How Earth Day shifted from strikes to a 72-hour livestream

And what we can learn about pivoting quickly in the face of change

Why It Matters

Climate action typically includes street protests — gathering in person to show strength in numbers — and Earth Day is no exception. Pivoting to a digital live-stream event has meant major challenges for organizers, but also new opportunities for global connectedness and accessibility. Canadian activist movements can learn valuable lessons from Earth Day about refocusing quickly in the face of a major change of plans.

Azalea Danes, a high school student in New York City and an organizer with Extinction Rebellion, was sitting in her bedroom in March, on a call with Earth Day organizers, when an alert from Mayor de Blasio popped up on her phone. School was officially closed for at least a month and a half. 

Danes and fellow youth activists from a broad coalition of climate justice groups had taken the lead in preparation for Earth Day 2020; the 50th anniversary was poised to be a turning point

It was just that on the inaugural Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, when 20 million people packed into city streets, gathered in parks, and filled sidewalks across the United States to demand a healthier planet. The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency was established in July of that year, and t

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