Earth Week 2020: What Will It Look Like?

Happy Earth Week, Friends of the Planet! This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and it certainly feels disappointing that there will be no big celebrations, clean-ups, marches, sit-ins, and opportunities to connect with our communities and rally for change.

But, as we wrote on Saturday, the fight must go on. Earth Day will still be celebrated, just not as planned. Instead, multiple virtual events will take the place of previously scheduled festivities. We’ll keep you posted on all that’s going on so make sure you read Our Daily Planet each morning for original interviews and ways you can get involved.

Why This Matters: Earth Week festivities were always about more than the week itself. Their intention (whether in-person or virtual) was to inspire people to take tangible action: like turning out in massive numbers to vote this November. If we take any lessons away from the first Earth Day 50 years ago it’s that sustained pressure on lawmakers (and the fear of losing elections for inaction) is what drives change. It’s what pushed Republican president Richard Nixon to create the EPA and what set the motion for our bedrock environmental laws like NEPA, the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, etc.

The Agenda:

Smithsonian Earth Optimism SummitVirtual Event April 22-24th

The Smithsonian is hosting its annual optimism event that showcases stories of both small and large-scale actions that demonstrate that success is possible in conservation. The event will be virtual with panel discussions, art displays, films and a call to action on Earth Day by Denis Hayes, the organizer of the Original Earth Day.  Using the hashtag #EarthOptimism they hope to inspire the world for greater impact.

Make sure you tune in for the conversation on “The science (& stories) of how animals bring us happiness,” on Thursday at 9AM ET which will be moderated by Monica and will highlight Gallup polling data and the World Happiness Report on what brings humans happiness, along with stories and anecdotes from the field of how wildlife, nature, and animals bring us joy—especially in challenging times like these

World War Zero – Earth Day Inside Town Hall Series – starting April 20th at 7PM ET

Secretary Kerry’s World War Zero initiative will host a series of virtual town halls April 20-22.  The kick-off event will feature Secretary Kerry, Secretary Ernest Moniz, Bill Nye, and former “Grey’s Anatomy” star Kate Walsh.

Earth Day NetworkEarth Day Live Virtual Event on April 22nd

The Earth Day Network is sponsoring 24 hours of action on April 22nd to encourage actions big and small, giving diverse voices a platform and demanding bold action for people and the planet.  Over the 24 hours of Earth Day, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day will fill the digital landscape with global conversations, calls to action, performances, video teach-ins, and more. Their goal is to mobilize the world to take the most meaningful actions to make a difference.

Earth Day 2020 Aspen Institute –  Virtual Panel on April 22nd, 3-4:30 PM ET

Co-hosted by the Energy Futures Initiative, the event will begin with remarks by Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz followed by a panel discussion on the climate and health nexus. Experts will discuss the impacts of climate change on human health, highlighting economic, security, and social equity issues.

EarthX Earth Day Virtual Celebration – April 22nd 12 noon – 7:30 PM ET

This is a celebration co-sponsored by the National Geographic Society.  The event schedule has not been released yet.  The headlining speaker appears to be Tia Nelson, the daughter of Senator Gaylord Nelson, but there are also several Republicans on the program, including the Chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Republican Congressman Bruce Westerman of Arkansas, as well as Teddy Roosevelt IV.  Here is where to find the schedule of events, once it is released.

One Cool Thing: NASA celebrates Earth Day with downloadable art.

Cosmos: Just in time for Earth Week, the Lyrid meteor shower will reach its peak this week. Coronavirus lockdown may make backyard stargazing easier in some places due to lessened pollution.

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