As the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the way we go about our regular day-to-day life, it has also affected the way we come together to celebrate annual events, such as birthdays, holidays, and significant milestones.
Earth Day is another of those events which would normally see people coming together for a variety of different events, all aimed at celebrating our planet and moving forward in a conscientious manner to battle climate change. With current stay-at-home and physical distancing guidelines, Earth Day, celebrated each year on April 22, will certainly be different this year. But that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the largest environmental movement in the world along with the billion+ people in 193 countries that will also observe Earth Day.
“If you’re looking for ways to mark Earth Day at home, we have a few ideas,” said Kristin Mullin, Executive Director at Sustainable Kingston.
The City of Kingston and Sustainable Kingston have developed the following suggestions for local residents to mark Earth Day on Wednesday, Apr. 22, 2020:
- Host a climate discussion with your friends and family using technologies like Zoom or Skype, or consider attending an online event, like Olin Kingston’s 5th Annual Earth Day Kingston Celebration Event. The event begins at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Apr. 22, and will include singing and drumming as part of the Nation Arts Centre and Facebook Live’s ‘Canada Performs!’
- Create an Earth Day sign for your window. Show or tell the outside world why Earth Day matters to you. Post photos of your windows online, and tag Kingstonist if you’d like us to share!
- Spend a little time learning about the importance of natural areas and wildlife! Wetlands and pollinators are just a couple essential parts of our ecosystem and now is a great time to learn more about the role they play. We may not be able to access local parks or conservation areas, but there are plenty of online resources to help. It’s also a great time to learn about seed planting and gardening.
- Rethink your diet. Are there small steps you can take to make your meal more sustainable? The City suggests that one great way to make a difference for our environment is by reducing food waste. Learn how you can do that using the City’s food waste resource page.
- Learn more about the City of Kingston’s plans to reduce our carbon footprint. Review the City’s strategic plan to see what work is underway that will help achieve net-zero in Kingston by 2040.
An additional 22 ways to help the planet and other ideas can be found on the Earth Day Canada website here. As well, for Earth Day at Home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Earth Day Canada is encouraging Canadians to submit videos with their own specific pledges for the future. A compilation of the videos will be posted throughout the day on Earth Day Canada’s social media platforms. Families, children, or adults could include clips of their Earth Day themed window artwork or Earth Day projects in their videos, too.
“Like all significant dates that have happened during this pandemic, this Earth Day will be unlike any we have experienced before. I encourage everyone to use this day to learn, to reflect, and to commit to a personal action you can take to make our city and our world a better, more sustainable place to call home,” Mullin said.
As most of us are spending more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s natural to think about the increased energy use that goes along with that. For that reason, Utilities Kingston is using Earth Day 2020 as a date to remind local residents about the Save on Energy Community Program, which can help residents save money while taking action against climate change. The program offers a $100 bill-credit on the purchase of smart thermostats for the first 250 eligible customers who apply before December 31, 2020.
“We want to help Kingstonians save energy and money. A smart thermostat helps you conserve the energy used to heat or cool your home and saves you money on your biggest home-energy cost, while also taking climate action,” said Caitlin Newey, Conservation Officer for Utilities Kingston.
To find out more or apply for a smart thermostat credit, click here. This Save on Energy Community Program is offered by Utilities Kingston and Kingston Hydro in collaboration with the Independent Electricity System Operator.
2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which was first celebrated on April 22, 1970. No matter how you chose to mark the date, stay home and stay safe, Kingston!