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Daniel McNeal | April 10, 2018

Earth Day – April 22nd – is a worldwide civic-focused day of action to demonstrate support for environmental protection and stewardship. Started in 1970, Earth Day has grown to become the largest civic-focused day of action in the world with over 1 billion people from 192 countries taking part. This year’s Earth Day theme is “End Plastic Pollution.”

Earth Day Network, the organization the leads Earth Day worldwide, has committed to mobilizing the world to ending plastic pollution. They intend to use Earth Day to create support for the global elimination of single-use plastics as well as a global regulation for the disposal of plastics. Furthermore, Earth Day is an opportunity to educate millions of people about the adverse health and other risks associated with the use and disposal of plastics.

There are four main components of the End Plastic Pollution campaign: 1. Leading a grassroots movement to support the adoption of a global framework to regulate plastic pollution; 2. Educating, mobilizing and activating citizens across the globe to demand that governments and corporations control and clean up plastic pollution; 3. Educating people worldwide to take personal responsibility for plastic pollution by choosing to reject, reduce, reuse and recycle plastics, and 4. Promoting local government regulatory and other efforts to tackle plastic pollution. Learn more about Earth Day and ways to get involved by visiting the official Earth Day website. You can also register your own Earth Day event or download Earth Day Toolkits to use in your classroom.

Earth Day is celebrated only one day per year, but the lessons can, and should, be applied all year long. Using Earth Day as a jumping off point, there is an opportunity for educators to incorporate concepts of sustainability, preservation and conservation into their classrooms throughout the school year. Edutopia has compiled an extensive list of lesson plans, reading lists, and classroom ideas that educators can use to incorporate Earth Day into their classrooms. Access to these resources can be found by clicking here. Additionally, the National Education Association has collected Earth Day curriculum resources for all K-12 grade levels. Access to these resources can be found by clicking here.