Your guide to Earth Day 2020

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People walk past an Earth globe sculpture at Thea's Park in Tacoma, Wash., with the WestRock Paper Mill in the background. Wednesday is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and observance that helped spur activism against air and water pollution and disappearing plants and animals, but ongoing challenges remain throughout the world. Photo by Ted S. Warren/AP

People walk past an Earth globe sculpture at Thea’s Park in Tacoma, Wash., with the WestRock Paper Mill in the background. Wednesday is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and observance that helped spur activism against air and water pollution and disappearing plants and animals, but ongoing challenges remain throughout the world. Photo by Ted S. Warren/AP

With the world focused on fighting COVID-19, it is refreshing to focus on something other than a pandemic. Earth Day celebrated its 50th anniversary this year and in case you’re wondering what the holiday is all about, here is a helpful guide.

Earth Day was founded on April 22, 1970 as a way to raise awareness about climate change and pollution. It is now celebrated in over 192 countries, according to earthdaynetwork.com. 

This year’s theme was climate action, a process that has five core steps. One important step is climate science, which is the science behind the earth’s climate such as water quality, pollution and air quality. Another step is advocacy, which includes organizing and demanding lawmakers to create policies that would help the environment. 

An important component of climate action is volunteering, or giving time to help the environment. Volunteering can range from planting trees in a local park to picking up trash off the beach. 

Education is also a vital step, since people need to be educated about the planet and how the climate functions. A final step towards climate action is hosting events that not only follow social distancing guidelines, but that address climate change.

But what can you do to help the environment during the pandemic? Try recycling as much material as possible so it won’t end up in landfills. It should be noted that items such as pizza boxes or bent cans are not recyclable since they cannot be used again. 

Another way to be eco-friendly during the pandemic is to walk as much as possible to grab essential items instead of driving. If that is not possible, try biking or carpooling. Also try eating more vegetables and fruits if possible since they are more environmentally friendly than eating meat. 

One way to cut back on energy usage is by skipping the dryer and drying your clothes outside. This may seem archaic, but by not using your dryer you use less energy which is more than likely powered by fossil fuels, which are bad for the environment.

It’s okay if you have a hard time being environmentally friendly during this pandemic; it’s a stressful situation. One important thing to keep in mind during the pandemic is not to litter any face masks or protective gear on the ground since they can clog up waterways and lead to pollution.

Also pay attention to how much gas you are putting into your car. The average price for gas in Connecticut according to AAA is $1.96, but don’t buy a gas guzzling car just because of low gas prices, since gasoline emits carbon dioxide which leads to the greenhouse effect. 

If you would like to know more about Earth Day and what you can do for the environment, visit earthday.org or check out your state’s environment website. You can also help celebrate Earth Day by spreading the word about climate change through social media. 

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Ian Ward is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at ian.ward@uconn.edu.

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