Earth Day 2020: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary

The world is facing a health crisis that has dramatically changed how we live and work. Namasté Solar has changed how we operate during this pandemic, but we haven’t forgotten about the other looming crisis that is one of the key reasons we are in business to begin with. After all, we are a solar company on a mission to put renewable energy into the hands of homeowners and businesses so that piece by piece we can be part of the solution to the climate crisis.

When talking about the coronavirus, we discuss the peak of the pandemic and when it will happen. When talking about the climate crisis, we discuss the tipping point, and unfortunately there is evidence that we are no longer talking about when that will happen. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “There is alarming evidence that important tipping points, leading to irreversible changes in major ecosystems and the planetary climate system, may already have been reached or passed.”

All of this to say that, while we are focused on the immediate health and economic threats to our communities and businesses, there remains a clear threat to humanity that we can’t ignore. This week will mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and there is an opportunity for us all to come together. Earth Day 2020 is also an opportunity for us to imagine how we want the world to look when we come back together after the pandemic. How will we rebuild our systems for a more sustainable and equitable future?

The First Earth Day

Inspired by the protests of the 1960’s and sparked by the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin first came up with the idea for an earth day celebration. The day April 22nd was chosen so that as many students as possible could be reached with a national teach-in on the environment.

On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day, it is estimated that over 20 million Americans participated in the celebrations – that was 10% of the U.S. population at the time! There were marches, celebrations, demonstrations, and protests across the country. Senator Nelson said, “Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.”

The first Earth Day celebrations created a huge ripple effect, moving public opinion to support environmental protections and gaining bipartisan support for federal action. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1970, and the first Clean Air Act was passed that year as well. Two years later the Clean Water Act was passed, and the Endangered Species Act became law in 1973. Read more about the history of Earth Day here.

Earth Day 2020

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Though we are not celebrating this milestone in the ways we had hoped, Earth Day 2020 will still feature celebrations, reflections, and action across the globe. Watch our social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for climate and sustainability content, and watch this blog for sustainability tips and fun solar energy activities for kids. Instead of the planned marches and events, all Earth Day 2020 activities have been moved online. Below are a few ways for you to engage with Earth Day 2020 and a selection of events to tune into.

Engage Online with Earth Day 2020

  1. Speak up and share what you are fighting for this Earth Day. Is it for your family, for at risk communities, for clean air to breathe? Why is the climate crisis important to you? Use #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE to connect with the larger community.
  2. Earth Day 2020 goes digital! Follow @earthdaynetwork on social media on Wednesday for 24 hours of action. They will be offering a new way that you can demand action and drive change every hour, on the hour. Tune in!

Earth Day 2020 Events

Tuesday, April 21st

  • Zero Waste Webinar: A free webinar on how to reduce your waste and live a low impact lifestyle. Click here to register.

Wednesday, April 22nd

  • Earth Day Live: Activists, performers, thought leaders, and artists come together for a three-day livestream event. Visit earthdaylive2020.org for details.
  • Interaction Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day: This event will launch the new Climate Compact, the largest collective effort that U.S.-based NGOs focused on global development and humanitarian assistance have taken in committing to addressing climate change. The event will feature Mary Robinson, The Chair of the Elders, Former President of Ireland, and Former UN Special Envoy on Climate Change. Click here to sign up for this event.
  • Voices for the Earth Summit: An online gathering of thought leaders to look at how we might come out of this pandemic ready to regenerate our planet and social institutions. Click here to register.
  • Stand Up for Climate Change Comedy Show: (Local event!)  This comedy show is hosted by the Inside the Greenhouse Project at the University of Colorado Boulder. Click here to tune in. 
  • Youth Voices on Climate Action: (Local event!) Join Sustainable Resilient Longmont for a live panel discussion with St. Vrain Valley high school students about the challenging opportunities we face with climate change in our community and how to make a difference. Click here to register.
  • Spirit of the Sun Panel: (Local event!) Join an Indigenous led panel on issues of social and climate justice. Addressing where communities have been targeted and isolated with pollution and corruption is critical in addressing the climate crisis. Click here to register.

Friday, April 24th

  • Earth “Action” Day: This free webinar will include zero waste-inspired steps to climate action, insights and tips from the nationwide Great Forest team, a Q&A session, and a 30-day roadmap to going zero waste at home. Click here to register.

We’re All in This Together

It’s easy to fall into hopelessness during large crises like the ones we are facing. The problem can be overwhelming, and the solution seems so far away and difficult to achieve. But we can either sit in that hopelessness, or we can look around for our opportunity to step up and be part of collective action. As Kim Coupounas of B Labs recently wrote, “We are at a pivotal moment in history, with an opportunity to not only recognize the flaws in the current economic system but to work in collaboration and community to forge together the inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy that will sustain life on this planet.”

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