Fifty years ago, on 22 April, 20 million people took to the streets to take a stance about the fragile state of the planet. It was the world’s first Earth Day. Five decades on and the global movement to protect the environment is stronger than ever. This year, as a result of Covid-19, the world’s largest civic event is going digital for the first time in its history, encouraging people to use their voices online rather than in person. Here’s how to get involved remotely and help shape a greener future.
Fashion the future
Fashion designer Bethany Williams has long been driven by her strong belief in environmental sustainability and social responsibility, placing them at the core of her work. In celebration of Earth Day she has joined forces with Somerset House to develop ‘All Our Children’, an evolving project highlighting the urgent need to protect the planet for future generations. The series of online events kicks off with a live stream Q&A with Williams led by Somerset House curator Karishma Rafferty (22 April at midday). There’ll also be a series of online DIY workshops, inviting people to get involved at home during this period of lockdown and share their sustainable creations on social media using the #AllOurChildren hashtag – all works shared will inform Williams’ research towards the new All Our Children fashion collection, which launches later in the year.
From 22 April to 20 May
Meet the travel expert
Notting Hill-based wellness club Cloud Twelve is hosting a live Q&A session on Instagram with luxury travel expert Juliet Kinsman, during which she’ll be exploring the future of travel post-Coronavirus and discussing how we can move forward in a positive way to protect our planet. Juliet, who has a column in The Telegraph about travelling sustainably, will be looking at what our future holidays might look like after lockdown and how we will all come out of this more conscious, conscientious and sensitive to the health of others and the environment.
Wednesday 22 April at midday
Listen to the leading female eco-activists
Earthx2020 has teamed up with the National Geographic Society to create “the world’s largest environmental experience”. The annual Dallas event is entirely virtual this year, with a packed programme of events and conferences; a highlight is ‘EarthxWomen’ (live streaming on 23 and 24 April), which will see panellists including Jane Fonda, award-winning journalist Lisa Ling and a host of other female eco-activists engage in no-holds-barred conversations about how we can create the future we want. You’ll also be able to view exclusive feature films and shorts over the 10 days with EarthxFilm, plus there’ll be opportunities to immerse yourself in nature through a collection of augmented and immersive art installations, interactive films, projections and sonic journeys.
Until 26 April
While spending time indoors check out Artists for the Earth, a global campaign launched by the Earth Day Network to connect with arts organisations and artists in order to engage the public about the critical issues of the environment. Anyone can participate, wherever they are. If you’re an artist, you can sign up and upload any works of art that have an environmental theme – while non-artists can browse the gallery pages for inspiration.
Get down to nature at Hayward Gallery
‘Among the Trees’ is a thought-provoking exhibition at Southbank’s Hayward Gallery, looking at our relationship with trees from the 1960s onwards, a decade that saw the emergence of the modern environmental movement. Timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the show explores trees as symbols and living organisms that have helped shape human civilisation, and to recognise their not insignificant role in inspiring leading contemporary artists. Though you can’t visit in person, a number of newly commissioned poems inspired by the exhibition will be read and shared digitally on 22 April.
Until 17 May
Join the EARTHRISE movement
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In support of #EarthDay2020, our partner @weare8official , is running a 24 hour feed of Earth Day content on their mobile app to unite people, support the planet, and hold brands accountable! Be sure to check out @weare8official and download the #WeAre8 app! http://WeAre8.com/earthday2020 #thepeoplesplatform #weare8 #earthday2020
Take a stand as the Earth Day Network’s global digital mobilisation EARTHRISE gathers momentum in the run-up to world Earth Day on 22 April. Use your social media channels to speak up for the planet, vote for leaders who promote environmental policies and educate others about the importance of taking care of the earth, using the hashtags #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE. Sign up for updates via the Earth Day website and on 22 April, join Earth Day Live for 24 hours of messages, performances, video teach-ins and calls to action, with a host of eco campaigners from Zac Efron to Dr Sylvia Earle. The Earth Day website also lists digital events taking place around the world on its interactive map.
Wednesday 22 April
Take the Earth Day Daily Challenge
If you haven’t already, do the Earth Day Daily Challenge, which started on 1 April and is a series of 22 daily challenges leading up to Earth Day, allowing people to take action right now for our planet. Each of the challenges is on Earth Day’s social media channels and includes ideas like measuring your carbon footprint, going zero-waste for one day and planting a tree. It’s not too late to start…
Until 22 April
Tune into Earth Day Week
The Earth Day Network has teamed up with online climate activist organisations We Don’t Have Time and Exponentialroadmap to bring you the world’s largest digital climate conference. The free week-long event promises live talks and daily shows with over 100 experts from across the world discussing topics ranging from sustainable consumption and climate finance to how our eating habits, and the way we produce food, hold the key to a carbon positive future. It will culminate in a digital and interactive climate “hackathon”, with the audience invited to join the conversation and explore ways to raise awareness about the climate crisis.
Until 25 April
Download the EarthChallenge2020 app
In keeping with Earth Day Network’s emphasis on social solidarity despite Covid-19 enforced social distancing, it has launched the Earth Challenge platform encouraging everyone to become a citizen scientist. Through the new Earth Challenge app, users will be able to gather critical scientific data and monitor their local environment without leaving home, using their smartphone to contribute to a global database of information on air quality and plastic pollution. In coming months, the platform will expand to include other issues including water quality and insect populations. The app also offers myriad tools and tips for environmental protection.
Join the Earth Optimism conversation
The America-based Smithsonian – the world’s largest museum, education and research complex – is hosting a free Earth Optimism digital event around conservation and sustainability, with a wealth of deep dives, one-time-only live streams, world film premieres and fascinating talks from heavy hitters like Denis Hayes, who was the first Earth Day organiser in the 1970s – and you can join the chat at #EarthOptimism. The Smithsonian Channel – a go-to for anyone interested in the historical, scientific, cultural and natural worlds – is also showing the Last Call for the Bayou, an extraordinary five part series about the disappearing wetlands of Louisiana.
22 to 24 April
Run for clean air
Since 1981, the Clean Air Council has held the Run for Clean Air in Philadelphia to celebrate Earth Day and promote the importance of environmental health. This year, of course, it’s gone virtual, meaning you can run for clean air anywhere, even in self-quarantine. All you need do is register for the race online – choosing the Virtual 5k or 10k run or the 3k walk – and hit the track or treadmill during Earth Week (ensuring that, if you’re outdoors, you stick to the pandemic regulations). Submit your time on the Run For Clean Air Sign up page and, if you’re eligible, you’ll receive a medal and shirt.
Until 26 April