A Day to Celebrate Earth
Earth Day is the largest, most widely celebrated
international environmental event. Earth Day helps celebrate Earth’s
unique place in the universe. It is the only planet in our solar
system teeming with incredible biodiversity.
Learning about and protecting this biodiversity is what Earth Day is all about.
People all over the world celebrate our efforts to protect plants and animals and
to clean up the world we live in. Most people celebrate Earth Day on April
22nd each year. In some countries, it is celebrated a month earlier on the vernal
Countries all over the world celebrate Earth Day in different ways. China
created a stamp to commemorate Earth Day and the planet.
The First Earth Day
Nelson of the United States founded Earth Day. Earth Day was first celebrated
on April 22, 1970 in the United States. Across the United States, 20 million
people and thousands of local schools and communities participated in the first
Earth Day. The huge turnout for the first Earth Day made it the largest organized
celebration in the history of the United States. Earth Day’s success
helped influence the government of the United States to create stronger laws
to protect the environment.
Demonstrations are one way people voice their opinions about environmental
practices and laws they disagree with. These people are protesting old-growth
logging in an ancient forest in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
Earth Day Goes International
On March 21, 1971, United
Nations (UN) Secretary-General U Thant made Earth Day an international
celebration. He spoke about it at a Peace Bell Ceremony at the United Nations
in New York City. The United Nations Earth Day ceremony continues each year
on the day of the vernal equinox (March 20th or 21st), with the ringing of
the UN Peace Bell at the very moment of the equinox.
A Turnout of 200 Million!
In 1990, the first official International Earth Day was celebrated. About
200 million people from 141 nations took part in a celebration of environmental
conservation. In many countries, the global event reminded presidents and other
national leaders how important protecting Earth is to people.
A Summit to Save the Planet
Many of these leaders later took part in the first United
Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. At the summit,
global problems such as climate
change and the worldwide loss of indigenous cultures
and wild species were
Why Celebrate Earth Day?
Earth Day reminds us we all share the same
planet. Sharing Earth means taking responsibility for what we use and how we
use it. It is a day to think of the environmental challenges we face and how
to solve them. Protecting Earth is every person’s and every country’s
Parties All Around the Globe
People traditionally celebrate Earth Day
with the ringing of bells, often bells of peace. The tradition of bell ringing
is practiced all over the world on Earth Day. Representatives from Palestine,
Austria, and Russia have all rung a Peace Bell in a ceremony celebrating the
protection of the environment and
of Earth’s many species.
Children in India put on this “Save the Earth” skit to celebrate
the planet and to raise environmental awareness.
©Sunny Brook Playhome
A Rally in India
In India, one Earth Day was celebrated by approximately 1,200 kids. They held
a rally during which they carried signs with slogans and messages about preserving
all of nature. The children also performed skits about the environment. The
India Habitat Center held painting and quiz competitions. At other events,
kids presented a “Children’s Clean Air Manifesto” to the
president’s wife. Then they held a Children’s Bicycle Rally to
promote nonpolluting forms of transportation.
In Kenya, Earth Day is celebrated along with the country’s National
Tree Planting Day. Citizens and students plant trees in order to preserve
forests and keep the environment clean.
More Trees for Kenya
In Kenya, distinguished guests and schoolchildren planted 1,000 trees in Nairobi’s endangered Karura
forest. The plantings were in honor of Earth Day and Kenya’s National
Tree Planting Day on April 21.
Field trips and outdoor projects are a great way to learn more about Earth,
your environment, and all the interesting things that live there.
Theme Parties in China
Earth Day each year with a theme. One year the theme was Protection of Geographic
Relics and Scientific Development. This theme highlighted the importance of
preserving cultural history and artifacts.
Another year the theme focused on sustainable use
resources in China and all over the world.
Thorny devil lizards are one of the many unusual Australian wildlife species
that depend on the mallee wilderness of Yellabinna to survive.
