Taking Action on Earth Day!
Earth Day is April 22, 2018. This year’s focus is Ending Plastic Pollution.
Currently, about 300 million tons of plastic are produced each year to make bags, bottles, packages, and other commodities for people all over the world. Unfortunately, only about ten percent of this plastic is properly recycled and reused. The rest ends up as waste in landfills or as litter in our natural environment, where it leaches dangerous chemicals into the nearby soil and water, endangering humans and wildlife alike. – Earth Day Network
The Earth Day Network has created a Plastic Pollution Primer and Action Toolkit that explains everything from the history and production of plastic products to the harmful effects plastics have on our health, our oceans, and our climate. This resource also provides a Plastic Pollution Footprint Calculator, which could be useful for classroom studies of climate change and sustainability or as an Earth Day activity for students and their families. The Reduce, Refuse, Reuse, Recycle, Remove, and Personal Plastic Reduction Plan sections also provide beneficial activities and resources for students seeking to reduce their level of plastic pollution.
Find the Plastic Pollution Primer and Action Toolkit here: http://www.earthday.org/wp-content/uploads/Earth-Day-Network-Plastic-Pollution-Primer-and-Action-Toolkit-updated-2.20.2018.pdf.
The Earth Day Network website provides further resources designed to help teachers inform, inspire, and organize students to take action on Earth Day 2018 and beyond: https://www.earthday.org/educate2018/. Especially useful are Toolkits for Primary, Secondary, and University/College students, which include useful resources, discussion topics, and activities.
Find the Climate Education Week Toolkit for Primary and Secondary Schools here: http://www.earthday.org/wp-content/uploads/Education-Toolkit-022718.pdf
Canadian Teacher Magazine Articles and Resources for Earth Day
In previous issues of Canadian Teacher Magazine, we have shared various articles that focus on sustainability, environmental awareness, and going green. Many of these articles provide beneficial information, resources, and activities for teachers and schools seeking to take action on Earth Day.
In the article “Earth Day”, Brenda Boreham explores what Earth Day is, details its history in Canada, and provides relevant Earth Day resources for teachers: https://canadianteachermagazine.com/2016/04/15/earth-day/.
In the article “Planet Worry: A Dangerous Epidemic,” Guy Dauncey shares his experiences of delivering “Change the World” presentations to students and the importance of creating a sense of hope, instead of hopelessness, when dealing with daunting issues like climate change and the oceans plastic crisis:
Yes, we often screw up and do awful things. History is full of the evidence. But history also tells encouraging stories of progress and discovery – Guy Dauncey
In the article “Teaching Innovative Ways to Combat Food Waste,” Larraine Roulston explores way to reduce food waste, such as through composting and food share programs: https://canadianteachermagazine.com/2017/09/15/teaching-innovative-ways-to-combat-food-waste/.
Learning about composting coincides nicely with learning about gardening and beneficial insects that help our food to grow. Starting a school garden club, growing seeds in the classroom, or forming an eco group are all excellent ways to take action on Earth Day and beyond. Be sure to check out these articles for more information and resources:
- Bringing Back the Monarch Butterfly”: https://canadianteachermagazine.com/2016/04/15/bringing-back-monarch-butterfly/
- “Educating to Bee Aware”: https://canadianteachermagazine.com/2017/04/15/educating-to-bee-aware/
- “Garden as Teacher”: https://canadianteachermagazine.com/2014/04/15/garden-as-teacher/
- “Growing Young Farmers”: https://canadianteachermagazine.com/2014/04/15/growing-young-farmers/
- “Sowing the Seeds of Education”: https://canadianteachermagazine.com/2014/04/14/sowing-seeds-education/
- “Potatoes on Rooftops: Farming in the City”: https://canadianteachermagazine.com/2014/04/10/potatoes-rooftops-farming-city/
“In the article “Teaching the Zero Waste Generation,” Larraine Roulston shares suggestions for expanding the classroom recycling program: https://canadianteachermagazine.com/2015/09/15/teaching-zero-waste-generation/.
To support the Zero Waste Generation, environmental stewardship can not only be taught by example, but also be an integral part of the curriculum. – Larraine Roulston
Roulston also writes children’s adventure books on composting and pollination. These fanciful stories blend fiction with facts. They include songs, poems and additional notes all designed to help teachers, parents and children discuss the process of composting in an interesting way: http://castlecompost.com/.
Whether it’s pledging to reduce the use of plastics in the classroom, sharing books with students about the importance of protecting the planet and our precious resources, starting a classroom eco club, or finding other beneficial ways to give back to and look after our earth, teachers can inspire students to make every day Earth Day!