Earth Day 2021 Google Doodle Animation Shows How 'One Small Act' Can Save Planet

Earth Day is celebrated in a Google Doodle that "highlights how everyone can plant the seed to a brighter future—one sapling at a time!"

The Earth Day Google Doodle video begins with an image of a woman lying underneath a tree and a little girl holding a sapling. Then, the video sees the child plant the sapling and watch it grow into a tree as she grows old. The old woman then gives a sapling to a little boy, and the cycle repeats again and again until there is a forest.

Sophie Diao, the artist behind the video, said she was inspired by "the stories of people who had planted trees when they were very young and cared for them throughout their lives, and people—sometimes as a community, other times working individually—who made it a goal to reforest a place, whether it be one the densest cities in the world or an arid desert that used to be lush and green.

"Once I had the seed of the idea of animating a little girl growing old with a tree, the rest of the Doodle story fell into place very naturally. One person can pass a sapling to someone else, and trees can sustain through many generations of human lives. Even if each person just plants one tree, if you share it with enough people, eventually you can create an entire forest."

In a Q&A Diao told Google why the Doodle was important to her: "Earth Day is special every year, but this year in particular I've grown to appreciate the grounding influence of trees.

"A big part of each day for me is looking out my window and admiring the variety of species—bronze loquat, bougainvillea, jacaranda, sweet michelia, wisteria, and more—that make up the urban forest of the street I live on. As each year passes, I've looked forward to seeing them bloom, leaf out, and grow a little bit taller.

"On the flip side, every year we experience catastrophic climate events that remind us what happens when we neglect to care for the planet. Earth Day is a chance for all of us to take a step back from our day-to-day lives and look at the bigger picture, to take a deep breath and remember that we're a part of nature."

Earth Day Google Doodle
Google Doodle says: "This Earth Day—and everyday—we encourage everyone to find one small act they can do to restore our Earth. It’s bound to take root and blossom into something beautiful." Sophie Diao/Google Doodle

The video ends with the word Google spelled out using tree branches. Google Doodle says it wants to "encourage everyone to find one small act they can do to restore our Earth. It's bound to take root and blossom into something beautiful," adding "Happy Earth Day 2021!"

Diao said she hopes people view her artwork and know "that [their] contribution can make a big difference. We have the power to grow a better future if we work together."

Earth Day was created in 1970 and is celebrated annually on April 22. It was established by then Democratic Senator Gaylord Nelson, Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey, and activist Denis Hayes .The first Earth Day inspired 20 million Americans (10 percent of the total U.S. population at the time) to take to the streets to demonstrate against the impacts of 150 years of industrial development.

Today, more than 190 countries are involved, according to the Earth Day organization, which says that the day is "widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action to change human behavior and create global, national and local policy changes."

The organization adds: "We invite you to be a part of Earth Day and help write many more chapters—struggles and victories—into the Earth Day book."

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates how some countries consume vastly more resources than others.

Earth Day - Statista