Earth Day began on April 22, 1970 and has been an important day ever since. It's a day to reflect on our planet, our environment and what we can do to help keep them healthy.
From the beginning, children and schools were approached to support the formation and continuation of this special day. And this makes sense! Children have the most important stake in keeping our planet healthy. They'll still be the caretakers long after their parents and grandparents have passed away.
Younger children can get a feel for what Earth Day is all about by singing songs, coloring pictures and making crafts. Mary, from Songs4Teachers has kindly allowed us to use some of the songs she wrote especially for Earth Day using familiar tunes like Itsy Bitsy Spider and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
Check out her fun Reduce, Recycle, Reuse songs!
What Did Earth Day Accomplish?
Well, after the first earth day in 1970 here's what happened:
- The Environmental Protection Agency was established later in 1970.
- The tough Clean Air Act of 1970 was passed with only a handful of dissenting votes in both Houses of Congress.
- The Federal Occupational Health and Safety Act aimed at "in-plant pollution" was passed by a coalition of labor and environmental groups.
- Within the next three years, such landmarks as the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act were passed.
Other countries have accomplished similar achievements.
But this is one of those jobs that's never complete. Global warming and other issues never conceived of in 1970 are now common themes on the news.
What Did Earth Day 1990 Achieve?
- The UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The Earth Summit was the largest collection of national political leaders ever to meet in one place. It made some important initial steps toward addressing climate change and preserving biodiversity.
- More than a dozen countries established eco-labeling programs to guide consumers toward environmentally preferable goods and services.
- Several Eastern European nations, responding to public demand, established new environmental protection agencies.
- CARE, the international relief agency, set out new environmental goals for itself in the 1990s that include planting 500,000,000 trees worldwide.
And in the new millenium there's still lots to do!
But, What Can I Do?
All these big "news stories" are great, but what does that really have to do with you and me? I mean, we're not part of the U.N. Or anything important like that.
But we are important! If it's important to us, then it's important to our leaders. You can start with things like using recycled items in your crafting (most of the items on this site are!). You can learn about your local areas recycling program. Help your parents sort the recycling. Encourage them to recycle (donate some of your allowance to purchase a small home recycle bin -- now that will get their attention!) This is one of those times where the kids may be teaching the parents.
You can do the same thing at school, clubs, home and anywhere else you spend time.
Let others know what you've done! Write a letter to your local government representative and let them know how much you care about the environment and what work you've put in to improve it. There's nothing more inspiring than seeing people put thought into action! It's simple to write to someone and say, "Hey! Fix the environment!" but it's more convincing if that same note read, "Hey! Here's what I'm doing to help fix the environment!! Do you have any ideas on what else I could do? What are you up to to solve the same problem?"
But the most important part is to be aware and make others aware every day of the year!
Earth Day Resources