The first Earth Day in 1970 brought 20 million people together to learn about the environmental degradation wreaking havoc on the planet and demand a new way forward. This sparked the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of environmental laws and regulations that keep our natural systems healthy: the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. This was possible because of the incredible passion and motivation of youth and educators taking a stand for a cleaner planet for their future.
Today, Earth Day is currently celebrated in more than 190 countries and recognized as the world’s largest civic event. However, the fight for a healthy environment is far from over. Climate change and COVID-19 present enormous threats to the state of the planet and the health of our youth. While we may be isolated from one another during this time, we are also more united than ever. We can navigate these challenges by coming together over our shared experiences and concern for the health of each other and for the planet.
On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, 2020, millions around the world are expected to take digital climate action to combat some of the greatest challenges facing humanity. Every individual, community, and school has an important role to play in this event. As you shift to online learning, Earth Day Network is here to support you with a variety of engaging climate, civic, and environmental education resources that you can access from home.
This monumental anniversary presents a key moment for you to engage your learners with high-quality environmental education resources and inspire them to take action. Use our Earth Day history & timeline presentation to engage your students in lessons about major scientific achievements, groundbreaking environmental policy, setbacks from contamination and extinctions, environmental heroes, and more. You can also adapt this Prezi presentation into an at-home activity through research projects, creative writing tasks, art projects, or science experiments around big events that have shaped our history. Your students can influence the achievements of tomorrow by adding their own actions and dreams for a healthy world! Take a look at the Youth in Action lesson plan by Prezi to help guide civic engagement and action.
Ways to engage in Earth Day 2020
No matter where you are, the health of the environment will have an impact on your students’ ability to accomplish their goals. As educators, you can empower your students to develop the skills, optimism, and resolve to be stewardship leaders of the planet and take on modern challenges such as climate change. Earth Day isn’t just a day; it’s a movement that provides the foundation for growth throughout a lifetime. Your school has the potential to make impactful changes for the earth, and you have the potential to lead the way. Here are a set of educational resources to help make that happen.
Environmental Education at Home
Check out our Environmental Education at Home webpage. Browse our collection of games, activities, and lessons for all ages, including a menu of Earth Day at Home ideas, Earth Day quizzes, and online resources from a number of organizations!
Engage your class in citizen science using Earth Challenge 2020, our free mobile app. Citizen science is a meaningful way to engage students in the scientific method, contribute to meaningful research, and demonstrate real-world applications of learning. Using the app, your students can collect and share data on air quality and plastic pollution from or around their home. Your class can then use our lesson plans to explore these topics further by understanding what their data means and how to address these issues.
Dig into our 2020 Digital Teach-In Toolkit for a step-by-step guide on how to hold an online environmental teach-in. We also created an introduction to the teach-in model on Prezi Video for you and your students.
Earth Day Daily Challenge
Want a better planet? Try completing the Earth Day Daily Challenge. It’s 22 days of activities that you, your family, or your students can do to gain awareness and help the Earth. Follow the Earth Challenge on Twitter or Instagram at #EarthDay2020, #EarthRise, and #PreziVideo.
Check out this video that Paul, Prezi’s Teacher in Residence, tweeted in the spirit of the Earth Day Daily Challenge:
Prezi climate change lessons
Check out Prezi’s set of climate change lessons based on vetted, open educational resources. They engage students in both science and civics of the climate crisis.
Join the Earth Day movement
Find more information on Earth Day Network’s website to help you adapt to virtual learning and plan activities. You can also join millions of others fighting for the health of our youth and for the planet by sharing your voice, event, or action on our map.
Starting on April 22, will you advocate for the future of our youth and the environment?
This article was co-authored by Rachel Weisbrot and Tracey Ritchie of Earth Day Network.
Rachel Weisbrot is the Education Associate at Earth Day Network. A recent graduate of Binghamton University, she is interested in using the power of education to galvanize environmental protection and restoration.
Tracey Ritchie has been in the field of Environmental Education for over 15 years. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Florida, where her research focused on climate education utilizing systems thinking strategies. As Director of Education for Earth Day Network, she develops resources, curricula, and tools for educators across the globe to increase climate and environmental literacy.