In response to the COVID-19, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s environmental institute will be hosting a virtual Earth Day conference on Monday, April 20.

The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies decided to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day online through a mixture of webinars, pre-recorded sessions and interactive discussions from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

This year’s conference is called “Earth Day@50: Aspiring for Sustainability, Striving for Justice, Crafting the Planet,” and will focus on the intersection of traditional conversation and restoration methods and new innovations. The conference will also touch on the need for incorporating social justice in environmental movements and honoring past wisdom “of the natural world,” while learning new ways to become environmental citizens.

Speakers will include Eduardo Brondizio, distinguished professor, anthropology, and director, Center for the Analysis of Social-Ecological Landscapes, Indiana University Bloomington and co-chair of the Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of the Inter-Governmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES); Lucas Joppa, chief sustainability officer at Microsoft; and Mariama White-Hammond, pastor of ecological justice of New Roots AME Church.

The Nelson Institute is an environmental research facility at UW-Madison. This year’s celebration will pay homage to the very first Earth Day, which began as a grassroots effort by the former Wisconsin Governor and U.S. Senator, Gaylord Nelson, whom the institute is named after. The first celebration of Earth Day was April 22, 1970 and has since grown into a global movement. 

More information on this year’s conference can be found at