Earth Day 2010 was Thursday, April 22. But the activities continue this weekend with the Climate Rally on the Mall in D.C. (I’ll be at the record-breaking event, blogging and Twittering from the VIP area!!)
Even when April has come and gone, its always the season to teach your kids about Earth Day. You can lead by example, and give them a little history lesson at the same time. With Earth Day celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, its the perfect time to look back on the accomplishments resulting from the annual observance, while looking ahead to future challenges we face as a global community.
My own children range in age from 7-12 years old. This year, in particular, we’ve had some very interesting discussions and learned some Earth Day lessons as a family. The younger kids decided that it was very important to turn off all the lights all day on Thursday. While that small effort was certainly laudable, it was the perfect opportunity to remind them that Earth Day is every day, and we always have to be conscious of our energy consumption.
So, here are some easy ways to teach your kids about Earth Day!
Set a Good Example
- Recycle as much as possible
- Purchase local and/or organic foods
- Pre-cycle, by buying items with minimal packaging
- Conserve water usage (short showers, turn off faucets while brushing teeth)
- Turn off lights, un-plug appliances when not in use
- Re-purpose old items and use your imagination to give them new life
- Don’t drive if you don’t have to – walk or bicycle to school and work
- Plant a garden
Know your Earth Day Facts:
- The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970 – about 20 million people in the U.S. took part in observation of the day
- Earth Day is credited with initiating the modern environmentalism movement.
- Earth Day is observed in more than 175 countries and is the largest secular modern day holiday in the world.
- In some elementary schools, after Halloween and Christmas, Earth Day is the third largest celebrated holiday! (yes!)
- April 22 is the first official day of Spring in the Northern hemisphere and of Fall in the Southern hemisphere and was chosen to be Earth Day for this reason.
- A highlight of the annual Earth Day ceremony at the United Nations is the ringing of the Peace Bell that was given to the UN by Japan. It is made from coins given by school children to further peace on our planet.
- There is good reason to raise awareness of environmental issues: recycling just one aluminum can saves enough energy to watch a TV for three hours – it’s equivalent to half a gallon of gasoline!
Consider these interesting, yet scary facts about what will happen in a single year on Earth, from the Earth Day Facts page at sustainability.und.edu:
- The population of the world will grow by 211,000 people. A new Akron, Ohio will be added every day.
- 40,000 acres of land, an area about the size of Boise, Idaho will be converted to desert.
- 200 million tons of topsoil will be lost through erosion from croplands.
- 50,000 acres of forest will be eliminated.
- Between 20 and 500 species will disappear from the planet forever. We know so little about the family of life to which we belong that we cannot quantify the damage we are inflicting upon it. We do know that extinctions are occurring 100 to 1,000 times faster than the normal background rate.
- People will consume more than 3 billion gallons of oil.
- Burning the oil and other fossil fuels will release 70 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, slowly but surely nudging the planet’s temperature upward.
Its always a good day to teach your kids about Earth Day and what they can do to minimize their impact on Mother Earth.
Remember, Earth Day is, truly, every day. The lessons you teach today will last a lifetime!