Dana Schroeder, Outreach & Engagement Specialist, UVA Office for Sustainability

Although we can no longer be together in person, the UVA, Charlottesville, and Albemarle communities remain united in our commitment to climate action. The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day is coming up on April 22, 2020, and we won’t let this landmark time go entirely uncelebrated. We recognize that the coronavirus pandemic means that just taking care of ourselves, our families, and our finances has become an overwhelming task for many. And while we practice social distancing and take care of loved ones, let’s share with each other what we are doing to support the Earth from home, even in small ways! What we hope is that during these challenging times, celebrating and focusing on environmental themes can bolster our humanity and connect us to the planet we all share.

For those who are able, we invite you to engage in different types of climate action on different days of the week all throughout the month of April. We will offer some suggested simple actions that align with each daily theme, but then community groups & individuals can share their chosen actions through social media & a variety of other tools. You can share how you’re celebrating “Earth Day Every Day” in any of the following ways:

  • Post to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and tag @SustainableUVA - consider also using the hashtags #EarthDayEveryDay and one of the daily hashtags like #MondayMotivation or #TakeActionThursday
  • Email sustainability@virginia.edu with a note, photo, or video that shows what you’re up to
  • Call 434-297-7964 & leave a message about how you are celebrating “Earth Day Every Day”

Visit the UVA Sustainability Calendar for virtual Earth Week Events

Earth Day Every Day - Daily Ways to Engage

Monday Motivation

Looking to boost your mood during this stressful time? For Monday Motivation, focus on a quote, memory, or image that gives you hope & makes you feel connected to our shared planet. When we center ourselves in hope & connection, taking action for the Earth (whether alone or together) comes more easily.  

  • If you have the urge, you can use artistic tools to paint, stitch, or sing an inspiring Earth message
  • Write out an environmental quote or poem that inspires you & keep it in a visible place
  • Maybe you have a journaling practice which you can use to meditate on your connection to the planet
  • Try going through old pictures to remember times when you were enjoying a special place outdoors
  • If you’ve got a favorite way to stay motivated, send it our way.

 

Teach Yourself Tuesday

If you find yourself with more down time than usual, consider binge-learning instead of binge-watching. On Teach Yourself Tuesdays, feed your mind with podcasts, webinars, books, or documentaries about the planet & climate action. If we can take this time to educate ourselves, think of what we’ll be able to accomplish going forward!

  • Find webinars like this one from the behavior experts at Rare about how you can “Make It Personal
  • Before starting a new project, do some research, like exploring native plant resources for your garden
  • Explore environmental justice with podcasts and other resources from the Hip Hop Caucus 
  • If you need a dose of climate optimism, read or listen to one of these recommended books
  • If you learned something interesting recently, share with us.

 

Chatty Wednesday

There is an amazing power in social diffusion. On Chatty Wednesdays, chat with someone in your life about the earth & sustainability -- and listen to their feelings about the topic! You can encourage others to take action with you, or just take that time to connect and learn what is important to them. 

  • Ask a family member if they remember celebrating the first Earth Day & what it means to them now
  • Just planted a garden or installed rooftop solar? Talk to your neighbor about it & offer them guidance
  • Email your faith leaders about great local resources from Virginia Interfaith Power & Light
  • Nervous about chatting about climate change? Watch this tip-filled video from Our Climate Our Future
  • If you have a good chat, tell us what you learn.

 

Take Action Thursday

If you are feeling antsy at home, try making an Earth-friendly change to your space or your routines. On Take Action Thursday, jump into an action that saves energy, reduces waste, or otherwise decreases your ecological footprint. Our Earth is made up of individuals, and with everyone doing their part, we have the power to flatten the curve of climate change.

  • Order and install a rain barrel for your home. You may also be able to make your own out of a trash can
  • Feeling stuck in a rut with family meals? Try a new vegan recipe to reduce your food footprint
  • You might want to tune up your bike so that it could be ready to go once you start commuting again
  • Have you heard of the Community Climate Collaborative’s Home Energy Challenge? Join today!
  • If you’ve recently taken action for the Earth, share your tips.

 

Fridays For Future

You’ve probably heard of Greta, but do you know our own local, Gudrun? To celebrate Fridays For Future, follow the lead of young activists & use your voice to influence the future of our planet in a big way. If you are able to advocate for policies and programs that put us on track to a better future, there are a ton of local organizations that can help guide you.

  • Be sure to fill out your Census and prepare to vote in any upcoming elections
  • Join the newsletters of some local environmental groups to stay informed on relevant ways to engage 
  • Visit the Community Climate Collaborative’s Policy page which covers both Cville & Albemarle County
  • Have strong feelings about a proposed policy? Contact your representatives by any means you can
  • If you are advocating for a sustainable future, tell us how.

 

Service Saturday

It has been amazing to see people band together and support each other during this difficult time. On Service Saturday, find safe ways to help others as well as the planet, by donating, doing a favor, or providing service at a distance. Our neighbors both near and far could use support, so if you are able, give back on Saturdays.

  • You might consider picking up litter in your neighborhood (as long as you can stay away from others)
  • As of now, Goodwill is still collecting usable clothing/home goods & Red Cross still needs blood donors
  • If you are able, you might donate to a local food group that may be struggling to meet current needs
  • Do your family or a neighbor a favor, like helping to unsubscribe from all paper junk mail
  • Found a creative way to help others? Let us know how.

 

Sunny Sunday

Though we need to stay indoors as much as possible, we all need a little sunshine in our lives to stay sane. On Sunny Sunday, spend at least a little time outdoors enjoying our Earth, even if that’s just in your backyard. Keep checking in on local orders and CDC recommendations, and celebrate nature in a way that also supports your health and safety.

  • No matter your age, explore the nature of your backyard by digging in the soil or climbing a tree
  • Sit on a sunny porch and wave at your neighbors to get both social connection & vitamin D
  • Consider visiting city parks or county parks with wider walkways and lesser known trails
  • Walk your neighborhood and look for Earth Day Every Day lawn signs or go on a “bear hunt” with kids
  • If you’re enjoying the outdoors while staying safe, send us a photo.

 

We understand that many of us are feeling overwhelmed by the challenges presented by COVID-19 at this time. This campaign is not meant to disrespect anyone who no longer has time to dedicate to climate action or sustainability efforts during the month of April. Take care of yourselves and your families first! We simply hope that by sharing the creativity and dedication of our fellow community members, we can help spread a few rays of light during this dark time.


If you have any questions about getting involved in the Earth Day Every Day campaign in our community, please email sustainability@virginia.edu - Stay healthy everyone!