Cartoonish Earth with its hands raised.

April 22, 1970, marked the world’s very first Earth Day. Nearly 10% of the U.S. population took part in coast-to-coast rallies advocating for a cleaner environment. Groups that had been fighting pollution, oil spills, toxic dumps, freeways, pesticides, and the loss of wildlife all united in political alignment. By the end of 1970, the US Environmental Protection Agency was created and the Clean Air Act was passed. Just two years later, the Clean Water Act passed, and a year later the Endangered Species Act was passed. 

In 1990, Earth Day went global, and over 200 million people in 141 countries celebrated, pushing for recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Earth Day 2000 called for even more global conversations, this time surrounding climate change and clean energy. Over 184 countries participated, and 5,000 environmental groups mobilized activists including a drum chain that traveled from village to village in Gabon, Africa. Environmental groups called out climate change deniers, oil lobbyists, politicians, and a divided environmental community for Earth Day 2010. Over the decades Earth Day has gathered hundreds of millions of people around the globe and brought them into the environmental movement and created opportunities for civic engagement. 

Earth Day 2020 will be the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. It will also be the world’s first digital Earth Day. With a goal of mobilizing 1 billion people, this year’s Earth Day is bound to be historic and groundbreaking. The Earth Day Network has already built an online platform to map virtual protests, webinars, teach-ins, social media campaigns, and more with the goal of pressuring world leaders to act on environmental degradation and climate change. ( 

April 22 is the day users can tap into these virtual events. For example, Voices for the Earth Summit is holding a 9-hour gathering to discuss how we might come out during this pandemic recovery and for thought leaders to share their insights on climate justice, indigenous wisdom, social justice, and more. Webinars about getting rid of fossil fuels, the climate crisis, climate restoration, and more will be streaming all day on April 22. If you are ready to create change and educate, creating your own teach-in or conversation for folks to tune into is a way to spread your own knowledge and create conversations around the movement. Other ways to celebrate include following @earthdaynetwork on Instagram on Wednesday. Every hour the network will tell us one way we can help fight for the planet, and sharing these tips to your personal platform is a way to engage more people and help Earth Day engage 1 billion people to participate.

There are also other ways to celebrate Earth Day. If you are an artist, repurposing materials to create new art or drawing what you think a sustainable future might look like is a great way to celebrate Earth Day. Joining Artists for the earth is a way to engage with artists all over the globe creating art sustainably and helping to shape the future. You can help by listing spaces in your city that are open for murals, designing Earth Day posters to display and share, creating short films about Earth Day, and more. 

If you care about endangered species, watching documentaries, researching ways to protect your favorite animal, or signing into virtual teach-ins about animal and habitat conservation is another way to celebrate. If you are interested in creating a less polluted, cleaner earth, researching ways to lower pollution and specifically what your community is doing to fight pollution is a way to get involved. Taking what you have learned and using it to help make an impact in your community is what Earth Day is all about!

The Earth Challenge 2020 app also allows you to celebrate by creating lesson plans and activities for your family and friends. Testing your own knowledge about the earth, taking Earth Day quizzes, and sharing results with friends is another way to celebrate Earth Day. has many quizzes and activities for users to take. From finding what animal you are to testing your knowledge of climate change, engaging in an environmental mindset is a way to celebrate. 

If you would rather not participate in Earth Day digitally, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate during these times. Educating our peers about environmental issues and the movement from home is another way to participate in Earth Day. Now more than ever with the striking similarities between the response to the coronavirus pandemic and to climate change, it is a great time to educate our friends and family and interest them in the environmental movement. Educating folks to vote for leaders that care about our environment and spreading the message is a major part of what being an environmentalist is about. With the 2020 elections coming, now is the time to push for the candidates you think will have the most progressive and effective climate policies.

If you have a garden, planting a plant for Earth Day is a classic way to celebrate. Small groups doing plastic cleanups or beach cleanups is a classic way to celebrate as well if your state permits. If you are stuck indoors, personal contributions to sustainability and a cleaner earth are ways to celebrate Earth Day too. Washing your laundry in cold water, using eco-friendly household products, turning off heat dry in your dishwasher, using cloth towels instead of paper towels, reducing your plastic water bottle use, ditching plastic straws, unsubscribing from junk mail, unplugging everything at night, recycling old electronics, repurposing containers, adding plants to your home, and so much more are all ways to celebrate at home without going outside (Schuba, 2020).

Earth Day is the largest secular observance in the world ( It’s about promoting change and bringing more people into the movement. Hopefully, these tips and tricks will get you engaged in the world’s first digital Earth Day! Yes, being inside might not be ideal, but there is still room to celebrate and make change.

Works Cited


Person. “Even Small Lifestyle Changes Can Help You Be Greener in Everyday Life.” Good Housekeeping, Good Housekeeping, 7 Apr. 2020,