The EarthX Environmental Experience - Bringing Together the World
by Julie Peterson
Continuing to shed light on the environmental challenges facing Earth, even in the face of the complications presented by COVID-19, EarthX 2020, in partnership with the National Geographic Society, is moving forward with its conferences by virtual means. The 50th Earth Day Celebration will be live-streamed on April 22, and most EarthX 2020 conferences will be presented virtually from April 23 through 27. Some will continue into May.
“It’s been our long-term goal to make the EarthX events more global and put more content online. Thankfully, because we were already moving in this direction, we have been able to pivot from a physical platform to a digital platform and livestream the events, which means they will be available to people across the world,” says Karen Fleig, EarthX director of marketing & communications.
It’s truly a silver lining for the cancellation of the physical expo. Last year, the event drew more than 175,000 attendees and 2,000 environmental leaders. This year, there will be an abundance of online content available. “We now have the opportunity to include people from across the globe in our mission to connect, collaborate and celebrate through our virtual programming,” says Tony Keane, EarthX CEO.
Trammell S. Crow, Founder of EarthX, is hoping the virtual programming will expand collaboration and increase the base of followers. This is likely because many people are home and online. "My primary environmental aspiration during this temporary change in our lifestyles would be that everyone, especially those living in more prosperous nations, takes this opportunity to consume less and learn how a less materialistic lifestyle can continue, even after the world recovers from the COVID-19 setback," says Crow, who has long wanted the nonprofit to have a wider impact in addition to events that continue well beyond Earth Day.
EarthX League is a new program that was planned to continue year-round and was going to be announced at the event in April. The program is ready to go, allowing people to engage throughout the year, teaching people what they can do at home, making simple changes that will have a big impact. Participants pledge to do a variety of actions to help the planet through what’s called “Fifty for 50,” because there are 10 actions to take in five categories: Climate, Earth, Energy, Cities and Water. “Everyone can be a hero for the planet,” says Fleig.
There is also an online curriculum for K-12, both Texas-based and national, which was intended primarily for teachers, but is available to download right now for people that have kids out of school and are looking for educational resources.
In the last 10 years, EarthX has done a great deal of work to bring together opposing sides to find agreement on environmental issues. “Polarization is profitable in politics and media, but the costs to all of us are reaching catastrophic heights,” Crow recently said to business, environmental, political and philanthropic leaders. “When a people believe they are this bitterly divided, our freedom is at risk, our democracy is at risk and because we fail to take effective action, our survival is at risk.”
By encouraging collaboration of people, small and large organizations, businesses and groups that are promoting environmental efforts to stop and reverse climate change, it strengthens every effort and begins to bring together the world. “This virus is really showing us how small the planet is and how interconnected we all are. This is an eye opener for all the environmental issues we are facing,” says Fleig.
EarthX promotes environmental awareness and impact through conscious business, nonpartisan collaboration and community-driven sustainable solutions. For more information, visit EarthX.org.