Amid the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, Earth Day Network, the global organiser of Earth Day, will mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with the first Digital Earth Day, a global digital mobilisation on April 22 to address the most urgent threats to people and the planet.
“At Earth Day Network, the health and safety of volunteers and participants in Earth Day events is our top concern. Amid the recent outbreak, we encourage people to rise up but to do so safely and responsibly – in many cases, that means using our voices to drive action online rather than in person,” says Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network.
The pandemic will affect regions and countries differently, and some individuals and communities may decide to still hold in-person events. Earth Day Network urges everyone to assess their situation individually, take precautions and follow the recommendations and advice from the World Health Organization and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from local authorities from your city and country.
“Whether it be coronavirus or our global climate crisis, we cannot shut down,” says Rogers. “Instead, we must shift our energies and efforts to new ways to mobilise the world to action.”
Earth Day’s updated digital-first strategy will leverage the global power of some of the world’s most innovative digital media platforms to mobilise millions in a collective call for transformative action for our planet. The coordination will deliver an Earth Day unlike any other in history as the movement marks its 50th anniversary.
The global conversation will be unified and tracked by the shared hashtags #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE. Earth Day Network will provide live coverage of the global digital mobilisations from its social media accounts (@earthdaynetwork). Plans are also underway to develop a major global event, coordinated across digital platforms to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22.
Other digital events will include virtual protests, social media campaigns, online teach-ins and more. A full scope of digital actions will be available at earthday.org.
Whether online or in person, the goal of Earth Day remains unchanged: to unite hundreds of millions of people around the world to pressure world leaders to act on environmental degradation and climate change.
“When 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day, they believed the warnings of scientists, as did the US Congress,” says Denis Hayes, Board Chair Emeritus of Earth Day Network and the principal national organiser of the first Earth Day in 1970. “In a decade of bipartisan support for science, Congress passed a set of forward-thinking laws that protected human health, species and the planet.”
“Our current pandemic demonstrates that governments must embrace science early. As we see now, many governments were slow to respond or even indifferent about the science of the coronavirus pandemic,” says Rogers. “But the last few weeks have also demonstrated that our society, even at the international level, is capable of mass shifts across all sectors to meet a crisis head-on. We must apply the same scale and urgency of our response to climate change.”
“We hope you will stand with us as we fight for a safer, healthier and more just future for all,” adds Rogers. “Together, we can build an Earth Day unlike any other – an Earth Day that defines us as a global community, united by our challenges yet unshrinking from the bold, urgent action needed to overcome them.”
Earth Day Network is also postponing its live 50th anniversary of Earth Day event on the National Mall, originally scheduled for April 25, 2020, moving the live global event to October 24-25, 2020 to mark the half birthday of Earth Day.