mountain with rainbow
UH colleges celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day online

The University of Hawaiʻi campuses refused to let COVID-19 keep them from celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, or Lā Honua. From a month-long web series to a student-made Earth Day video, the UH colleges went digital to honor the special milestone in April.

Unlike past years, UH and Kupu AmeriCorps VISTA collaborated to create a “Virtual Earth Month” series for the entire month of April. Topic-based guides were posted online to provide facts, resources and activities to help connect communities to each other and the earth.

Activities included virtual workshops for zero waste living and backyard composting, webinars on beach protection issues and sustainable parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic, an environmental film festival hosted by Kauaʻi Community College and so much more.

Virtual Earth Month also featured Virtual Volunteer Week Hawaiʻi, where volunteers could donate food and other supplies, plant a home garden and offer support to healthcare workers and local businesses.

Hawaiʻi CC VISTA AmeriCorps Campus Sustainability and Resilience Fellow, Charlotte Cheek, helped add to the celebration with a bilingual, collaborative video called Lā Honua. Beautiful views of Hawaiʻi Island and bright smiles of students, faculty and staff are showcased as they share their sustainability tips and the significance of Earth Day.

The video serves as a positive reminder that even through daunting times like the COVID-19 pandemic, sustainable living and staying virtually connected with the community is possible.

“Living in a time of uncertainty, every breath confined to a face mask, as we now have all this time to reflect,” said Tyanna Aranaydo in the documentary, “we give Earth time to heal, we give Earth a break—a chance to catch a breath, to rejuvenate.”

The UH Office of Sustainability is grateful for everyone working to advance and teach aloha ʻāina across the campuses to guide what Earth Day can mean for those in Hawaiʻi every day of the year.