By Monica Nerz April 21, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all kinds of public gatherings into online ones, and Earth Day will be no different. A worldwide climate strike will take place Wednesday, and anyone with an internet connection can join! Social distancing is extremely important, but it does NOT mean that climate action will be put on hold.

I can’t wait to join others on the online climate strike. But like many of you, I’ve been thinking about what Earth Day means to me, personally. To me, it is a time to be optimistic despite everything going on right now. I envision an innovative future as a result of all of our hard work in the environmental movement. I envision a growing number of people who support wildlife protection, clean energy development, and a lessening demand in non-renewable energy resources. Most importantly, I see a future where people around the world truly care about preserving the future for generations down the line. This holiday continues to serve as a reminder of how critical it is to protect the planet and the importance of all living things.

Each Earth Day, I aim to pick a few things I can do to reduce my carbon footprint. For example, last year, I was able to encourage my family to switch to reusable bags for grocery shopping, which eliminated the number of plastic bags we accumulated in the household. A few years ago, I made the decision to give up red meat after learning how detrimental the meat industry is to the well-being of animals, and the land mass that is required to raise animals in this sector. We need our elected leaders to push for comprehensive climate solutions, of course. But small actions, matter, too!

We’ve come a long way in the climate action movement since 1970 – but we have an enormous challenge facing us now. On Earth Day, and every day, we will make our voices heard until Congress treats climate change as the crisis it is. Join us in the fight against the climate crisis so we can continue to defend what we love most!