2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day marches to support the environmental movement. Like so many events in 2020, the marches and events planned to mark the anniversary on 22 April will have to become virtual. But these videos of 50 Voices for Earth Day, from age 8 to 80, from around the world can allow your pupils think about the Earth even in lockdown.
On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans — 10% of the U.S. population at the time — took to the streets to demonstrate against pollution, oil spills and other environmental catastrophes, and demand a new way forward for our planet.
The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement, and has been celebrated on 22 April every year since. It quickly led to the passing of several laws to safeguard the environment in the U.S.A.: the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. Earth Day 2020 hoped to take advantage of the conversation started by Greta Thunberg and millions of School Strike for the Planet demonstrators in 2019.
The organisers still have that goal, it's just that the Earth Day has had to go digital. For example, with a week's worth of online talks from 20 April, in the philosophy of the "teach-ins" that marked the original Earth Day.
It also includes the 50 Voices for the Planet campaign, featuring activists from around the world, many of them school- or university-student age. This is the trailer, but there are short videos of the individual activists being uploaded each day explaining what they are doing to try to save the planet.
Start with a Quiz
There are several quizzes on the Earth Day site that would be a nice way into the topic. They're relatively simple, with a focus on learning and teaching rather than catching anyone out.
There's also a quiz aimed at kids on BBC Newsround: just seven questions and easy enough from A2.
Download a Poster
This poster was created by NASA and represents a tree as a river delta, with the Earth’s metaphorical heart pumping water through its natural circulation system. You can download the poster free and find out more about what it represents and how it was created. Your pupils should have fun trying to find the animals hidden in the illustration. (Hint: look for a lizard, a bird, a fish, a squirrel and a butterfly.)
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> Greta’s Speech