Earth Day History 4/20

This year, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! What is Earth Day, anyways?

The very first Earth Day was celebrated all over the United States! Watch this original broadcast from CBS on April 22nd, 1970.

Earth Day is not just celebrated in the United States! Protecting our planet is recognized worldwide!!  Check out some of the ways people celebrate Earth Day around the world.

K-3 Read Aloud: One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul

Progress starts with change, and change starts with awareness. Are you aware of the materials you use every day and what happens to them when you are done using them?  Just like the women in the story, recycling to them doesn’t mean just putting the materials in a bin to go to the recycling plant. What does it mean to them?

Using the plastic grocery bags you have at home, create something that can be used! Here are some fun ideas.

Check out what Peppa Pig has to say about recycling. 

Sometimes, our used materials do not make it into the designated disposal bins. Get some gloves and a garbage bag and pick up the litter in your neighborhood! Separate the trash from the recycle and put into the correct bins.


There is a lot that can happen in a decade, but fifty years?  That’s five decades!  First, take a look at this picture of the front cover of New York Times Newspaper from 1970. What are your thoughts?

Now, write out the events and dates listed below on a sheet of paper and cut them apart (they are not in order!!). Can you match the event to the date and then put them in chronological order? Your close reading skills will help you solve the puzzle without using the internet!

1970        Earth Day uses the power of the internet to build millions of local conversations across more than 180 countries.  
2000    This Earth Day will mark 50 years with global activations that aim to bring together a billion people worldwide for action to transform our planet for the better.    
1990  Earth Day goes global, including 200 million people in 141 countries.  
2020  The first Earth Day brings together 20 million Americans to call for increased protections for our planet
2010  Earth Day Network launches “A Billion Acts of Green” and “The Canopy Project.” Earth Day this year engages 75,000 global partners in 192 countries.  

They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and they’re right! Look through your recycle bin.  You may think that what is in cannot be used, but it can! Use materials in your recycle bin to create something useful!  This could be a wind chime, a garden ornament, a pencil (or other item) container, a piggy bank, etc.  Make it look fancy using other items you have at home (construction paper, glitter, beads, string, etc.)!


While there have been so many positive things that happened in the last fifty years as a result to Earth Day and our awareness to protecting our resources, see how farmers are protecting the water with innovative methods including a bioreactor.

Check out this video about the power of water and how you can help control erosion.

Something for Everyone

Even cartoons before the first Earth Day was established reminded us to do our duties as stewards of the Earth. Watch this fun cartoon from 1956!

Assessment and Extended Response


  1. What is a common material we use every day?(plastic)
  2. Why should we recycle? (answers will vary)

*Can you name a few reasons why it’s important not to litter? (makes our neighborhoods look bad, small animals can ingest and become sick, litter will make it to a drain pipe and eventually to a stream and the ocean, etc.)


  1. How many decades is in fifty years? (5)
  2. In which decade did Earth Day become recognized globally? (1990)

*Why has pollution increased over time? (increase in population, manufacturing plants producing mare product creating more by-product as a result, regulation practices on waste removal are not being followed, many people don’t care or don’t see how this will affect our future, etc.)

*Explain why recycling is an option to reduce waste and pollution. (answers will vary)

*Answers to timeline activity

              1970: The first Earth Day…

              1990: Earth Day goes global…141 countries

              2000: Earth Day uses the power…180 countries

              2010: Earth Day launches…192 countries

              2020: This Earth Day will mark 50 years…

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