The celebration of Earth Day began over 40 years ago. It is a day to celebrate our planet and think about how we can help our environment. Did you know that the Environmental Protection Agency was established not long after that first Earth Day in 1970? The Clean Air Act also passed that same year. Now Earth Day is celebrated in more than 175 countries by an estimated 500 million people!
There are lots of ways to celebrate Earth Day:
- Talk to the kids about recycling and reusing that rubbish.
- Instead of using plastic, use re-usable drink bottles, food containers, etc. By the way, according to the EPA more than 25% of bottled water comes from a municipal water supply, the same place that tap water comes from! At least 90 percent of the price of a bottle of water is for things other than the water itself, like bottling, packaging, shipping and marketing. (CleanAir.org)
- Don’t use plastic forks and spoons. After all, Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons every year to circle the equator 300 times.
- Go outside and plant trees, a butterfly bush, native plants, etc.
- Go on a hike or nature scavenger hunt with the kids.
- Fly a kite.
- Make a tire swing.
- Change your paper bills to online ones.
- Take that stack of used printer ink cartridges to be recycled.
- Recycle your cell phones and other electronics. Cell phones are made of precious metals, copper and plastic, all of which can be recycled. About 304 million electronics were disposed of from US households in 2005. Two-thirds of them still worked. Only 10 percent of the 140.3 million cell phones retired in 2007 were recycled. Some websites are dedicated to buying old electronics like Gazelle.com or USPhoneBuyers.com. You can also donate phones and other electronics to Cell Phones for Soldiers, Goodwill, the Salvation Army, etc. How Stuff Works has 5 Ways to Donate Your Cell Phone to Charity.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
- Turn off the lights. Change your incandescent light bulbs to LEDs or energy approved CFLs.
- Start a compost pile. Compost your kitchen food scraps like fruit and vegetable peelings, etc.
- Wear green or brown.
- Ride your bike or walk as much as possible. Car pool.
- Clean up litter in your neighborhood, your local playground or park.
- Bring re-usable grocery bags to the store.
- Donate your used books, clothing, etc.
- Save Water Around Your Home: Fix leaks; turn off the water when you brush your teeth; install water-saving shower heads; put a float booster (or plastic water bottle filled with rocks) to save water when you flush; use your dishwasher or wash laundry only when you have a full load. In one year, the average American residence uses over 100,000 gallons (indoors and outside). An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country slum uses for an entire day.
Only 3% of Earth’s water is freshwater. Nearly 780 million people lack access to clean water.
Approximately 400,000,000,000 (400 billion) gallons of water are used in the United States per day (EPA). According to Earth Easy, in 1990, 30 states in the US reported ‘water-stress’ conditions. In 2000, the number of states reporting water-stress rose to 40. In 2009, the number rose to 45. There is a worsening trend in water supply nationwide. Taking measures at home to conserve water not only saves you money, it also is of benefit to the greater community.
- Read through this fabulous pdf – slide show about plastic bags with your kids. That’s where I learned that somewhere between 500,000,000,000 and 1,000,000,000,000 plastic bags are used in the USA each year (that’s 500 billion and 1 trillion, but seeing all those zeros is impressive!)
Image from Wikimedia Commons
Did you know that the Disney store (April 22), Wegmans (April 26) and others are giving out free reusable bags in celebration of Earth Day on April 22? See details here.
There are so many wonderful units and printables out there to talk about Earth Day with your kids. For example there’s a terrific Going Green Unit by Rachelle at What the Teacher Wants.
Royal Baloo has a free PreK Earth Day Pack
Other free PreK Earth Day Packs:
- My 3 Dinosaurs
- Blessed Beyond a Doubt
- This Do-a-Dot Earth Page over at TPT is really cute! You could use it for young kids to transfer pom-poms with tongs as Deb shares over at PreK and K.
- You’ll find lots more Montessori inspired Earth Day activities shared by Deb from Living Montessori Now.
Other Earth Day links:
- You will find an Earth Day linky party at Sunny Days in Second Grade with more than 45 links to Earth Day facts, subtraction, writing prompts and more.
- There are 42 Free Earth Day Worksheets at education.com including endangered animal printables, punctuate the story (Earth Day), the amazing tree maze, inside earth word search and more.
- Make a water cycle bracelet
- Montessori-inspired Earth Day activities at Living Montessori Now
- DLTK Kids has Earth Day crafts, games, poems, songs and general information.
- And there are more Earth Day craft ideas including recycleable crafts, nature crafts and more over at Family Fun.
- You’ll find a collection of Earth Day Crafts at the Crafty Crow.
How are you celebrating Earth Day this year?