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Earth Day sign

Numerous Earth Day events have been postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19. However, at this time, the Earth seems to be celebrating Earth Day herself. Because of the many shelter-in-place policies, many areas of the world are seeing clearer skies with noticeably less smog, cleaner streets, and less noise, air, and water pollution.

50th Anniversary

Wednesday, April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day founded by former United States Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. Earth Day was first observed in 1970 with an estimated 20 million people attending environmental festivities across the nation. Today, more than 1 billion people join in on the celebration.

Prior to COVID-19, large public celebrations were in the works worldwide. Even though this disease has limited people’s abilities to celebrate a traditional Earth Day, people can think outside the box to commemorate this occasion.

While people are social distancing inside, outside our doors birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and rivers are still flowing. This Earth Day, there are many ways to celebrate Mother Earth and the environmental advances made over the past 50 years.

Observing Earth Day

Environmental organizations, businesses, and state and local government agencies are working to spread the go green Earth Day message. Virtual tours, free webinars, and digital learning experiences are available for children, parents, and educators. Many of these are available on the Earth Day website.

Here are some other ways to celebrate Earth Day 2020 while sheltering-in-place.

  • Take a virtual tour of an environmental museum or facility.
  • Participate in an environmental education webinar.
  • Make a nature-inspired video.
  • Participate in a virtual run or walk.
  • Make an Earth Day inspired snack.
  • Participate in a virtual Earth Day art session.
  • Listen to an environmental justice interview via radio.
  • Play backyard bingo with children.
  • Participate in a virtual environmental movie watch party.
  • Participate in a virtual rain garden workshop.
  • Take in some bird watching. Build a bird house, nesting bag, or feeder. Check out this video on building a bird nesting bundle.
  • Learn how to plant a tree via YouTube.
  • Switch off lights and appliances that are not in use.
  • Create a recycling station.
  • Start a compost pile in the backyard.
  • Work outside in the flowerbed or garden.
  • Post a call to action video on social media.

Spend a little time this week thinking about how to practice environmental stewardship and observe Earth Day. Make a challenge to recycle more, save energy, conserve natural resources, reduce pollution, and respect the environment and all living things. Visit www.aces.edu for additional information on environmental resources offered by Alabama Extension.


Earth Day.” Wikipedia: The free encyclopedia. Accessed April 21, 2020.

Kummer, Frank. 2020 “How to celebrate Earth Day’s 50th anniversary while following stay-at-home orders.” The Philadelphia Inquirer. Accessed April 21, 2020.

Liles, Maryn. 2020. “Looking for the Best Earth Day Activities? Here Are 15 Fun Ways to Celebrate Earth Day.” Accessed April 21, 2020.

Mackley, Jenna. 2020. “How to Celebrate Earth Day While Staying Home During COVID-19.” Accessed April 21, 2020.

The Library of Congress. 2020. “The First Earth Day April 22, 1970.” Accessed April 21, 2020.

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