Today the world celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.
I’ll admit, it’s strange to mark such a monumental occasion from the confines of our homes. I know that on this day in particular most of us would love to be outside standing in solidarity with friends or beautifying our communities, and because of the ongoing dangers of COVID-19, we can’t. But people are resilient. We’re resourceful. And what’s been so amazing to see during this unprecedented time is how much we have all come together, even though we are forced to be apart. So let’s talk about what we can do. To mark the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day you can: inspire, speak up, vote, donate, volunteer, plant, clean up and repeat. You can also attend one of the events or partake in one of the activities included below.
While the Commonwealth has made strides, Pennsylvania is not doing nearly enough to combat climate change. It is an imminent threat that we all face, and passing meaningful legislation gives us an opportunity to leave behind a significant legacy for our children: a healthier planet.
I receive countless emails from constituents urging that we ensure our younger generation is prepared for the climate crisis they may experience. This Earth Day, I encourage parents and guardians to take time to teach kids about the environment and why it is important. We’ve included some resources to do so below.
Poet Ralph Emerson said, “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."
Happy Earth Day. I hope you and your family are staying healthy and safe.
A Brief History of Earth Day
The very first Earth Day was organized by environmental activist Dennis Hayes on April 22, 1970.
Some 20 million people across the United States (about one tenth of the country’s population at the time), from thousands of schools, colleges, universities and communities, took part in demonstrations, marches, and environmental cleanups.
New York City closed down parts of Fifth Avenue and 14th Street for its celebration. A New York Times article covering the day’s event stated, “If the environment had any enemies, they did not make themselves known. Political leaders, governmental departments and corporations have lined up in the ranks of those yearning for a clean, quiet, fume‐free city.”
Earth Day 1970 provided a voice to an emerging environmental consciousness, and it put environmental concerns on the front page. The event achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, urban dwellers and farmers, business and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of other first-of-their-kind environmental laws, including the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Air Act. Two years later Congress passed the Clean Water Act. A year after that, Congress passed the Endangered Species Act and soon after the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. These laws have protected millions of men, women and children from disease and death and have protected hundreds of species from extinction.
My Environmental Legislation
I am very proud to be a long-standing, vocal advocate for the environment. I strongly feel my legislative track record demonstrates a deep commitment to protecting Pennsylvania’s natural resources. Please take a look at some of my 2019-2020 environmental initiatives highlighted below and please consider sharing this information with family and friends and ask them to reach out to their state senators and reps to cosponsor these bills. Together, we can make an impact.
Local and Virtual Earth Day Events
Elmwood Park Zoo’s Zoo School Live
Stay connected with Elmwood Park Zoo through their Facebook live broadcast, weekdays at 11am. During each session, their education team will highlight one of their ambassador animals.
From April 22, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, to April 24, activists, performers, thought leaders, and artists will come together for an empowering, inspiring, and communal three day livestream mobilization.
Earth Day 2020 The Green Amendment
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with us!
We’re showing a one day only exclusive preview of the PBS show, Here’s The Story: The Green Amendment.
Join us to learn more about the Green Amendment movement sweeping the nation.
The 2020 “We Don’t Have Time” Climate Conference presents Earth Day Week, April 20-25
“We Don’t Have Time” will be broadcasting live talks and other daily shows from speakers, thinkers and doers from all over the world.
A Digital Earth Month 2020: Earth Talks at SEATTLEU
Join us for Seattle U's virtual Earth Day event: EARTH TALKS. Students, faculty, and community partners will present short 5-min talks about environmental justice and sustainability research, service and activism. Tune in live and bring your team, class, or club to this online celebration of Earth Day's 50th anniversary which will include an interview with Earth Day co-founder Denis Hayes.
Tune into Climate Change: The Facts
Hosted by Sir David Attenborough and featuring Greta Thunberg, this special airs on PBS at 8 PM. Scientists explore the impact of climate change and what could happen if global warming exceeds 1.5 degrees. Discover how the latest innovations and technology are posing potential solutions and what individuals can do to prevent further damage.
8 Ways To Celebrate Earth Day From Home
Looking for productive ways to celebrate from the safety of your home this Earth Day? My staff and I have compiled some ideas below, from spring cleaning to some fun ideas for kids!
- Take the Earth Challenge.
Coordinated in partnership with the Wilson Center and the US Department of State, this citizen science campaign utilizes a mobile app to collect data and enable global communities to drive meaningful change. Check it out here.
- Do a Few Nature Walk Activities for Earth Day!
One simple way parents and guardians can observe Earth Day is to take learning outside and have children interact with their environment. Nature walks are a fun and easy way to bring your kids outdoors and teach them about their surroundings. Click here for 12 Nature Walk Activities for Earth Day!
- Complete some Earth Friendly Upcycling Crafts.
Look around your house for some neglected items and turn them into something new with these great ideas and guides! These projects are great for kids as well as adults.
- Educate Kids About Earth Day and Why It’s Important
These worksheets are a great way to help kids be educated and get excited about celebrating Earth Day.
19 Fun Projects Your Kids Can Do To Celebrate Earth Day
- #EarthDayAtHome With NASA
On this Earth Day, as we physically separate ourselves by necessity, we can still appreciate the beauty of our planet and the extraordinary science that helps us understand how it all works – all from our homes. Check out NASA’s #EarthDayAtHome activities and resources page and post a picture of you or your child completing one of the activities with the hashtag.
- Make Your Own Compost Pile
Cut down on food waste by building a compost bin at home:
- Use a trash can or a plastic bin that has a lid.
- Drill some holes in the bottom of it, so it can breathe.
- Put in "brown" items first, like grass clippings, leaves, twigs, even shredded newspaper. Coffee and filters too.
- Put in your "green" items - your old food products like egg shells, fruits, vegetables.
- You can even put pet fur in there! The smell of the hair will help detract outdoor animals. But don't put meat scraps or bones in the bin, as that will attract animals.
- Put the lid on it and let the composting begin!
- Collect items for Recycling!
One of the best ways to promote a healthy Earth is to recycle instead of sending items to the landfill. Check out some more information on this below!
- Safely Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste
In the past, both Montgomery and Delaware Counties have held events where residents can dispose of household hazardous waste (HHW) safely. Please be aware that due to COVID-19 and prevention efforts, many of these upcoming disposal events have been canceled.
If you cannot find an alternative way to dispose of an HHW, it is best to temporarily hold on to it until the next HHW disposal event. You can find more information regarding household hazardous waste below.