How to Go Green: Earth Day
Image credit: VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm
There's a lot more to the Earth Day movement than we could cover here, but see how much you've learned with our Earth Day quiz. From the history of the holiday, the changes it's effected, and the number of people who participate annually to the changes you can make right now, put your brainpower to the test.
And if you find that you're an Earth Day pro, see how your knowledge stacks up when it comes to green celebrities, environmental history, and green vocabulary. Good luck—and Happy Earth Day!
|Top Earth Day Activities and Tips||Read More About Earth Day|
|Earth Day Crafts||Take the Earth Day Quiz|
|Earth Day for Kids||How to Go Green: Index|
Top Earth Day Activities and Tips
Earth Day Activity:Start turning your backyard into an official National Wildlife Federation Habitat. Even the smallest urban garden can sustain the basics for local fauna--food, water, shelter, and space--and you can implement sustainable gardening methods for an even greener green space.
Earth Day Activity:It's an Earth Day tradition, but planting trees is one way to build forests back up; also, try working with a group that rescues otherwise- trashed wood from buildings and construction sites for reuse.
Earth Day Activity:Find a local land trust to volunteer with; they can fill you in on what's going on around you, what's threatened, and what's responsible for those threats.
Earth Day Activity:Rather not get your hands dirty? Study up on the problem and prepare yourself to politely counteract the next person who tells you global warming is a lie.
Earth Day Activity:Grab a pair of old sneakers or galoshes and find (or start) a clean-up initiative at a local stream, river, or pond. Find a water-related event near you through Planet Green's Green Apple Festival & Earth Day Network Volunteer Central.
Earth Day Activity:Volunteer to get your hands dirty at a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in your neighborhood, planting fruits, vegetables, and herbs that you can enjoy all summer long and into the fall. Find an organic farm or CSA near you to get started.
Earth Day Activity:If you didn't take the day off from work, organize an Earth Day carpool with coworkers who live in your neighborhood, or coordinate an office-wide walk to a nearby restaurant for lunch instead of ordering delivery. Then use the experience to make both activities a part of your regular routine.
Earth Day Crafts
Turn leftover household items that might otherwise be trash into useable craft materials: a plastic jug becomes a watering can; a cereal box recovered with scrapbook paper holds magazines; a redecorated detergent bottle is the right size for scooping dog food; an old toothbrush does double-duty as a bracelet.
See the World
Help kids understand the big picture with a paper-mache globe: mix flour and water until runny, and simmer about three minutes to make a simple glue. Dip strips of paper in the glue and drape it around an inflated balloon to create a sphere. Then decorate with continents, water, or pre-printed maps.
Hit the Track
Older kids can join the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association's Junior Solar Sprint, where they work together in teams to build and race solar-powered model cars. While it's not exactly a one-day project, teaching your kids the ins and outs of solar energy will help them make long-term changes in the future.
Unleash Your Inner Artist
The Crayola offers a whole list of kid-friendly, Earth Day-themed ideas that require little more than a set of crayons and some paper: try decorating a paper shopping bag for reuse as a trash bag, making a three-sided diorama to illustrate bike tires' beginnings, or making posters that teach others about endangered species.
Earth Day for Kids
Read a green story
Tacking climate change feels overwhelming even for adults?imagine how huge it seems to your kids. Put the problem and their contribution into perspective with Kaboose's Earth Day story, What Can I Do?". And if you have older kids who are also working on their reading comprehension, you can follow it up with a six-question multiple choice quiz that helps junior readers identify the main themes.
At Planet Pals, kids can scan facts about weather, energy, the food chain, and other science topics, plus download coloring pages, puzzles, and projects--like printable door hangers that remind everyone to turn off the lights before they leave a room, and signs to clearly label each recycling bucket.
Find a volunteering event in your area that's kid-friendly?for ideas, check the activity listings at EarthDay.net or at our Volunteering Database. Kids have tons of energy, and letting them harness it by digging in soil at an organic farm or picking up trash at their favorite playground could set them on a lifelong green path.
Teach a lesson
The Earth Day ideas at Education World are, unsurprisingly, heavy on the research-and-learning side of things, but there are fun projects that won't require an afternoon at the library: make s'mores using solar power, illustrate an Earth Day story, or track the amount of trash one family (or classroom) puts out in a week.
See it in action
We know some kids drag their feet at afternoons spent inside, but natural history museums, planetariums, aquariums, and zoos are all convenient ways to get your young ones acquainted with the plants and animals they?re trying to save. Point out Nemo's twin in the clownfish tank, see if your niece can identify a real life alligator in the reptile house, give your grandson a sense of how the Earth looks from space, and use dinosaurs as a starting point for discussions about extinction.
Read More About Earth DayRead more about Earth Day in the TreeHugger and Planet Green archives.
If you're ready to start getting involved, check the Green Apple Festival volunteer database for ideas and sign-up information. Prepare your home with green cleaning products, or skim the TreeHugger archives for Earth Day-specific tips on recycling, buying electronics, and saving water.
Learn more about Earth Day elsewhere on the web. For more about the history of the holiday, study up with this article from EnviroLink or see what the EPA has to say with their timeline. Get updated info from the Earth Day Network and action ideas from the U.S. Government's Earth Day site.
Keep the creativity flowing with craft ideas for all ages, from paper dioramas and tin can gardens to a coffee filter Earth and clothes made from grocery bags. Older kids (or kids at heart) can check the Planet Green archives for crafts that reuse household objects.