Earth Day Down Under
In Australia, a group dressed in animal costumes held a parade in which they
carried flags and banners in support of protecting Yellabinna (yell-uh-BEE-nah),
the world’s largest stretch of mallee wilderness.
Another Earth Day celebration drew attention to air pollution by
organizing a large “car-less” day. Many central Sydney streets
were blocked off to cars. These car-free streets became the site of an Earth
Day festival with music, theater, and educational exhibits.
Join the Earth Day Party
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan rings the peace bell at a Peace
Bell Ringing Ceremony.
Come join the party with millions of other
kids and celebrate your Earth! Earth Day celebrations provide a chance to remember
what an amazing planet we live on.
How have you celebrated Earth Day in the past? If you or your class has a
great story, tell GLOBIO so that your story can be shared with kids around
the world on Earth
Making Earth-friendly Choices
There are many different things each of us can do to help protect species,
keep Earth clean, and fix damage that has been done. For example, using fewer
natural resources will help make sure there are enough resources to go around.
It will also help make sure that future generations won’t
run out of the things we all need, like clean water, air, and soil.
A Hole in Our Safety Zone
Scientists are worried about air pollution and its effects on the ozone
layer. They use special technology and tools to carefully watch the hole
that has developed over Antarctica. This is a mapping spectrometer image
of the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica.
When we don’t use resources in a responsible
way, we may create pollution that can damage water, soil, air, and other parts
of the environment. For instance, certain types of air pollution have already
created a hole in our planet’s ozone
layer. The ozone layer is part of the atmosphere.
It is made up of a special gas called ozone.
The ozone layer helps keep us safe from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.
Most scientists believe that as more air pollution is made, the ozone layer
will become thinner and more holes will develop. This will allow even more
ultraviolet rays to reach Earth. A thinner ozone layer may result in harm to
people, animals, and plants.
Conservation of endangered species is an important part of Earth Day and
taking care of the planet every day. At the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
in Kenya in Africa, orphaned baby rhinoceroses and elephants are raised by
keepers. Eventually, they are released back into their wild habitat.
Protecting Endangered Species
Along with pollution, things like habitat destruction
and poaching are
causing some species to become endangered. Finding ways to
protect and save endangered species is a primary goal of conservation groups.
Earth Day celebrations are a great opportunity for these groups to teach us
all about the planet and how every person can make a difference.
Think Globally, Act Locally
More cities around the world are making streets, roads, and special paths
just for bicycles and pedestrians. On special days each week, month, or year,
many cities close some of their roads to cars and other vehicles in order
to promote walking and bicycle riding.
Earth Day isn’t the only day when the
world can and should celebrate the planet we all share. In fact, at GLOBIO
we believe Earth
Day Everyday should be theway to live.
Here are a few ways you can help Earth every day.
- Walk or ride a bicycle to school, the park, or the store. Encourage your
parents to walk or ride to work, too. This is a great way to help reduce
the pollution created by cars, trucks, buses, trains, and airplanes.
- Plant trees. Trees help keep the air clean.
- Do not litter. Pick up litter on the sidewalk, street, beach, or riverbank.
This will help keep the environment free of contaminants.
- Create a compost pile
for food scraps and plant waste from the garden. This is a good way to cut
down on the amount of trash that goes into a landfill. As a bonus, compost
helps create rich soil for gardening.
- Recycle! Recycling is
an important part of keeping Earth clean. It is very easy to do. By giving
old things a new life we put less pressure on important resources all of
us will need in the future to survive.
Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Understanding how long something takes to
decompose in a garbage dump or landfill can help motivate all of us to reuse
and recycle everything we can. The best thing any of us can do for the environment
is to rethink the way we use things and to use less. The fewer resources and
products we use, the less stuff there is to throw away and recycle. Can you
guess how long it takes the things we use everyday to turn into soil in a landfill?
Click below to find the answers.
Most things that are thrown away in an average bag of trash can be recycled.
Open this picture and move your mouse around the sorted piles of trash to learn
what can be recycled instead of thrown away.