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In Idaho, Students Shift Earth Day Celebrations Online

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The 50th anniversary of Earth Day is being celebrated through online broadcasts over the next three days. (Booker Smith/Flickr)
The 50th anniversary of Earth Day is being celebrated through online broadcasts over the next three days. (Booker Smith/Flickr)
April 22, 2020

BOISE, Idaho -- Climate activists around the globe are moving their Earth Day plans online, including in Idaho. Earth Day Live Boise is a student-led celebration of the 50th anniversary of the observance.

Head organizer Shiva Rajbhandari, a freshman at North Junior High School in Boise, said the stay-at-home orders are a blow to months of planning that would have included three days of protests in Idaho's capital city. However, he said, there are lessons from the coronavirus, including the government's ability to act quickly on emergencies.

"It took 58 days after the first case of coronavirus in the United States to declare a national emergency," he said, "and we've known about the climate crisis for 50 years."

The webcast, which will begin streaming online at 11 a.m. MDT, will include local speakers, music and short films.

As people have reduced polluting activities such as commuting to work, Shiva said, the coronavirus pandemic has even, in some ways, offered a vision of a brighter future.

"We've seen what the world can be like. We've seen air pollution clear up in many big cities and water run blue instead of brown," he said. "So, it shows that the earth is a regenerative system. It can build back; we just need to give it a chance."

The North Junior High Green Club is pledging to plant five trees for every person that attends the webcast. The event also is part of an international series of broadcasts about the climate crisis that will run through Friday.

More information on Earth Day Live Boise is online at actionnetwork.org.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID