9 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day From Home

Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Caruso Affiliated
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Caruso Affiliated

With many of us homebound thanks to COVID-19, this Earth Day celebration—which marks the 50th anniversary of the event—is going to look a little different than in years past. But just because you’re stuck inside doesn’t mean you can’t participate. From making a sign for your window to making glacier goo, here’s how you can celebrate Earth Day from the comfort of your home.

1. Make A Window Sign

One of the easiest ways to celebrate this Earth Day is to make a sign for your window. If you need a catchy slogan, EarthDay.org has some suggestions.

2. And 3. Participate in Earthday.org’s 24 Hours of Action and Earth Challenge 2020

On Wednesday, April 22, EarthDay.org will “issue 24 actions for the planet that you can take now, wherever you are,” according to its website. Follow along on EarthDay.org or on social media (@earthdaynetwork) for new challenges every hour of Earth Day. The organization is also running Earth Challenge 2020, a citizen science project that will call on users to report observations of air quality and plastic pollution. You can find out more here.

4. AMNH’s Earthfest at Home

New York City’s American Museum of Natural History is celebrating Earth Day this year with its virtual Earthfest, a day-long slate of activities including an instructional gardening workshop; a glacier goo how-to that demonstrates glacier physics; a live watch party that takes you around the world, and another that’s out of this world; and an Earth-themed trivia night. Find out how you can participate here.

5. USC’s Online Earth Day Celebration

The University of Southern California (USC) will run forums over the course of April 22, 23, and 24, including a spring career fair, an innovation panel, and a citizen science project. You can see all of the events and register here.

6. Earth Day 50/50: Looking Back, Moving Forward

On April 22, the Earth Institute at Columbia University will host a live webcast featuring scientists and experts called “Earth Day 50/50: Looking Back, Moving Forward,” covering the history of Earth Day, the latest in climate research, and ways to build a sustainable planet in the future. You can register here, and check out Columbia’s other Earth Day offerings—which includes a seminar for kids on the science of microplasticshere.

7. WWF’s #ArtForEarth

This week, the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) is asking people to create art that shows their appreciation for, and the importance of, nature using the hashtag #ArtForEarth. Each day has a theme; appropriately, the theme on Earth Day is One Earth. You can find out more here.

8. NASA’s #EarthDayatHome

To help us all celebrate Earth Day virtually, NASA has put together a website chock-full of resources, from a webquest showing how its scientists study the Earth to a citizen science project/game identifying corals in the Great Barrier Reef. They’ve also put together a 50th anniversary kit featuring games, activities, photos, and more. (You can also check out NASA at Home and NASA STEM at Home.) Participants can share how they’re celebrating Earth Day on social media with the hashtag #EarthDayatHome.

9. Earth Optimism Summit

Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism Summit, which runs from April 22 to 26, “[showcases] stories of both small- and large-scale actions, framing the conversation and demonstrating that success is possible.” It will feature movie nights, virtual workshops on subjects like how animals bring us happiness and another on fighting pandemics, interviews with experts, and more. The summit will be broadcast live on their website (as well as Facebook Live, YouTube, and Twitter). You’re encouraged to share your own stories and experiences on social media with the hashtag #EarthOptimism. You can find out more here.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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Beavers on Devon's River Otter to Become England's First Permanent Population in Centuries

Beavers were hunted to extinction in England in the 16th century, so locals were surprised to find a group of the mammals living on Devon's River Otter in 2008. Instead of moving the beavers, the Devon Wildlife Trust monitored the population to see how it would interact with the local environment. Now, as The Guardian reports, the government has deemed the beaver reintroduction program a success, meaning the species now has a permanent home in the country for the first time in centuries.

Though the North American beaver is better known, beavers are also native to Europe. Hunting reduced the Eurasian Beaver population to 1200 specimens by 1900. Their numbers have recovered in the years since, but they're still mainly limited to Scandinavia, Germany, France, Poland, and central Russia.

The beaver group currently living on the River Otter likely originated with either an accidental or unauthorized release. When local authorities discovered the beavers were breeding in 2014, they intended to relocate them to protect the local ecosystem. The Devon Wildlife Trust proposed an alternative: Allow the population to live on the river undisturbed for five years, and only remove them if they were proven to cause harm by the end of the trial.

The beavers did not hurt the environment—they actually added several benefits, according to the five-year study. The population, which now consists of 15 family groups, constructed 28 dams throughout the river system. These dams helped slow water flow during floods and contained water during droughts that would normally dry up riverbeds. The beaver-engineered habitat also allowed an increase in the number of water voles, fish, and amphibians.

When the trial officially ends on August 31, the beavers will become permanent residents of Devon in the eyes of the government. They're concentrated on the River Otter for now, but they're expected to expand beyond it, potentially starting new beaver populations in other parts of England for the first time in modern history.

[h/t The Guardian]