By Christine Robertson, Director of Education, Earth Day Network
Since the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network has been working to broaden, diversify, and mobilize the environmental movement. In support of our mission, we are committed to greening all of America’s K-12 schools in one generation, supporting the growing green economy with our Women and the Green Economy (WAGE) initiative, and activating our network to take on environmental actions big and small through our Billion Acts of Green Campaign ®.
A Billion Acts of Green ® is the largest environmental service campaign in the world, with the purpose of inspiring and rewarding individual acts and larger organizational initiatives that further the goal of measurably reducing carbon emissions and supporting sustainability. We have already reached our first billion acts, and are working toward our second billion!
Each year, Earth Day Network (EDN) chooses a theme for Earth Day, and this year our focus is ‘The Face of Climate Change.’ Climate change can seem like a remote problem for our leaders, but it is impacting real people, animals, and places around the world. Fortunately, a different Face of Climate Change is growing, too: people are stepping up to do something about it. For Earth Day 2013, we want to tell these stories. To do this, we are collecting and displaying images of how climate change has impacted your life and those around you. The interactive digital display of all the images will be shown at thousands of Earth Day events around the world. Submitting photos is a great way for kids to be involved in a global Earth Day event, and show the world that they are invested in the future of their planet; they have a stake in this challenge too.
Our Educator’s Network is made up of over 37,000 educators from around the world. Through this network, EDN provides resources for teachers, opportunities their students, and a way for educators to connect with each other. If you are an educator (classroom teacher, volunteer, scout leader, or anyone else who works with young people), EDN has many lesson plans available for free download from our Educator’s Network. These lessons can be used in any setting, but they are aligned to national learning standards to help teachers make use of them in school.
There are Earth Day events happening in every corner of the U.S. and around the world, and we encourage you to reach out to your local environmental organizations to see what opportunities there are.
It is important to remember that while we want many people engaged in Earth Day events, there are small actions that you and the young people in your life can take every day to help ensure a sustainable world. Start a vegetable garden: kids will learn how plants grow (and that vegetables don’t come from the grocery store!), and your food will have traveled zero miles to reach your plate. Unplug electronics when you’re not using them: many electronics pull energy even when they are powered down. We call these vampire electronics and unplugging them can make a real difference to your carbon footprint and your electric bill.
To learn more about Earth Day and how you can celebrate it every day, visit www.earthday.org.
Christine Robertson is the Director of Education at Earth Day Network. Christine’s extensive training and experience in environmental education combines hands-on work as an educator with the theoretical study of what motivates environmental responsibility. Her interests include the theory and practice of how environmental education can be most effectively incorporated into K-12 curricula in order to transform how students make environmentally responsible decisions.