from the momentum that Earth Day has gathered over the years. Did you ever wonder how it got started?
In 1969, peace activist John McConnell proposed an idea that one whole day be dedicated towards honoring the Earth and World Peace. On April 22nd, 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin officiated America’s first official Earth Day celebration.
50 Years Later...
Modern-day environmental activists like Greata Thunberg are stepping up to address climate change issues that our world continues to face in 2020. Ms. Thunberg’s legacy all started with a single school strike and has since spread to several country’s school systems adopting her “Fridays for Futures.” Thunberg has spoken at climate rallies and attended many noteworthy eco-conferences like the United Nations COP24. In 2019, TIME magazine named her Person of the Year.
It is easy to see with the naked eye that Ms. Thunberg’s actions have led to substantial influence in today’s society. However, this eco-rockstar also walks the talk. Great Thunberg lives a low-carbon life, refuses to fly by plane, and is a known vegan. She is an inspiration and proves that anyone can do their part from wherever they are, right now, right this very moment.
Peace Activists, Environmentalists, and Politicians united together 50 years ago to create this one day out of the year that brings nations together to celebrate the one and only planet that all call home. The message that stands out as clear now as it did then is this -
"(The) key is local participation."
The Year is 2020...
What a time to be alive. The novel coronavirus has struck our society, pulling us closer together and teaching us new ways to adapt together. As we practice social distancing as a nation, we feel in unison the tension that grows with the unknown. And with that tension, we see so many new ideas being cultivated and humane leaders emerging from our communities.
The struggles we face as a nation with coronavirus and our climate are parallel. The ways that many of our small businesses and individuals are adapting throughout this pandemic are native to some and unheard of to others.
This small business owner in Northeast Tennessee delivered his farm’s first batch of “no contact deliveries” on April 17th, 2020 to locals around the community. Jamie Dove stepped up as the first restaurant owner in the region to voluntarily close down due to COVID-19. With little time to adjust frugal needs with business costs, River Creek Farm is out delivering fresh garden veggies to the locals of the Northeast Tennessee regions. Per the farm’s standards, they sell “clean, responsibly grown, local produce as priority” eliminating the use of chemical fertilizers, chemical herbicides, chemical pesticides, and GMOs.
Present Day: April 22nd- 24th
“... As we work to flatten the curve of this pandemic, we must strive toward the longer term goal of building a society rooted in sustainability and justice.” - Earth Day Live
Earth Day Live and more are joining together with activist brands like Ben & Jerry’s (featured in our Oceans, Whales, & Ice Cream) to launch a livestream event available to millions of people. Celebrities, musicians, and citizens alike will join hands in pledging to save the world.
Happy 50th Earth Day, see you there!