22 April is Earth Day. While the corona virus (COVID-19) has been spreading around the world and dominating news headlines, thoughts and attention, the need to take climate action has remained as urgent as ever.  

Earth day 2020 is not just the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, but also the anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement to take climate action.

The pandemic is a stark reminder of the vulnerability of humans and the planet in the face of global scale threats. Unchecked damage to our environment must be addressed, as we see more of these viruses now we need to understand why they are showing up.  So a little history about Earth Day.

The first Earth Day took place in 1970. Outraged by oil spills, smog and polluted rivers, 20 million people took to the streets, protesting what they recognized as an environmental crisis. It was the planet’s largest civic event at the time and compelled governments to take concrete actions, including passing environmental laws and establishing environmental protection agency. In addition to these practical outcomes, the event demonstrated just how much can be achieved when people come together and demand action.

Earth Day in 2020

Marking its half-century anniversary, and selecting climate action as its theme, Earth Day 2020 was already poised to be a historic event. An occasion planned to bring people physically together across a series of events, COVID-19 has now prompted a dramatic shift to completely digital and virtual platforms. Earth Day 2020 calls for 24 hours of actions, big and small, for people and the planet. On this 50th anniversary, civil society organizers hope to fill the world’s digital landscape with global conversations, positive acts, performances, webinars and events supporting urgent action on climate change.

What we can see is that Climate change has compounded problems with COVID-19 (the 6th corona virus). So, why are we seeing more of the corona viruses, its really due to the shrinking of some animal populations, depriving them of the genetic diversity needed to control disease. It forces others to migrate, producing new kinds of animal-to-animal and animal-to-human interactions. Studies have linked outbreaks of several zoonotic diseases to extreme weather events such as droughts and floods that are expected to become more common as the planet warms.

So what can we do?

On April 22, you can join earthday.org live-streamed discussions, events and actions you can take from wherever you are located. Explore the many virtual Earth Day events via this directory to online events across global time zones. There are new tools for volunteering and advocacy and opportunities to participate as citizen scientists–using the Earth Challenge 2020 app to measure data such as air quality and plastic pollution, right where you are.  There are challenges for daily action; graphics for sharing on social media; tips for making your own Earth Day window sign; and a place to tell others about your own personal “act of green.”

Just like on the first Earth Day, 50 years ago, it is time to demonstrate solidarity, take action and send a clear message to world leaders to act on climate change, halt biodiversity and habitat loss, and make certain environmental protection is a fundamental foundation of building back better.  Remember Brazil and Australia on fire last year, these events all have consequences as humanity does not live in its own bubble, in fact, everything on earth lives in The Bubble. We are connected one way or the other to world events not just in the United States.

In Summary and the $200 Trillion dollar question –

Looking ahead to the next 50 years, and in the lead up to World Environment Day on 5 June, information will be shared on actions that can be taken to protect biodiversity, to contribute reforestation efforts of degraded landscapes and to commit to the overall sustainable management of natural resources.  Because we all now know, this is not the first corona virus, but we can be ready for the next and what we do to keep new versions from coming.

The world just spent $200 Trillion, imagine what we could have done with those resources in the renewable industry, creating American jobs, and futures we can all feel confident are still there for our children.