How to Participate in Earth Day 2021


“One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature should not be broken.”

Marja-Helena Barrett, Staff Writer

The first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970, after people became increasingly more aware of environmental concerns and their effect on human health due to the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962. Wisconsin Senator, Gaylord Nelson, was inspired by current anti-war protests to create a grassroots demonstration that protested issues such as pesticide use and air and water pollution. 20 million Americans joined in on this protest.

Climate change poses a huge threat to the world. It has led to increased global temperatures which in turn lead to more droughts, stronger hurricanes, a rise in sea level, and the displacement of habitats among many other things. Today, as the effects of climate change become increasingly apparent, participation in Earth Day events is a great way to inspire individual as well as policy changes.

Earth Day has led to the passage of several landmark laws in the past, including the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Endangered Species Acts, as well as the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The United Nations even picked Earth Day as the day to sign the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016.

So what should you do this Earth Day, as the world is in the midst of a deadly pandemic? The truth is, you can do just about anything, as long as it honors and protects our earth. However, there are several specific actions you can take and events you can attend. is holding a three-day-long Earth Day event that you can attend virtually. It begins on April 20th with a global youth summit that consists of panels and speeches with the youth activists of today, such as Greta Thunberg. Later that evening, the Hip Hop Caucus presents the “We Shall Breathe” summit focusing on environmental justice. Tomorrow on April 21, Education International will lead the “Teach for the Planet: Global Education Summit” that will promote activists from around the world. Finally, on April 22, which is Earth Day, will host another live event including workshops, discussion, and performances. 

In addition, National Geographic is hosting an event on April 21 at 8:30 pm called Earth Day Eve 2021. This celebration will include music performances and storytelling. National Geographic says, “Through the combined power of music and storytelling, you’ll leave uplifted, energized, and with a renewed commitment to living more lightly on the planet.”

An alternative Earth Day event for all the comedians out there is “Wits & Roots: Trivia and Comedy Earth Day Spectacular.” Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) is partnering with Grassroots Comedy DC to host a virtual trivia and comedy show at 8 pm on April 22. The featured comedians include Brittany Carney, Matt Gubster, and Violet Gray. A prize will be awarded to the winning trivia team and proceeds will help CCAN protect the environment. You can find more information on how to attend the event by clicking on the link provided.

For all of those interested in cooking, attend an online earth day sustainable cooking class on April 27 at 7 pm hosted by the Doral Yard and Debris Free Oceans. This one-hour event highlights the importance of reducing waste and teaches you how to make a Debris Free Oceans Earth Day Bowl. If you choose to attend, you’ll receive a shopping list before the event so you can cook as you are being taught.

If you want to take a more interactive approach to celebrate Earth Day, The Nature Conservancy Virginia is hosting guided hikes around Charlottesville. There are several hikes you can choose from, including a bird hike on April 22, a tree identification hike on April 24, and a reptile hike on May 3, among others. On these hikes, guides will teach you how to identify certain species, as well as how to use the app iNaturalist. 

If you would rather opt for celebrating earth day by yourself, there are many options for that too! Riding your bike or walking instead of driving, recycling, planting a tree, buying a reusable water bottle, buying reusable grocery bags, not eating meat for a day, turning off your lights when you aren’t in the room, buying used clothes instead of new ones, and even just spending some time outside are all great ways to honor the earth.  

Of course, these aren’t the only ways you can celebrate earth day, and more links will be provided below. The most important thing though is remembering that the earth is our home, and without it, we have nothing. As Leo Tolstoy once said, “One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature should not be broken.” I hope you’ll consider joining me and many others as we celebrate and honor the earth this Earth Day.


More Earth Day Fun: