COVID-19 is preventing offline environmental activism — but it’s thriving online

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The environmental motion’s previous lately collided with its future. April 22 marked the 50th anniversary of the primary Earth Day, a milestone for environmentalism. A number of days later, a worldwide faculty strike was organized by Fridays for Future, the worldwide coalition of younger individuals impressed by Greta Thunberg’s protests towards local weather change. However after months of cautious planning, each events have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic – and went on-line as a substitute.

So when social distancing measures are eased, will protest return to the streets, or do these occasions mark a turning level?

In 1970, an estimated 20 million Individuals (10% of the US inhabitants on the time) participated within the first Earth Day. Again then, US senator Gaylord Nelson conceived of a nationwide “teach-in” to boost environmental consciousness and recruited Harvard legislation pupil Denis Hayes to prepare the occasion.

Educate-ins had emerged within the mid-1960s as a hybrid of pupil sit-ins and casual lectures in opposition to the Vietnam Battle. Reasonably than occurring strike, academics and college students occupied lecture rooms as a substitute. Based on environmental historian Adam Rome, 1,500 universities and 10,00zero colleges held Earth Day teach-ins in April 1970, “nurturing a technology of activists.”

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