Graphic shows events planned for Earth Day 2020.


Earth Day turns 50 amid coronavirus lockdowns

By Duncan Mil

April 22, 2020 - Earth Day 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the world’s most significant environmental movement. This year’s Earth Day plans to activate one billion people online to address climate change issues.

This year’s push to raise public awareness about the environment and inspire actions to protect it, held each April 22, comes with social distancing restrictions in place around the world to fight the spread of coronavirus.

But organisers, the Earth Day Network, and environmentalists are pushing ahead with celebrations - using apps, webinars and digital campaigns.

The Earth Day Network has created a citizen science initiative called Earth Challenge 2020 with the U.S. Department of State’s Eco-Capitals Forum and the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

Earth Challenge 2020, is a mobile phone app that allows users to take images and upload them to provide local data on critical environmental issues -- air quality, plastic pollution, and insect populations. The app can also verify satellite data on what crops are being grown around the world. This data will allow researchers to fight hunger better.

Earth Day co-founder Denis Hayes coordinated the first U.S. Earth Day in 1970 and expanded it internationally in 1990. It may be difficult for people to feel encouraged and hopeful for the planet amid the coronavirus pandemic, Hayes admitted, talking to USA TODAY.

“It is depressing,” Hayes said.” But I got a message for you: We’ve not reached the end of the line. We’ve still got time to be able to turn this around before we reach tipping points that do become irreversible.”

PUBLISHED: 20/04/2020; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images
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