Wednesday, April 22, marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the environmental community’s most prominent day of the year. While this year’s celebrations won’t include outdoor festivals or group trash cleanups because of local stay-at-home orders for the coronavirus pandemic, there are still plenty of ways to protect, learn about, and celebrate the Earth from home. Here are several.
Support the Earth and local artists with music
On Tuesday, Maryland-based arts organizations Carpe Diem Arts and the Washington Revels are hosting an online musical festival to commemorate Earth Day, featuring local and international performers. Denis Hayes, a co-founder of the global event’s 1970 debut, will be a guest speaker. The event is free to watch on Facebook Live, but the organizers are requesting donations to support the artists during the current lull in performances. The show kicks off at 6:30 p.m.
Attend the Smithsonian Earth Optimism Digital Summit
The Smithsonian Conservation Commons—a coalition of scientists, researchers, and historians from the Smithsonian Institution—is hosting a four-day virtual Earth Day celebration from Wednesday through Saturday. The event, “Earth Optimism,” will feature film screenings and online lectures from speakers including chef José Andrés and Hayes, the Earth Day co-founder. Instead of focusing on the threats of habitat loss, climate change, and species endangerment, the coalition says it will celebrate actions that have benefited the environment and highlight ways for future success. All the sessions will be available on the Earth Optimism‘s website, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook Live.
Live-stream a multi-faith celebration
On Wednesday, the Washington National Cathedral is partnering with Interfaith Power & Light, a national network of faith organizations dedicated to combating climate change, for a virtual Earth Day celebration. Through an online prayer-and-song service, leaders representing various religions—including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, and others—will share scripture honoring the Earth and call people to action. The service can be live streamed at 8 p.m. on the National Cathedral’s Facebook page.
If you miss the cherry blossoms…
Although visiting D.C.’s famous cherry blossom trees along the Tidal Basin isn’t in the cards right now (peak bloom has passed, in any event), there’s a digital way to explore their pink and white petals thanks to Google Earth. The “Cherry Blossoms Around The World” tour takes viewers to ten beautiful cherry-blossom sites in countries ranging from Brazil to Japan. Marvel at their glory from the comfort of your couch.
Attend a public art performance virtually
D.C.-based Bangladeshi-American artist Monica Jahan Bose and filmmaker Robin Bell will present a virtual public-art performance of “WARMING WATERS,” a storytelling project featuring climate-themed saris. The installation is a part of Bose’s Storytelling With Saris initiative, a collaborative art and advocacy project that connects the District to Bangladesh’s Katakhali Village. The presentation will include video messages from the head of D.C.’s arts commission and the director of gender equity and the environment at the Sierra Club. Join in through Facebook Live, from 12 to 1 p.m. on Wednesday.
Turn your old clothes into a mask
Since most of us are largely stuck inside during spring-cleaning season, now is the perfect time to sort through that stack of 15 striped shirts in the back of your closet. Instead of throwing out used clothing, recycle it into a homemade mask or donate the fabric to a local group that will make it into a mask for you. There are plenty of online how-tos about mask-making (or you could even just search for “mask making” during your next TikTok scrolling session). The “Million Mask Challenge,” an initiative started by crafty Washingtonians, has step-by-step guides for sewing masks and resources for donating them. If you’re not the best with thread and a needle, local businesses like Something Vintage and Carine’s Bridal are accepting fabric for their own mask-making.