Your class is ready for Earth Day 2019! A field trip to the beach or local park to clean up waste is planned, a viewing of Disneynature’s Penguins movie is paid for, or a cleanup and planting of the school garden is scheduled and students are excited.
But do you and your students know about the history of Earth Day and how the global celebration has benefited the Earth?
During the 1960s, the environment was not part of the public conscious like it is today. There was no EPA, pesticides were used widely, and factories could spew black smoke into the air freely. But Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin took notice and with the help of others, April 22, 1970 became a day filled with demonstrations and rallies spreading across American parks, streets, and auditoriums. Groups who supported different causes from fighting pollution to protecting wildlife suddenly realized their common values. Support for Earth Day came from Republicans, Democrats, rich, poor, city dwellers, and rural citizens. The power for this movement led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Water Act, and other regulations, as well as the Paris climate agreement.
Today, Earth Day participants are energized to slow and even stop climate change. There is more work to be done, a new generation to educate, and the future of our home to protect. Next year is the 50th anniversary and plans are already being made. You can sign up for updates on Earth Day Network’s plans for Earth Day 2020 and how to get involved – just visit https://www.earthday.org/earthday/countdown-to-2020/