As the coronavirus pandemic upends life across the country, making public rallies, gatherings and protests impossible, a coalition of local residents and social justice groups are announcing the launch of a virtual Earth Month campaign. In addition to celebrating Earth Week and the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day (April 22), the campaign, Earth Month 2020: A Rising Tide for Climate Justice, will provide virtual educational forums and days of action that people can participate in from the safety of their homes using their phones and/or internet connection. The Earth Month Planning Coalition is inviting all Birminghamians to use this time of social distancing to connect virtually and join in embracing nature and building a growing movement for climate and environmental justice.

“We agree to stay grounded in this truth: Coronavirus has risen to a deadly pandemic because the status quo is already unlivable. We live in a country with unspeakable wealth inequality, healthcare denial, racist and discriminatory institutions & severe lack of labor protections, to say the least. With hundreds of confirmed cases, we recognize that the social and economic ripples that are sure to come will most affect folks on the margins, especially low-income, black and brown communities, who are disproportionately impacted by climate change. We also know that coronavirus is a mere tremble of the quake that will come if we don’t take action to address the climate crisis.” — Earth Month Planning Coalition

Earth Month 2020: A Rising Tide for Climate and Environmental Justice is a month-long online campaign that aims to engage people across Birmingham and, more broadly, Alabama. From the beginning to the end of the month, the campaign will include online gatherings, town halls, art and photo contests and days of action to keep people engaged, informed, and inspired. The coalition responsible for planning the effort wants to remind people of the importance of community and the power that people have to change the world.

“Our goal is to launch a grassroots community initiative that recreates the feeling of attending fun, energetic in-person gatherings that focus on issues pertaining to climate and environmental justice, but in the virtual world,” said Nina Morgan, Organizer at Gasp.

“That means dynamic speakers and the chance to build up and empower ourselves and our communities. Social distancing doesn’t mean that we can’t still engage in collective action.”

The coalition has created a calendar for the month of April that lists all of the events associated with Earth Month. The calendar features several virtual community gatherings and “social distancing-friendly” days of action including but not limited to:

Get Out the Count Census Day April 1 & 2

Be a Blessing Birmingham: Blessing Day of Service (Social Distancing Style!) April 18 from 8 to 12 p.m. Linn Park, 710 20th Street North, Birmingham, AL 35203

Gulf South for a Green New Deal Virtual Town Hall April 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. Register: bit.ly/GulfSouthRising

Affordable Housing & the Climate Crisis: A Community Conversation April 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Register: bit.ly/HouseBham

Environmental Justice Community Film Night April 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. Register: bit.ly/Watch4Climate

Enon Ridge Planting & Clean Up (Social Distancing Style!) April 25 from 9 to 12 p.m. Enon Ridge Trail, 133 Bankhead Hwy N Birmingham, AL 35204

Interested in learning more and/or signing on as a partner organization/community group? Contact Nina Morgan at (205) 901-6351 or nina@gaspgroup.org.

Participating Community Groups and Organizations:

Gasp, Sustainable Water, Energy, Economy Transition Alabama (SWEET AL), Dynamite-Hill Smithfield Community Land Trust, Magic City Youth Initiative, Birmingham Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), UAB Chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA), Fountain Heights Farm, Faith & Works, Bham Stands, Be A Blessing Birmingham, Sunrise Movement, Adelante Alabama Worker Center, and Alabama Interfaith Power & Light