3 Ways Your City Can Celebrate Earth Day on April 22

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The Earth Day Toolkit provides resources to help you plan your own Earth Day event. (Kritchanut/Getty Images)

With more than half the world's population now living in cities (a figure that is projected to increase), the important role cities and their residents play in taking care of the environment cannot be understated.

Each year, Earth Day (April 22) marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement. The first Earth Day in 1970 mobilized 20 million people and sparked the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Today, Earth Day engages more than a billion people worldwide, with events in every country and for every level of society.

This Earth Day, the Sustainable Cities Institute at the National League of Cities is partnering with the Earth Day Network to engage city leaders and promote sustainable living through local government efforts. Here are three ways your city can rise to the challenge and become involved in the Earth Day movement:

  1. Plant trees
    This year marks the five-year countdown to the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020, and we’re calling on you to help us achieve one of our most ambitious goals yet: we aim to collectively plant 7.8 billion trees - one for every person on earth. By hosting a tree planting event in your city, you join thousands of local governments around the world in contributing to that goal.

     

    Why trees? Trees help combat climate change by absorbing CO2, and they absorb odors and pollutants by filtering particulates out of the air. They also reduce urban heat islands - metropolitan areas that are significantly warmer than surrounding rural areas due to human activities. Finally, trees beautify cities to create long-term economic value.

     

  1. Host a Town Hall on the Global Day of Conversation
    Every year on Earth Day, cities around the world are part of the Global Day of Conversation, hosting town halls that bring together city officials and citizens to explore climate action and investment in renewable energy. It’s an incredible way to get your citizens engaged.
  1. Commit to go carbon neutral by 2050
    Cities are the world’s policy incubators. Last year, 197 cities issued proclamations committing to observe Earth Day, require climate education, or go carbon neutral by 2050. With your help, we believe that number can be doubled this year.

Whether you organize a tree planting event, host a Day of Conversation town hall, or make a commitment to go carbon neutral, let us know by registering here. On that page, you’ll also find a map of events that are already being organized in your area. If you have any questions, contact Cooper Martin at cmartin@nlc.org or Jeremiah Lowery at lowery@earthday.org.

For even more ideas on how to organize your event and get media coverage, check out the official Earth Day toolkit.

About the Authors:

Cooper Martin is the Program Director for the Sustainable Cities Institute at NLC. Follow the program on twitter @sustcitiesinst.

Yoav Magid is the Campaign Director for Earth Day Network. He can be reached at magid@earthday.org.

Program Director, Sustainable Cities Institute