The first Earth Day occurred on April 22nd, 1970, when 20 million Americans organized a protest to acknowledge environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet.
In 1990, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage.
The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action – a pressing topic well-suited for the 50th anniversary of this special day. Climate change represents the biggest challenge to our future and all our life-support systems.
There is a lot that we can do to play our part in sustaining life and restoring our Earth now, while we still have a chance. For more information, visit www.earthday.org and the related Canadian site ecokids.ca.
Due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, some activities may not currently be appropriate or may need to be modified to respect community safety measures. Please always follow the advice of local health authorities.
Using a Globe or world map, locate your city or town. From that point, expand to show the province or territory where you reside, the country of Canada, the continent of North America, and finally, the world. Point out major oceans and Canada’s major lakes and rivers and the vast expanse of our territories.
Discuss your particular location. Is it urban? Rural? Does it have parks and play spaces? Does it have any farming? Are there places to swim and fish?
Explain that we are so lucky to live in Canada, as it is full of natural resources. Ask students to tell you what they think “natural resources” means. Discuss responses.
Remind students that it is very important to keep our surroundings clean and safe so that we can enjoy them for a long time.
View the following YouTube video version of the song, “We’ve Got The Whole World in Our Hands.” Make your own version. Practise, add actions, and sing in an assembly marking Earth Day!
Alternate idea: After discussing conservation, take your students on a nature walk and ask them to make lists or drawings of all the “wonders of nature” they see on their hike. When you return to the classroom, discuss how important it is to preserve the natural environment, not only for them but also for the future.
Watch the following video and ask students to take note of the suggestions given for helping our planet remain healthy, despite climate change.
Divide students into groups and have them brainstorm small ways that they could make a difference. Share and identify a few practical suggestions that can be carried out by the class. Here are some ideas:
Take action and complete at least one identified task.
Close by congratulating students for playing their part in helping to save their planet!
Explain that there are ways to get together and make a difference. One of those ways is to become an advocate for change and take action.
As you watch the following three videos, hosted by youth advocate Campbell Baron of CBC Kids News, ask students to think about how they can carry on this important work in their school, home, and neighbourhood.
After discussing student responses, have them work in small groups to brainstorm ways to demonstrate their commitment to reduce the effects of climate change:
Here are a few ideas:
Close by reminding students that we all have a responsibility to help to reduce the impact of climate change. Congratulate them for being advocates for change and taking action!