Our favorite time of the year is finally here! Obviously, we don’t wait until April to celebrate our lovely planet (and you shouldn’t either!) but we will absolutely take any excuse to talk about all the ways we can take care of Mother Earth. Before we dive into all the wonderful events our team has already held this month, here is a quick Earth Day trivia question.
How many people are estimated to celebrate Earth Day every year?
Answer: 1 billion people are estimated to celebrate according to EarthDay.org!!
In today’s day and age, 1 billion people means a whole lot of Instagram posts.
Every Earth Day, our feeds are often flooded with images of our beautiful planet. From flowers to landscapes, to sunrises and sunsets – all of these images are lovely to look at but we can take this art form one step further. Earlier this month, our campus chapters at Colorado State University, Ohio State University (OSU), and Central College in Iowa all hosted events focused on the important intersection between art and activism.
The Central College team, led by Leighia VanDam and Savannah Sexton, put together Beyond Plastics Crafting Night, a time for sustainability and creativity. Participants gathered to talk about ways that they prioritize sustainable choices in their daily lives while also using their artistic skills to decorate reusable mugs and grocery bags. It can be difficult, and sometimes expensive, to maintain sustainable habits, but that doesn’t mean every option is out of reach. Later this month Defend will be releasing a series of informational posts on sustainable habits that don’t break the bank, so stay in touch to make sure you don’t miss it!
Campus Ambassadors Henry Schuellerman and Addy Zenko hosted an Art & Climate Justice workshop for their peers at OSU that drew a crowd of 10 students. The group spent the night creating environmentally-minded collages and talking about how they can take action on climate justice in their own lives.
CSU’s event was doubly special because Campus Ambassador Morgan Brown took over our Instagram account to share everything that happened! Check out our story highlight “CSU Takeover” to see why this Defend Our Art event was such a huge success. The chapter hosted four local artists, with mediums ranging from screenprinting to painting. Attendees were able to check out the work of these artists and chat with them about why climate is so important to their work. Mag, the artist featured in the photo below shared their thought process when creating the art she showed.
“My art examines human feelings towards our planet – the gratitude for the life it has made and the home it provides for us, the joy of humanity, the guilt over our role we have played in killing that which has given us so much, the fear we now feel on a planet we continue to make increasingly unlivable for ourselves and other organisms,” said Mag. “Despite recognizing our dark role in causing our environmental destruction, I hope that my work conveys a love for humanity. I wish to inspire reflection on our relationship with the world and the oneness of all living beings.”
The thoughts shared by Mag (whose art can be found at @the_goblin_den) and the other artists show how we can all use our personal talents to connect with our communities and spark meaningful conversations – and actions.
Beyond these lovely and educational events, Defend has been generating a lot of earned media! Arizona State University campus ambassador Saiarchana Darira interviewed as a climate advocate for an opinion piece in her school paper The State Press. A Colorado high school publication, The Eagle Way, also mentioned Defend Our Future in an article about various climate youth movements that young people can get involved in. Finally, you can also catch a glimpse of us on the Climate Action Campaign’s front page – Defend is everywhere!
If you are reading this and thinking “I can’t believe I missed all of this!” do not worry because we have plenty more lined up. Here is a list of upcoming Defend events we would love to see you at:
- There is still time to sign up for Defend Our Air TONIGHT at 8 PM EST! We are excited to talk all things air with Moms Clean Air Force out in Colorado. This is a virtual event so you can join from anywhere, and participants will be entered into a raffle to win an air purifier! It will be a night filled with expert information on the fight for cleaner air in Colorado – you won’t want to miss it.
- Next Thursday, April 21 Defend will be hosting an Environmental Justice and You training, run by Training Manager Richard Gallon. The virtual training will run from 2 – 6 PM EST and participants will learn about environmental justice issues, how the U.S. has institutionalized environmental racism, and how all of this affects different groups across the country. We highly recommend joining to learn about the climate issues facing frontline communities.
- On April 22 – Earth Day itself – we will be hosting a Defend Our Oceans webinar, moderated by Regional Organizer Nick Haas. The webinar, beginning at 1 pm EST, will focus on the challenges that the climate crisis poses to our oceans and will include presentations from a variety of local groups fighting to save everything from corals to oysters. We will also be joined by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1), so be sure your spot is reserved! To get a preview of some of the issues we will be discussing, take a look at our new blog highlighting our partnership with Taylor Shellfish Farms.
- We are also supporting Fight For Our Future events happening in Arizona and DC on April 23. These events are coordinated to pressure our elected officials to take bold action on climate, so we can create a more resilient and equitable future. So, depending on where you live, join us at the Arizona State Capitol or in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House next Saturday to raise our voices together.
All of these are just a few of the ways we are celebrating the Earth this and every month. And to be clear, come Earth Day we will certainly be posting pictures – but we also want to make sure it is a day of action and learning. We hope you will join us!