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Earth Day 2020 Without Public Gatherings

A logo for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

The 50th anniversary of Earth Day is Wednesday but organizers of environmental awareness activities this week had to cancel planned gatherings.  That includes Iowa State University Extension Outreach’s program “Water Rocks!” The staff visits Iowa schools throughout the year to hold water quality assemblies. 

Outreach specialist Hilary Pierce says since they can’t go to schools, they are encouraging students to commemorate Earth Day this week by gathering objects from nature to create a work of art.

“Then snap a photo of it and share it with us on social media,” said Pierce. “We will enter that into our contest where winners will be selected based on who gets the most shares, who has the most creative ideas, and we will be giving out prizes”

Earth Day served as an inspiration for Water Rocks! to begin publishing four short weekly educational videos on YouTube .  Half are original music performances about the environment and the others are classroom lessons.

With many working from home, The Iowa Environmental Council is encouraging people to make changes they may not have otherwise considered.

Director of Communications Angelisa Belden said when people spend more time at home, they are able to pay more attention to personal energy and product consumption.

“This situation has kind of had us start to think more about the ways that we consume products, how we get them into our homes, how quickly we use them.” said Belden. “People are just more aware of how quickly they’re putting items into the recycling bins because they're home all day. I think it makes you more aware of your consumption and that’s a good thing.”

Later this week, the Iowa Environmental Council will release a report proposing how the state can meet electricity demands by 2050 without using fossil fuels.

IPR News Environment
John Pemble is a reporter for IPR