The EcoWatch Guide to Earth Day 2023
Since it helped launch a new era of environmental activism and policy in 1970, Earth Day has become the highlight of the green calendar.
As more and more people around the world participate, the protests, cleanups and celebrations have sprouted outward from just one Earth Day – April 22 – to cover an entire Earth Month. This year, the official theme from EARTHDAY.ORG is “Invest in Our Planet.”
“Earth Day is about the billions of individual actions taken worldwide towards a greener, more equitable future. We have the money, the ingenuity, and the resources,” EARTHDAY.ORG President Kathleen Rogers said in a statement. “If governments, institutions, businesses, and individuals each Invest in Our Planet by allocating time, money, innovation, and social commitment towards these areas of action we can solve climate change.”
Here are some of the many ways you can “invest in our planet” this Earth Month.
1. Celebrate “Earth Week”
This year, EARTHDAY.ORG is organizing its first ever Earth Week from April 14 to 22. This includes Earth Day Live events that anyone can access virtually as well as in-person events in every time zone.
The organization’s Earth Day Live series grew out of the first ever digital Earth Day at the height of the coronavirus lockdown in 2020. This year, the series kicks off Friday, April 14 at 12 p.m. ET with a talk titled “Fashion’s Age of Invention – Part II: Toward a Balance with Nature,” that discusses innovations in fashion recycling, transparency and reducing overproduction and waste. Other events include talks on pressuring elected officials, COP28, tree planting and green gaming. The series wraps on Earth Day itself at 2 p.m. ET with “Earth Day Fiesta: Collective Advocacy for Climate Action.”
In person events are scheduled all over the world, from the Hawaiian islands, where Kanu Hawaii is attempting the largest-ever dive cleanup, to the streets of London, where Extinction Rebellion is mobilizing 100,000 people to gather at the Houses of Parliament Earth Day weekend for what may be the largest environmental protest of the year so far. In Washington, D.C., climate activists are planning an Earth Day march to “End the Era of Fossil Fuels.” You can also find an event near you or even register your own on the EARTHDAY.ORG website.
“There is unlimited opportunity to right the wrongs of past actions and build a new version of society,” Rogers said. “But, we have a very short window of time and we need everyone to Invest in Our Planet now!”
2. Join the Festival
The Earth Day Initiative is also planning a hybrid in-person and digital event schedule. The Earth Day 2023 Festival will take place Saturday, April 16 in New York’s Union Square, while the Earth Day 2023 Virtual Stage will stream live on Wednesday, April 19.
The Earth Day Festival will run from 12 to 6 p.m. ET with booths organized by area environmental groups and initiatives from 511NYRideshare to Grounds For A Peel Composting Inc. to Sunrise NYC. If you live in NYC or plan to be there for the weekend, you can sign up for a workshop on making your own bioplastics or charting a new, green career pathway.
If you’re not in NYC, you can still log in to the Virtual Stage starting at 4 p.m. ET by following this link. Watch Bill Nye the Science Guy give a tutorial on methane, learn Philippe Cousteau’s tips for protecting the ocean and listen to an interview with climate scientist and communicator Katharine Hayhoe, among other talks.
“Our mission is to bring the spirit of the first Earth Day, when ten percent of the population of the entire country turned out for Earth Day events, into the 21st Century,” Earth Day Initiative Executive Director John Oppermann said in a statement emailed to EcoWatch. “Our virtual stage programming and our in-person festival in New York City provide ways for people to plug into ongoing climate and environmental campaigns at a pivotal time. We’re at a moment of high hopes but also high anxiety as we see some progress on climate change but also ever-increasing signs of the climate crisis popping up around us. We’re connecting people to ways they can make a positive impact in their own lives and communities.“
3. Protect Polar Bears
The climate crisis poses the “single most important threat” to the survival of polar bears, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. The burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests is warming the Arctic almost four times faster than the global average, melting the sea ice that provides polar bears with hunting space, breeding grounds and habitat and helps keep the rest of us cool.
That’s why Polar Bears International (PBI) is urging polar bear lovers everywhere to advocate for climate action this Earth Day. In particular, the group wants people to share the latest Sixth Assessment Synthesis Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which it calls a “roadmap to a stable climate.”
“No longer can anyone say, ‘We don’t know what to do or where to start,’” PBI Executive Director Krista Wright said in an email to EcoWatch. “The plan is there – now we get to bring it to life.”
In addition to sharing the report, PBI has outlined a range of ways to get involved this Earth Day. You can
- Watch a TED Talk out now from PBI Director of Conservation Outreach and staff scientist Alysa McCall on how to coexist with polar bears.
- Watch live events on the day itself on the PBI’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
- Learn how to use your vote and pressure elected officials on behalf of polar bears via the Advocacy Toolkit.
- Send a free Earth Day e-card to friends and family.
“This Earth Day, we’re encouraging citizens to come together to act on climate change, which is warming the planet, melting Arctic sea ice, and impacting polar bears and people around the globe,” Wright said. “All of us can use our skills and passions to make a difference – whether we’re sharing the latest IPCC report with our representatives, getting involved with local projects, or talking about climate change with our friends, family, and colleagues, helping to make it a kitchen-table issue.”