Spring flowers are starting to bloom. Trees are coming back to life. The weather is turning warmer. Soon, we will all be back outside enjoying Mother Nature.

Earth Day is coming up as well. April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a special day dedicated to environmental protection. This year’s celebration encompasses several components: Citizen Science, Advocacy, Volunteering, Education, Events, and Artists of the Earth.

Citizen Science aims to engage one million citizens across the globe to measure pollution, air, and water quality in an Earth Day 2020 Challenge.

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The advocacy component focuses on getting the public involved in actions to save our planet and become civically engaged in developing the next generation of environmentalists.

Volunteerism centers around one theme “The Great Global Cleanup.” Although cleanup efforts and programs are on hold in most parts of the world, everyone can do their part to ensure trash is not left out and minimize their impact on the Earth.  

Education is probably the single most important aspect of Earth Day 2020. While students are distance learning and social distancing, online webinars and program activities about environmental stewardship for young and old are great ways to educate the public on how make the most impact in taking care of the Earth.

For the first time ever, Earth Day is going digital! Events in person may be on hold as well, but the public can sign up to participate in virtual events and activities online.

The final component is asking artists to join scientists in helping to disseminate and address issues that involve environmental protection, including pollution and climate change to name a few.

While recent news has focused on the global pandemic, one startling occurrence has happened. Since much of the population has been in quarantine and less traffic is on the road and waterways, the earth has been recovering. The Himalayan Mountains are more visible and the water in Venice canals are clear. Air and water pollution are declining over major cities. While some say these changes are only temporary, we can take steps to make them more permanent by reducing waste of our natural resources and taking a hard look at our impact on the climate. Let’s make a difference and make the 50th anniversary of Earth Day more meaningful than ever before.