Before 1970, when the first Earth Day took place, people were aware that pollution was present in the air and in the streams. They could hardly overlook the fact that cities hung thick with haze, or that the fish were disappearing from lakes and rivers. However, there was no conscious effort to do anything about it.
From the very first Earth Day, that brought the situation to the public attention, things have changed.
A little idea called “Earth Day”
When Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin senator, first came up with the idea of Earth Day, it was only after trying other options unsuccessfully for many years. Of the groups that he believed would be the most receptive, young people seemed to be the most likely to champion his cause.
In the late 60’s and 70’s, they were at the forefront of every issue, political and otherwise. He reasoned that they had the ability to understand the importance of conservation and environmental awareness.
Once Earth Day took off, and an amazing number of people joined the ranks. The Environmental Protection Agency was formed and began its quest to legislate clean air and water, and to protect the natural resources of national parks, waterways, and forests.
Within twenty years, over one hundred and forty countries worldwide were also involved, choosing to protect their own parts of the world from pollution and to protect and preserve the resources that were part of their own country.
Earth Day Today
Today, Earth Day is a learning experience worldwide. In schools and organizations throughout the country and the world, students celebrate the day through discovering more about their own natural resources and how to protect them.
Teaching even the youngest students about conservation and environmental awareness prepares them for taking over the stewardship of the earth later on. Learning from an early age to appreciate everything in nature, better prepares them to be conscientious adults. Projects like recycling and tree planting for Earth Day at home, get everyone involved and provide them with a hands on experience.
Earth Day also brings to the attention of the public those projects that still need to be done. While there has been a lot of progress, there are many areas that need improvement. Over all, it has proven to be a beneficial idea, and some forty one years later, has proven that it is important for the planet, and the health of those who live here.
Fun Green Facts
Zulily unearthed environmentally-focused kid and parent facts showing how kids are engaged with being green from a survey of 2,000 parents w kids 2-12 from OnePoll (in conjunction with online retailer Zulily):
Parents field an annual average of 432 difficult questions from their kids. Kids are engaging their parents about sustainability and the environment:
- 29% of parents have had their kids ask them why they have to recycle.
- 26% of parents studied have had their kids ask them what being “green” means.
- Over 80% of parents think that by making small changes in their purchasing habits, they can have a positive impact on the environment and community.
- 4 out of 5 parents say they’re more environmentally conscious since having kids.
- 57% of parents say that availability of products is a main reason that keeps them from purchasing eco-friendly products, compared to 50% (49.95) who say price is a factor.
When answering these hard-hitting questions:
- 50% of the parents reveal they’ve had to google the answer before responding.
- 46% avoided the question by distracting their kid with a toy or digital device.
- And despite being stumped, many (42%) of parents reveal they are proud of their kids when they get asked these difficult questions, which show that kids are deeply interested in the world around them.
Ideas for Celebrating Earth Day At Home
This year, many of us find ourselves celebrating Earth Day in our homes. You can still do plenty of activities with your children to help them understand the importance of this very special day. For ideas, check out these resources:
- 5 Earth Day Activities for Children that Motivate and Inspire
- Earth-Friendly Snacks to Celebrate Earth Day
- 25 Awesome Earth Day Activities and Crafts
- 7 Smart Ways to Teach Your Kids about Earth Day
- 5 Free and Fabulous Ways to Celebrate Earth Day
- 10 Fun Family Ideas for Earth Day
- Make Your Own Bear Mask & More | Disneynature BEARS Activities
- Under The Sea Exploration ~ Planet Ocean Family Movie Night
More Green Tips
Some home and garden tips from our friends at Zulily:
Staying at home doesn’t mean you can’t get out in the yard. April and May are the perfect time of year to involve the whole family to learn gardening basics.
Easy beginner gardening is creating a compost bin. By giving a second life to the eggshells, coffee grounds and food scraps you’d normally throw in the trash, you can create a great place to grow herbs, vegetables and even flowers.
Start small and use scraps for your first garden. The ends of green onions, regular onions, and lettuce can be planted as great beginning plants. Put them in a shallow bowl of water first, and let them grow roots – then plant them in a sunny spot outside! Herbs like mint, basil, rosemary and lavender are also great beginner plants.
Use sprouting potatoes in the garden instead of letting it go to waste. When potatoes start to sprout, cut the eyes of the potatoes in the ground or in a pot. Each piece planted has to have an eye to grow.
Create a window garden with reused milk cartons. Cut down the paper carton in half, fill with dirt and plant seeds for kids and/or adults to care. (also works with sour cream and butter containers!) it’s perfect for the window sill.
You can even upgrade to a grow light kit, with seeds that produce flowers and late summer vegetables all year long.