Amber Alert

Happy Earth Day!

In the Beginning...
In 1963, former Senator Gaylord Nelson began to worry about our planet. Senator Nelson knew that our world was getting dirty and that many of our plants and animals were dying. He wondered why more people weren't trying to solve these problems. He talked to other lawmakers and to the President. They decided that the President would go around the country and tell people about these concerns. He did, but still not enough people were working on the problem.

The Idea
Then, in 1969, Senator Nelson had another idea. He decided to have a special day to teach everyone about the things that needed changing in our environment. He wrote letters to all of the colleges and put a special article in Scholastic Magazine to tell them about the special day he had planned. Most of the schools got this magazine and he knew that kids would help him.

The Holiday
On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day was held. People all over the country made promises to help the environment. Everyone got involved and since then, Earth Day has spread all over the planet. People all over the world know that there are problems we need to work on and this is our special day to look at the planet and see what needs changing. Isn't it great?

One person had an idea and kept working until everyone began working together to solve it. See what happens when people care about our world?

My suggestion is that Earth Day evolve into a week (or a month or a year) of activities. Ideally, these activities will provide your family with a means to act on their convictions. Most importantly these activities can provide a progressive model which can make Earth Day activities part of your schedule all year long. The following list offers examples of activities at various levels of involvement:

  • Minimize the use of chlorine bleaches, which can create toxic compounds in waste water.
  • Only water your lawn once a week. Apply about one inch of water, slowly and deeply. Be sure to water your lawn only before 10 AM or after 6 PM, never in between, to prevent excess evaporation.
  • To reduce the amount of junk mail you receive (because it uses up valuable natural resources and contributes to pollution and litter problems), contact the Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service.
  • Set the refrigerator's temperature to between 36° and 39° F.
  • Turn your water heater down to 120° F.
  • Identify local as well as global environmental crises.
  • Show the film "The Lorax" by Dr Seuss.
  • Create awareness posters.
  • Create poetry, essays, rap songs, and speeches,etc., about your Earth Day concerns.
  • Read published poetry and stories related to environmental concerns.
  • Research environmental organizations in order to make informed decisions about where to send proceeds from fundraising.
  • Read and post daily environmental announcements.
  • Involve students in presenting environmental information to local media, such as writing letters to newspaper editors or science reporters at local T.V. stations.
  • Bring in environmental speakers.
  • Have students carry a trash bag with personal garbage for one school week.
  • Make recycled paper.
  • Investigate the purchase of recycled paper for school use.
  • Make bird houses and feeders or other wildlife feeding stations.
  • Propagate house plants to sell as a fundraiser or to give to teachers to display in their classrooms as air fresheners.
  • Draft petitions and actively inform as signatures are sought.
  • Do a garbage study from cafeteria waste cans at the end of a typical school day. Identify and quantify aluminum, plastic, paper, food, glass, etc. Propose ways to reduce the amount to the student council or other appropriate organization.
  • Write letters to congressmen and senators to support environmental legislation.
  • Have a school art exhibit (photography, sculpture, etc.) that focuses upon the environment.
  • Plant a tree.
  • Plant seeds.
  • Have high school students present environmental information to middle and elementary schools.
  • Volunteer locally to do habitat preservation.
  • Clean up a nearby roadway.
  • Recycle at home.
  • Volunteer at a recycling center.
  • Begin recycling programs in your school or analyze the ones already in place and suggest improvements.
  • Plan a field trip to a sewage treatment, sanitary landfill, zoo, arboretum, or nature center.
  • Interview directors or presidents of local environmental organizations, not only to learn what the organization does, but also to find out why these people volunteer their time and how they became interested in the environment.
  • Get outside and enjoy the fresh air.
  • Go for a walk and pay attention to how many different kinds of plants, animals, and insects you see.
  • Find out about different ways to save energy.
  • Stop using pesticides on your lawn.
  • Buy organic.
  • Buy energy-saving, compact-fluorescent light bulbs and other energy efficient products.
  • Create an outdoor compost receptacle.
  • Clean up a nearby beach or stream.
  • Arrange 'A Used Battery Drive.' Ask everyone to bring in their used batteries so that they can all be brought to a recycling depot.
  • Adopt a rainforest animal.
  • Learn the history of Earth Day.
  • Make leaf prints.
  • Avoid products with excessive, unrecyclable packaging.
  • Fix leaking faucets and toilets.
  • Use phosphate-free detergent.
  • Run full loads of laundry.
  • Have the local water utility distribute information on the benefits of low-flow shower heads.
  • Adjust your thermostat up one degree in the summer and down one in the winter to drastically reduce emissions.
  • Turn off electronic devices, lights, and appliances when you are not using them.
  • Carpooling and using public transportation reduces emissions and is cost effective.
  • Bring your own bags to the market.
  • Create good thoughts. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “All we have to fear is fear itself.” By creating the awareness that we can heal the Earth -- that it is not too late, we combat the paralysis that fear often produces. So if all you can do on this Earth Day is think one good thought about the Earth, you will have contributed to a changing of the fear-based mentality.

Take the quiz below to see how eco-friendly you are.
Are You Living Green Quiz

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