Earth Day celebrations `creatively' reimagined
Online events planned to engage people, help them be mindful, organizer says
It's a pandemic Earth Day — a time to officially celebrate the planet's magnificent resources and stunning beauty by staying inside.
Thanks to COVID -19, Earth Day in Windsor has gone virtual this year with an app-driven scavenger hunt and other online events.
“We had to creatively reimagine ways we can still reach out to people and help engage them in environmental awareness even while we're staying at home,” said Danielle Breault Stuebing, director of communications for the Essex Region Conservation Authority.
Thursday is the 51st anniversary of Earth Day, a call to action highlighting the importance of environmental protection now celebrated in more than 190 countries.
The City of Windsor, which declared a local climate emergency last year, started officially celebrating Earth Day 32 years ago.
“This year's theme is Restore Our Earth,” said Karina Richters, the city's supervisor of environmental sustainability and climate change. “We want people to realize there are so many things you can do at home to think about the environment, to improve the environment —individual actions that can really improve environmental sustainability and reduce the effects of climate change in our community.”
Breault Stuebing said those small actions that are “gentler to the Earth” could include turning off lights, adjusting thermostats, buying local, planning trips to avoid unnecessary car rides or cycling instead of driving.
“Just being really mindful about the choices we make every day,” she said. “Large groups of people doing that are going to cumulatively make a big impact.”
To solidify the point that small actions can have huge effects, ERCA, the city and the Essex-windsor
Solid Waste Authority have joined forces to host a virtual scavenger hunt.
“The scavenger hunt is that way of providing people little missions every day to look around their home, explore the environment around them and see where those little things are that they can do,” Richters.
People can access the Earth Day-related missions through the Goosechase app. Breault Stuebing said nearly 500 families have registered. The hunt ends April 25, so there's still time to join and win some prizes.
ERCA is also offering online videos and virtual field trips on its website, and the city is planning an Earth Hour presentation on Thursday with community partners on its Youtube page.
“It's been really cool to see people participating in Earth Day, even in this time when we've got this challenge of the pandemic and we can't come together in our normal way,” said Breault Stuebing.