This year, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. The connection that we have to nature, plants, and the land is integral to our health and all that we are. Earth Day reminds us to take care of our planet—whether it’s cleaning up litter, planting more trees, recycling and repurposing, or going on a walk in a green space amidst the wildflowers. See ideas to celebrate!
The “green things growing” whisper me
Of many an earth-old mystery.
–Eben Eugene Rexford
The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day
Earth Day 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of this holiday. Typically, Earth Day is assigned a different theme or area of focus each year; this year’s theme is Climate Action.
Most years, Earth Day events range from river cleanups to invasive removals. With social distancing in place for many of us this April, Earth Day has gone digital. Virtual events, like environmental lectures and films, will take place on Earth Day (Wednesday, April 22) instead. To see a catalogue of official events, visit earthday.org.
Of course, social distancing doesn’t mean that you can’t go outside and enjoy nature, as long as you do so responsibly! Nature is not cancelled!
What Is Earth Day?
Ever wonder how Earth Day began? The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970. Dealing with dangerously serious issues concerning toxic drinking water, air pollution, and the effects of pesticides, an impressive 20 million Americans—10% of the population—ventured outdoors and protested together.
President Richard Nixon lead the nation in creating the Environmental Protection Agency which followed with successful laws including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. Read more from EarthSky.org.
McConnell originally chose the spring equinox (March 21, 1970) and Nelson chose April 22, which ended up becoming the official celebration date. (Given that the date of the spring equinox changes over time, it could have made things more complicated to go with that date!)
Today, Earth Day is not only a day to increase awareness of environmental problems but it’s also become a popular day for many communities to gather together and clean up litter, plant trees, or simply reflect on the beauty of nature. We’ve provided a list of activities and projects that you can do to improve your local environment further down the page!
When Is Earth Day?
Earth Day is always celebrated on April 22. It’s followed closely by Arbor Day, which falls on the last Friday in April.
|2020||Wednesday, April 22|
|2021||Thursday, April 22|
|2022||Friday, April 22|
|2023||Saturday, April 22|
10 Earth Day Activities and Ideas
Celebrate Earth Day by appreciating and respecting the natural world. Here are some ideas to inspire you!
- Support our native bees: The super-pollinators of the garden are … native bees! Learn more about these amazing heroes of pollination—and see how to make a native bee house (much like a bird house!). See how to make a bee-friendly garden habitat.
- Recycle and repurpose! Gardening needn’t be expensive. See ideas on recycling and repurposing garden items to make something out of nothing—and save money! We also have ideas on how to reuse in the kitchen and in the home and re-purpose everyday household items!
- Plant wildflowers! We’ll show you how to grow wildflowers in your garden for the pollinators—and to lift your spirits, too! Also, see our guide on choosing wildflower varieties which will thrive where you live.
- Reduce plastic dependency: Plastic permeates every aspect of our lives, including the garden. But as the world wakes up to its addiction, just how easy is it to ditch plastic while growing and storing more of our own food? See our ideas on how to garden without plastic. Don’t forget to recycle what plastic you can. See a Plastics Recycling Chart. And also, know what’s in all those bottled drinks!
- Go native! Plants thrive best when they’re natural to your area. See our article on native plant landscaping and 10 tips for an eco-friendly garden.
- Bring nature into the garden with plants that attract butterflies and plants that attract hummingbirds!
- Start an organic vegetable garden. Here are tips on organic seed-starting, and our Beginner’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening to get you started.
- Conserve water! See our tips for watering wisely in the garden and tips on how to create your own rain garden. Also, avoid over-watering. Know how much your garden really needs with our watering chart! Watch our video demonstrating 10 smart watering tips for a healthy garden garden.
- Plant more trees! Talk to your local government about planting more trees and native garden beds in public spaces, or consider planting your own on your property! See advice on how to plant a tree as well a our video demonstrating how to plant a fruit tree.
- Get kids involved! Pass down a love of nature and plants with kids. See our ideas on gardening with kids and also 6 simple kids’ planting activities from the Kids Almanac!
Find a ton of stay-at-home Earth Day ideas here: Celebrating Earth Day at Home
Earth Day Quotes and Poetry
Wish a friend a Happy Earth Day with one of these beautiful quotes!
The thirsty earth soaks up the rain,
And drinks, and gapes for drink again.
The plants suck in the earth and are
With constant drinking fresh and fair.
Summer, fall, winter, spring,
The seasons rotate as each brings
Its special beauty to this Earth of ours.
Winter’s snow and summer’s flowers;
Frozen rivers will flow come spring,
There is a renewal of everything.
The season comes when, from her three-month trance,
The Earth awakens: already her deep heart
Begins to stir, and send its life abroad.
–Thomas Buchanan Read (1822–72)
While the bright radiant sun in centre glows,
The earth in annual motion round it goes;
At the same time on its own axis reels,
And gives us change of seasons as it wheels.
–The 1793 Old Farmer’s Almanac
How do you celebrate Earth Day? Share in the comments below!