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Your Earth Day 2020 guide: Take this Earth Quiz. Download NASA posters. See Zac Efron.

Sure you’re stuck at home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t participate in Earth Day 2020.
(Illustration by Kay Scanlon / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

Don’t think you’ll miss out on Earth Day’s 50th anniversary Wednesday because you can’t go anywhere. With Americans staying home because of the coronavirus pandemic, environmental groups, agencies and museums are bringing events to you.

“Earth Day should not be seen as a deadline but rather a spark that inspires future action,” says the Earth Day Network’s website. It outlines ways to get involved in citizen science projects that help gather data about plastics, pollution and air quality.

Here are ways for you to get in on Earth Day 2020 fests while we’re all indoors.

The big bash


Prepare to be inspired. The Earth Day Network, which implores all of us to “hug a tree, not each other,” has taken Earth Day 2020 online with an all-day watch party featuring messages of love and commitment to saving the planet. It’s also tracking protests and other measures that take aim at climate change.

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Expect to see “talks, teach-ins and performances” during the 15-hour digital fest with video clips by Denis Hayes, organizer of the first Earth Day, as well as former Vice President Al Gore, former Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), marine biologist Sylvia Earle, free climber Alex Honnold, actors/activists Ed Begley Jr. and Zac Efron and pro hockey player Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins.

Click on Earth Day Live for the event from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pacific time.

NASA art posters

Jenny Mottar, art director for NASA Science, has created the agency’s Earth Day posters for many years. You can download wallpaper and a poster of the 2020 image as well as those from previous years.

In a video about the poster, Mottar describes how she created “Earth’s metaphorical heart,” expressed as a pulsing delta, using Earth’s features gleaned from land-satellite maps.

And she offers some quirky Earth facts too: “If you hold a stethoscope to the trunk of a hardwood tree, you can hear its heartbeat as water and nutrients move through its system.” It’s an observation as elegant as her artwork. Insider tip: Look carefully at the Earth Day 2020 poster to find animals hidden in the design.

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Help the planet

“The connection that we have to nature, plants, and the land is integral to our health and all that we are,” says the Old Farmer’s Almanac website. With that in mind, the magazine that began in the 18th century urges people to give bees a hand by planting plants they love in your garden. While you’re at it, grow your own organic vegetables and plant more trees. Check out its list of things to do for Earth Day.

Latimesplants offers a slew of stories and ideas to green your life, including what to plant in your garden during these scary times and how to create a victory garden.

When you’re ready to go plastic-free, a vital action to help fight pollution, read this day-by-day diary by Ryan Faughnder and Pam Kilroy about how they tackled the issue.

Take the Earth Quiz

Earth Quiz: Do you Really Know Your Planet? on Space.com is harder than it looks (I got only four out of nine right when I hastily did my answers).

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“What’s Earth’s true shape?” Your choices are “flat,” “sphere” or “oblate spheroid.” The quiz also asks you to estimate the planet’s age: 4.54 million or a billion years old? And the longest mountain chain in the world isn’t really on land.

Take the quiz to learn rather than win.

Earth Day at museums

Many science and natural history museums are hosting streaming and video watch parties that emphasize the educational aspects of Earth Day. The Exploratorium in San Francisco invites kids and their families to an activity at 1 p.m. Wednesday (Pacific time).

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The American Museum of Natural History in New York City is hosting all-day EarthFest From Home watch parties. You can learn how to plant a garden in your kitchen and how to make musical instruments from materials around the house. You can even take a flight to Venus and Mars with the museum’s director of astrovisualization. Check out the schedule at the museum’s website.

The perfect soundtrack

Science guy Bill Nye created a Mixtape for Mother Earth playlist, on Apple Music. It’s an inspiring mix that includes “Help!” by the Beatles, “Pollution” by musical satirist Tom Lehrer and “Cruel Summer” by Taylor Swift. Listen to the whole Mixtape, and think about places to go when we’re all free to roam the planet again.


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