As we celebrate Earth Day 2020, the Earth looks and feels quite different than it normally does. This year marks the 50th celebration of Earth Day and the COVID-19 pandemic, has drastically impacted our physical, social, and economic worlds. Even so, people are banding together and finding a “new normal,” — one that demonstrates resilience. We can still pursue our projects and initiatives, though; we just need to do it differently. And, at least for now, our communication must be virtual.
Energy Corps AmeriCorps members have quickly adapted their service, exemplifying this resilience. Earth Day is an important event, one than typically involves a wide range of events and activities planned and carried out by members. In the face of physical distancing and shelter-in-place orders, members have refocused their efforts to embrace creative virtual opportunities.
For example, Alli Kane, Energy and Climate Educator in Missoula, has taken an artistic approach to increasing awareness and getting people excited about Earth Day. Earth Day Art 4 All is a community art project led by Climate Smart Missoula and Families for a Livable Climate, and anyone with a creative itch can join. Alli encourages people to create Earth Day-related art to display outside their home, such as banners, window art, or sidewalk chalk drawings. Participants can send a photo of their art to firstname.lastname@example.org and those submissions will be used to produce a virtual art show. The broad theme of this art project is “Healthy People, Healthy Community, Healthy Plant,” but get creative and show your love for our planet in any way you choose. Visit their website for more information.
Robin Adams, Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Red Lodge, is dedicating an entire week to celebrate Earth Day by hosting daily virtual activities and tours. The week’s activities include a Solar Q&A with experts Henry Dykema of Sundance Solar Systems and Andrew Valainis of the Montana Renewable Energy Association; a Critter and Plant Hunt using iNaturalist social networking site; a Beartooth Passive Home Live Tour; and a Community Movie Night. Visit their website to learn how you can get involved.
Maia Madrid, Electric Vehicle Outreach Coordinator for the Department of Environmental Quality, has created a visual interview graphic series that displays feedback from Electric Vehicle (EV) owners. A part of Maia’s service is to develop this project and provide insight into driving and buying EVs. There are only four car dealerships in Montana that sell EVs and she is working to expand awareness of this sustainable transportation technology. The visual interview project will be launched in honor of Earth Day, and you can check it out on their website.
Check out these and other virtual events and get involved!
We want to thank Energy Corps and their host-site organizations for so eloquently transitioning regular programming to an online outlet. The motivation, dedication, and creativity displayed by this group is inspirational during these uncertain times. Other organizations are providing opportunities to be involved in the festivities, like the National Park Foundation providing virtual park tours, as well as Earth Day Live events found on the official Earth Day website. What better way to recognize that we, as a collective, can be resilient to hardship and therefore able to collectively revive the health of our planet and its people.