May 2020

Celebrating an Earth Day Like None Other

Canals in Venice, ItalyCanals in Venice, Italy

Canals in Venice, Italy
Many people in Italy have been following stay-at-home orders to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Because of this, there has been little activity on the canals in Venice. This has caused the water in the canals to look clearer than it has in a long time.

This year on April 22, the world came together on their computers in their own homes to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. This is not what you’d normally expect people to do on the day set aside to celebrate Earth! Earth Day is usually observed with tree plantings, park cleanups, and other outdoor gatherings. But with the COVID-19 pandemic causing people to stay home and stay safe, people had to come up with creative ways to mark this special day.

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on human life and the global economy, it has helped the environment in some ways. The skies and waterways in some cities now have much less pollution. For example, Los Angeles, California, was smog-free in April, and water in the Ganges, India’s longest river, looked much clearer than it had in a while. These changes are due in part to so many people working or going to school from home to stay safe. People are not traveling as much in cars, trains, boats, and airplanes. Also, many industries have slowed down, which has a caused a decrease in the amount of pollution entering the environment.

Experts think that staying home will cause the burning of fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) to drop 5 percent this year. But still the changes happening this year are fewer than what many scientists say need to be made every year to avoid the harmful impact of climate change around the world. Environmentalists hope that the improvements will help people see the need to use fewer resources and make other changes. They also believe that creating jobs in renewable energy could help the economy recover as well as the environment.

On Earth Day 2020, many people celebrated the 50th anniversary by gathering around their computers and watching a live-streamed event called Earth Day Live 2020. The Earth Day Network hosted this all-day watch party. The network asked those watching to “hug a tree, not each other” as a reminder for social distancing. Activists, musicians, actors, and government officials in 193 different countries participated in the event. They honored planet Earth by giving performances that encouraged people to help protect the environment. They even suggested activities that people could do in their own homes or backyards.

Some of the more notable people who took part in the live stream were Denis Hayes, who organized the very first Earth Day event, former Vice President Al Gore, and marine biologist Sylvia Earle. They all shared their belief that important actions need to be taken now to preserve and protect Earth’s environment.

Image credit: Simone Padovani/Shutterstock

Related Links

Question 1
Where did many people celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day?

Question 2
What do experts think will decrease this year because of people staying home?

Rate this story:
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars