Earth Day

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Today is Earth day, a day a celebrate the movement to saving our planet. Earth Day began in 1970 to give a voice to an emerging public consciousness about the state of our planet. In the decades leading up to the first Earth Day, Americans were consuming vast amounts of leaded gas through massive and inefficient automobiles. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of the consequences from either the law or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. Until this point, mainstream America remained largely oblivious to environmental concerns and how a polluted environment threatens human health.

History of Earth Day

However, the stage was set for change with the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962. The book represented a watershed moment, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries as it raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and the inextricable links between pollution and public health.

in January 1969, he and many others witnessed the ravages of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.  Inspired by the student anti-war movement, Senator Nelson wanted to infuse the energy of student anti-war protests with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a teach-in on college campuses to the national media, and persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair.  They recruited Denis Hayes, a young activist, to organize the campus teach-ins and they choose April 22, a weekday falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, to maximize the greatest student participation. 

As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders approached Denis Hayes to once again organize another major campaign for the planet. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It also prompted President Bill Clinton to award Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the highest honor given to civilians in the United States — for his role as Earth Day founder.

As the millennium approached, Hayes agreed to spearhead another campaign, this time focused on global warming and a push for clean energy. With 5,000 environmental groups in a record 184 countries reaching out to hundreds of millions of people, Earth Day 2000 built both global and local conversations, leveraging the power of the Internet to organize activists around the world, while also featuring a drum chain that traveled from village to village in Gabon, Africa. Hundreds of thousands of people also gathered on the National Mall in Washington, DC for a First Amendment Rally. 

30 years on, Earth Day 2000 sent world leaders a loud and clear message: Citizens around the world wanted quick and decisive action on global warming and clean energy.

Today, Earth 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.

Now, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more and more apparent every day. 

As the awareness of our climate crisis grows, so does civil society mobilization, which is reaching a fever pitch across the globe today. Disillusioned by the low level of ambition following the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015 and frustrated with international environmental lethargy, citizens of the world are rising up to demand far greater action for our planet and its people. 

The social and cultural environments we saw in 1970 are rising up again today — a fresh and frustrated generation of young people are refusing to settle for platitudes, instead taking to the streets by the millions to demand a new way forward. Digital and social media are bringing these conversations, protests, strikes and mobilizations to a global audience, uniting a concerned citizenry as never before and catalyzing generations to join together to take on the greatest challenge that humankind has faced. 


Free Earth Day Printable Activities for Kids from Party and Bright

Earth Day Word Search by Printable Fairy



Earth Day Sudoku For Children by Craft Play Learn

Earth Day Free Printable Worksheets by Literacy Learn

Earth Day Word Scramble by Loving Homeschool

Celebrate Earth Day with Free Printables! by Mom Does Reviews

How to Build Your Own DIY Foil Stream With Kids with Lil Tigers

KID’S CRAFTS FROM RECYCLABLES by The Kitchen Table Classroom

Oreo Dirt Cupcakes by Vibrant Guide

3-Ingredient Earth Day Sugar Cookies Recipe by The Three Snackateers


JELLO WORMS AND DIRT by Food Meanderings


I Am Earth: An Earth Day Book for Kids by James McDonald

I Am Earth introduces kids to the basic concepts of Earth science while also encouraging the importance of taking care of our special planet through environmental awareness and sustainability. Keeping Earth a happy healthy place to live, is important for everyone big and small. In this Earth science book for beginners, kids learn what makes our planet so uniquely special and how people can work together to keep it a healthy home. 

Understanding our resources and how to protect and recycle them is a first step to protecting the Earth. In I Am Earth, kids are introduced to basic concepts about the special planet they live on through easy to understand space science and astronomy facts, while also learning steps to take for recycling and green living. 

Concepts are geared toward preschool, kindergarten, and first-grade learners. From the spinning and tilting that brings in the seasons to the gravity that keeps everything from floating off into space, I Am Earth connects children to the world they are part of, and how the environment affects all living things within it. Everyday occurrences are illustrated like night and day, snowfall and rainfall, along with the abundance that Earth provides which helps children notice and understand these important things happening around them. 

A basic understanding of Earth being part of a bigger solar neighborhood is introduced at an age-appropriate level for comprehension of beginning level space science and astronomy. As unique as Earth is in the greater universe, so is each individual life that lives on this precious planet. Children can connect this uniqueness to the importance of protecting it and making each and every day, Earth Day. 

I Am Earth is a great way to start children at an early age to care for the environment by understanding why the environment is so important and what they can do to help keep nature in balance, like recycle, reuse and conserve. For all living creatures that call planet Earth home, every day is Earth Day! 

A great learning tool for the traditional, homeschool, and Montessori classrooms. I Am Earth sets the stage for independent and scientific learning by helping children notice and think about cycles and events they see every day. Questions at the end of the book revisit topics and encourage children to think deeper on what they’ve learned. Large images and words make it easy to follow along when reading aloud.

This Class Can Save the Planet by Stacy Tornio

This Class Can Save the Planet shows students they can have an incredible impact on the environment when they work together. It offers easy ideas kids can implement right away in their own schools and classrooms. This book is perfect for educators and schools because it gives simple, straightforward advice on how to be more sustainable in daily classroom life. It’s a perfect book for Earth Day, Earth Month, or any other time of the year to help kids establish good habits. Classrooms are an incredible place for kids to recycle and be more sustainable. This book will show students exactly what they can do to make a difference in their own schools and communities. This Class Can Save the Planet doesn’t just talk about how we need to be doing more—it actually gives real, actionable ideas.

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul

The inspiring true story of how one African woman began a movement to recycle the plastic bags that were polluting her community.

Plastic bags are cheap and easy to use. But what happens when a bag breaks or is no longer needed? In Njau, Gambia, people simply dropped the bags and went on their way. One plastic bag became two. Then ten. Then a hundred. 

The bags accumulated in ugly heaps alongside roads. Water pooled in them, bringing mosquitoes and disease. Some bags were burned, leaving behind a terrible smell. Some were buried, but they strangled gardens. They killed livestock that tried to eat them. Something had to change. 

Isatou Ceesay was that change. She found a way to recycle the bags and transform her community. This inspirational true story shows how one person’s actions really can make a difference in our world.

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