What is Earth Day?

Each year on April 22, we celebrate something called Earth Day.

Earth Day is a day to celebrate the environment and to be part of the movement to rebuild a healthy planet.

The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970.

Each Earth Day, environmentalists and citizens from around the world participate in events to raise awareness about environmental issues like global warming, pollution, and biodiversity loss (or reduction in the variety of plants and animals). It is a day to reflect, celebrate Earth, and take action to create a better, more sustainable world.

More than 1 billion people now participate in some form of Earth Day activity, such as protests, educational activities, or tree planting.

View this video on the history of how the first Earth Day came to be:

Video credit: PBS Wisconsin Education https://pbswisconsineducation.org/

Individuals can make a difference! And collectively (together), we can create a brighter future for our planet.

10 Earth Day action items for kids and families:

  • Talk to a plant!
    Talking to plants helps people feel happy. Pick a houseplant or outdoor plant and say “hello,” or give a tree a hug! Notice the unique and interesting features of the plants around you. Also, check out Sofia Ceiba’s plant-themed talk show, Talking to Plants.
  • Plant a native plant.
    Native plants are plants that are indigenous to, or grow naturally in, your area. They fit right in and create important habitat for local animals. Consult your local nursery, botanic garden, or friends group to find out what plants are native to your local area. Ask your parents if you can plant a native plant in your garden or participate in a planting in a community space, park, garden, or local reserve. Get outside and get planting!
  • Build an insect hotel.
    Insect hotels can provide important habitat in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Different insects like different types of “hotels.” Do some research about the insects in your area and what habitats they like. For an example, see: https://kids.mongabay.com/build-an-insect-hotel/
  • Practice environmentally friendly habits.
    Remember to reduce your consumption (what you buy and use), reuse what you can, and repurpose (find new uses for old or unwanted items). It is always important to recycle plastics, glass, paper, and other recyclable items.
  • Participate in a garbage/rubbish clean up.
    Or organize a clean up with your family or community. There is a lot of garbage/rubbish that finds its way into nature. But we can do something about this by picking it up and disposing of it properly – either throwing it away or recycling or reusing it, where appropriate. It feels really good to help clean up your local stream, park, or beach. Make sure to get a grown up to supervise and participate with you because not all garbage/rubbish is safe to handle.
  • Help keep your pet cat indoors at night.
    Cats are skilled hunters. They are thought to kill billions of birds, reptiles, and small mammals around the world each year. Keeping your pet cat indoors is a way to stop them from hunting. But if you can’t keep your cat indoors at all times, keeping them indoors at night can make a big difference.
  • Find an Earth Day event in your community and participate.
    This is a great opportunity to learn more about the environment and meet other people who care about our planet. Ask your parents to help you find an event near you. Visit: https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2021/#map
  • Raise funds for an environmental cause you care about.
    Research environmental or conservation programs in your area that take donations. Or perhaps you’d like to support efforts in another part of the world, like orangutan conservation in Indonesia or rainforest protection in South America. There are many good causes to support and your parents or teachers can help you find one that interests you. Some ideas for raising funds include a school bake sale, a garage sale (of used clothes or home goods), or a fun run.
  • Take time to rethink the way we live and reimagine a more sustainable world.
    Share your ideas about the importance of the environment or how we can improve it with your family, teachers, and community.
  • Write letters to local, state, and federal politicians or officials and tell them that a healthy environment matters.
    You can share your thoughts about what the environment means to you and your ideas about how we should protect it. You can send drawings or paintings as well. You may want to work on your letters/artwork by yourself or with your teacher and school class.

*Please remember to be COVID-safe and talk to a grown-up about ways you can safely participate in Earth Day activities in your community.

For more information on Earth Day 2021, visit: https://www.earthday.org/

See also: