Earth Day 2010 - 40 Years of Environmental Learning
1970-2010: 40 Years
The UB Libraries presents a CyberExhibit (originally curated in 2000 on the 30th anniversary of Earth Day) commemorating the anniversary of Earth Day, which includes: a brief history of Earth Day, a listing of selected international, national, state, local, and campus Internet resources, and other materials. A special feature on education is added for the 40th Anniversary with expanded resources for kids, and teachers/educators in formal K-12 and non-formal (nature centers, museums, parks, camps, zoos, etc.) settings.
Some good starting points:
- Earth Day Information Center
- Earth Day Network
- Earth Day - US Government Portal
- Earth Day Online network
- Earth Day 2009 (Wilderness Society)
Special Features for Earth Day 2010:
- History of Earth Day
- Internet Resources for Earth Day
- Ecology and Environment
- Energy Information
- Global Climate Change
- The Great Lakes
- Love Canal
- UB Green
History of Earth Day
"Earth Day is a commitment to make life better, not just bigger and faster; to provide real rather than rhetorical solutions. It is a day to re-examine the ethic of individual progress at mankind's expense. It is a day to challenge the corporate and government leaders who promise change, but who shortchange the necessary programs. It is a day for looking beyond tomorrow. April 22 seeks a future worth living."
- Environmental Teach-In Advertisement
New York Times, January 18, 1970
“Earth Day” was created in 1969 and 1970. However, Earth Day found its initial inspirations in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s -- decades marked by tremendous social and cultural awareness, times of activism and change, times of spiritual enlightenment and consciousness. One cultural concept around which millions of people began to rally was the environment.
The “birth” of the contemporary environmental movement began with the 1949 publication of Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac (UGL/HSL QH 81.L 56), considered by many to be one of the most important books on conservation written this century. Leopold's classic was preceded by the evolution of a contemporary wilderness ethic that began in the 1870s with the creation of Yellowstone National Park (the first such preserve in the world). This land and resource preservation movement extended to 1935 with the publication of The Living Wilderness by the Wilderness Society. The Society's first director, Howard Zahniser, drafted the first version of a wilderness bill in 1955. The bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Hubert Humphrey (D-Minnesota) in 1956 and signed into law as the Wilderness Act by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Rachel Carson's book, Silent Spring (SEL SB 959 C3), was published in 1962 and had a deep and lasting impact by drawing people to heightened levels of concern about the environment.
Several events stimulated a greater concern for the quality of the environment in the 1960s. Among these events were the proclamation that:
- the Great Lakes were dead -- choked by what seemed to be an endless infusion of pollutants
- the grounding of the “Torrey Canyon” off the coast of England, the first catastrophic oil spill from a supertanker
- Ohio's Cuyahoga River catching on fire -- three times (1936, 1952, 1969) -- from the debris and fuels spilt on its surface.
Late in the fall of 1969 the seed for Earth Day was planted when a group of persons in San Francisco lead by John McConnell, approached Peter Tamaris, head of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, with a resolution to devote one day a year (originally proposed on March 21, 1970, the date of the vernal equinox, and is still celebrated on the equinox as day to celebrate the Earth and the intricacies and fragile nature of its interactions.
See Earth Day: Past, Present, and Future for a history of the original Earth Day and its founder, John McConnell. Included in this site is McConnell's original Earth Day Proclamation. Earth Site is McConnell's continuing efforts to promote awareness for celebrating the Earth and from which McConnell promotes these ongoing efforts. It is noted that this Earth Day takes on a much spiritual mantle in celebrating the gifts of Earth and its resources. Also note that McConnell chose March 21 (Equinox) as Earth Day. Read his own words on this.
Coinciding with McConnell's grassroots initiative, Gaylord Nelson (D-Wisconsin) had become quite frustrated with a lack of environmental interest among his Senate colleagues. Hoping to stimulate popular interest for the environment, Nelson looked to America's non-violent campus activism for inspiration and proposed a series of environmental learning experiences, “teach-ins” for campuses across the nation. In a speech in Seattle in September 1969, Nelson announced a national environmental teach-in for the Spring of 1970.
Harvard graduate student, Denis Hayes, went to Washington, D.C. to interview Senator Nelson, who made one of his most persuasive environmental arguments. Nelson persuaded the young, idealistic student to coordinate the nationwide activities that would become another Earth Day celebration.
There are several "conspiracy theories" surrounding the date of April 22nd for Earth Day. First is that was the 100th birthday of Vladimir Lenin (Earth Day was/is a Communist-inspired activity), and "stealing the thunder" of McConnell's equinoctial Earth Day of the March21st vernal solstice. April 22 may have been chosen as the best and most practical date to reach the primary audience, college students; a Wednesday was chosen because it would be the least inconvenient for students who were called upon to participate in the event. There would be no competition with weekend activities, the weather in the northern states would be warming, it was after the annual southern migration of “spring-break” and well before final exams.
The result was a spectacular non-violent demonstration. Folk singer Pete Seeger performed at the Washington Monument, and cars were banned from New York City's Fifth Avenue to accommodate the events. Public speeches, parades, marches, rallies on college campuses, and “teach-ins” launched the contemporary environmental movement. Seeds planted in earlier years were beginning to provide trees that would bear fruit.
The first Earth Day was the largest focused demonstration in history. Congress closed its doors as politicians went home to attend or participate in local events. Legislatures from 42 states passed Earth Day resolutions to commemorate the date. An estimated 20 million Americans -- students, teachers, and officials -- took part in the activities. The wire services carried the story nationwide. The response was dramatic and the call for making April 22nd an annual Earth Day took root. Until recently, this second, "popular" Earth Day has over-shadowed McConnell's original idea for an Earth Day.
The impact on the nation was tremendous. Environmental organizations blossomed and the membership ranks of established conservation groups swelled. The United States Congress, spurred on by the earlier passage of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, passed the Clean Air Act amendments and the Clean Water Act revisions. By the end of 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency was created.
Acid rain, global warming, and ozone depletion -- topics that have no respect for political boundaries -- show the global dimensions, scientific complexities, and policy dilemmas of contemporary environmental issues.
Today, scores of bibliographic database provide online access to tens of thousands of journal articles, books, proceedings, technical reports, and other forms of literature related to the environment. Searching for environmental data and information these days seems like standing at the base of a towering cliff and being unprepared to begin the laborious assault. From your position in front of the rock wall you are seeing only a part of the whole, and can experience great difficulty and frustration in seeking a direct route to the top. Take several steps back and view the mountain in its entirety. Gather your gear and plot an exact and systematic ascent to the summit. Better yet, take a reference librarian as your guide. They have covered the routes before and are always glad to help others appreciate the views along the way.
For an example of how you can make your office more Earth Friendly, read Earth Day 2000: Catalyst for Community Outreach Paper presented at the 1999 New York Library Association Annual Meeting, session, "How Green Is My Library?" Includes descriptions of events and activities libraries can do to promote Earth Day. Extensive lists of resources provided as handouts are included in the site. Still a timely document.
Earth Day Internet Resources
The following Internet resources are suggested as a means to learn more about the quality of our environment and how to access the growing volume of information about our environment. These sites reflect the environmental theme of the first Earth Day, "Think Globally, Act Locally!" The sites listed here provide access to international, national, state, local, and campus resources, and will assist the reader in sustaining an interest in environmental protection. There is also a selection of websites Especially for Kids.
- Western New York Earth Day. The primer site for activities, resources, and other information for Earth Day in Western New York.
- Earth Day. EPA Web site for Earth Day. Has education and partnership resources, History, event listings, and other materials.
- Earth Day Network. (Founded by Earth Day founders Denis Hayes and the late Gaylord Nelson to coordinate Earth Day activities world-wide). Events, activities, teacher's section, worldwide listings of activities.
- Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids Comprehensive inventory of K-12 resources for students arranged by category (e.g. Environment, Health & Safety) or agency (e.g. NASA, USDA, DOI, NOAA).
- Center for Environmental Citizenship (CEC). The Center for Environmental Citizenship/EnviroCitizen was founded in 1992 by college students working to increase the citizen participation of their peers in behalf of environmental issues. Provides ideas, actions, and directions for environmental advocacy. Recently merged with the League of Conservation Voters.
- International Earth Day Website. Worldwide coverage.
- Electronic Green Journal has nearly 40 articles, editorials, and other writings about Earth Day. Search for "Earth Day".
- Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship (ISTL) Issue #26, Spring 2000, is a special issue on Earth Day. ISTL is published by the Science and Technology Section of the American Library Association's Association of College and Research Libraries. Special Edition for the 30th Anniversary of Earth Day.
- World Watch Magazine Special Earth Day 2000 issue.
- Earth Day Canada. Events, activities, for Earth Day and throughout the year.
- Earth Day T-shirts & Gifts
- EDAY 40 A variety of links for educators, students, group leaders, organizations, etc. by the Earth Day New York
- Earth Flag History and ordering information.
- Earth Day - Nice resources for school teachers, including: Teacher's Lounge.
- Eco-Activities from the ECOMALL: Teaching Green
Especially for Kids
- Backyard Jungle Kids friendly site to share their information.
- Earth Day. Earth Day ideas for kids from Planet Pals.
- Earth Day 2010: Crafts, Environmental Games, and Recycling Activities A family friendly site for launching kids' activities.
- Earth Day Activities -crafts for kids, word searches and Earth Day celebration Facts, figures, and more for students.
- Earth Day Activities for Kids Crafts and projects for children.
- Earth Day Crafts and Projects -- Ideas from Enchanted Learning.
- Earth Day for Kids. From EarthDay.gov.
- Earth Day for Kids Background and reading list from the U.S. E.P.A.
- Earth Day Take Home Kit Family-friendly resources for celebrating Earth Day.
- EcoKids Home A variety of ecology-related resources from Canada.
- Energy Kid's Page. Education resources from the Department of Energy.
- Environmental Kids Club
- High School Environmental Center
- History of Earth Day Quiz How much do you know about Earth Day?
- Holiday e-Cards for Earthday - choose from four designs.
- How to Go Green on Earth Day Things you can do to help the Earth.
- Kid's Corner. Useful information about wildlife.
- Middle School: EPA Student Center
- Time for Kids-Specials-EARTH DAY Resources for kids from Time Magazine.
Especially for Teachers (and their students)
- Amphibian Resources for Teachers Useful resources for vernal pool and pond studies.
- Center for Environmental Education Multidisciplinary resources for environmental educatin and links to "Blueprint for a Green School."
- Earth Day. The Sierra Club's special site for Earth Day activities.
- Earth Day in a Box Resources for teaching about Earth Day.
- Earth Days: the Seeds of a Revolution A PBS American Experience story from Boston Public TV, WGBH.
- Earth Education Resources from the Institute for Earth Education.
- EdGateway A robust education and communication portal for sharing ideas, resources, and discussions - tailor made for small to large groups.
- EE-Link (EE-News and EE-Jobs) 5800 links organized in 300 categories, for professional development, climate change, global warming, lesson plans, endangered species, national and international events, jobs, activities for the classroom, and more.
- Electronic Green Journal EGJ is a peer-reviewed digital journal providing open access to scholarly, international environmental information. It is published semiannually by the UCLA Library. This is an open invitation for teachers and educators to submit their original articles, reviews, commentaries, etc.
- Energy Education Resources: Kindergarten through 12th Grade. Published by the National Energy Information Center (NEIC) to provide students, educators, and other information users a list of generally available free or low-cost energy-related educational materials.
- Energy Kids - For Teachers Energy related stories, hands-on activities, and research articles for your classroom! These curriculum-based lessons are separated by age-grade. See also the U.S. Department of Energy's Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists with opportunities for students and teachers (pre-service, in-service, continuing education).
- Environmental Education (USEPA)
- Environmental Education and Outreach (Comprehensive Inventory of Resources)
- Environmental Education and Training Partnership (EETAP) EETAP delivers environmental education training, services and resources to education professionals.
- Environmental Literacy Council Offers over 1000 pages of background information and resources on environmental topics, along with curricular materials, and textbook reviews.
- Environmental Protection Agency: EPA Teaching Center Variety of resources for teachers and educators.
- Environmental Protection Agency Region 2
- Envirothon Serious competition for high school students to show their skills.
- Exploring the Environment Teachers' resources for exploring biodiversity.
- Gaylord Nelson and Earth Day Meet Earth Day founder, Gaylord Nelson and discover the Earth Day story.
- Globe A U.S. Federal government program to stimulate investigation about the Earth and its environment at international levels.
- Greentimes Greentimes strives to inspire and empower urban youth to become curious, successful and environmentally conscious citizens. We work with high school students after school, create "By Kids, For Kids" science and environmental education materials that are distributed for free to public elementary and middle schools in Massachusetts.
- John Muir Exhibit A comprehensive multi-level curriculum resource for teaching about nature, the environment through the life and writings of John Muir.
- NAAEE (North American Association for Environmental Education)
- NASA Education NASA provides a comprehensive, science-based inventory of education resources for teachers and students. Be sure to look at NASA's EOS (Earth Observing System) Resources for Educators.
- National Environmental Education Advancement Project Supports the development and expansion of quality environmental education (EE) programs through a variety of state and local capacity building efforts.
- National Environmental Education Foundation Resources for sharing and learning about environmental issues across disciplines and lines of work.
- National Environmental Education Week National Environmental Education Week (EE Week) the nation's largest environmental education event is held each year the week before Earth Day, for K-12 students. EE Week connects educators with environmental resources to promote K-12 students' understanding of the environment.
- NOAA Education - Specially for Teachers These items are designed for the teacher to use in the classroom or as background reference material.
- National Park Service: Explore Nature Serving all teachers and learners, this web site provides a wealth of educatin resources. This site is the primary educational zone that meets a variety of needs. From curriculum-based materials to resources assisting with student homework or research assignments, this site has a little something for everyone.
- National Science Digital Library The Nation's online library for education and research in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
- NYS Department of Environmental Conservation: Education DEC has environmental education programs and resources that will help everyone become a better steward of the environment. Check their list of nature centers (by region).
- NYSERDA (New York State Energy and Research Development Authority) Links to classroom activities, age-specific curriculum and lesson plans, fun facts and potential funding sources are just a click away. Be sure to check their Quick Facts for details on special issues.
- NYSOEA (New York State Outdoor Education Association)
- OBIS (Outdoor Biology Instructional Strategies) OBIS was the first major environmental education project undertaken after Earth Day. Their activities spawned two generations of environmental instruction and remain viable resources.
- Project Feeder Watch Count feeder birds for science!
- Project Learning Tree is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers and other educators, parents, and community leaders working with youth from preschool through grade 12.
- Project Wild is one of the most widely used conservation and environmental education programs among educators of students in kindergarten through high school. It is based on the premise that young people and educators have a vital interest in learning about our natural world.
- Project WET - Worldwide Water Education The mission of Project WET is to reach children, parents, educators, and communities of the world with water education. We invite you to join us in educating children about the most precious resource on the planet - water.
- Sierra Club Environmental Education Resources from America's most noted environmental group.
- Sustainable Agricultural Resources for Teachers, K-12
- Teaching Center
- The USGS and Science Education The U.S. Geological Survey provides scientific information intended to help educate the public about natural resources, natural hazards, geospatial data, and issues that affect our quality of life. Discover selected online resources, including lessons, data, maps, and more, to support teaching, learning, education (K-12), and university-level inquiry and research.
Education Resources for Climate Change
Global climate change, including global warming, has been a major, and sometimes controversial and always complex lesson to teach. These resources may help teachers and educators.
- ARM - Education: Teachers' Lounge From the U.S. Department of Energy's Atmospheric Resources Monitoring Program.
- Climate change for kids
- Climate Classroom
- Global Warming Basics (Natural Resources Defense Council) What it is, how it's caused, and what needs to be done to stop it.
- Global Warming/Climate Change Theme
- Global Warming Education: School Lesson Plans, Climate Change
- Global Warming Materials for Educators (Union of Concerned Scientists) Below is a list of Global Warming materials for educators. All of these materials are based on published, peer-reviewed science, and have themselves been peer-reviewed by scientific experts in the relevant fields.
- Global Warming - Teacher's Guide Global Warming is an interactive online lesson that will educate students about this highly debated environmental issue. Students will be given the chance to research global warming with global warming web sites linked to our lesson. Then students can put their knowledge to the test with either a classroom debate on global warming, or a written essay about the effects.
- Global Warming: Understanding Greenhouse Gases for Education and Learning
- Lesson Plan - Global Warming (NOW/PBS) Use the NOW Classroom standards-linked lesson on global warming to help students research and form credible opinions. This lesson is designed for social studies, debate, language arts, government/citizenship, and current events classes, grades 9-12.
Recently published (2008-2010) non-fiction children’s books about ecology, the environment, and nature. This is not complete list, just a short list of popular books. Check your local public library, school library, book store or online book seller to find these popular books about Earth Day for children:
- Jim Arnosky. 2008. The Brook Book: Exploring the Smallest Streams. New York, NY:Dutton Children's Books.
- Paulette Bourgeois, Kathy Vanderlinden, and Martha Newbigging. 2008. The Dirt on Dirt. Toronto : Kids Can Press.
- Elizabeth Snoke Harris; Orrin Lundgren. 2008. Save the Earth Science Experiments: Science Fair Projects for Eco-kids. New York: Lark Books.
- Brenda Z Guiberson and Gennadii Spirin. 2009. Life in the Boreal Forest. New York : Henry Holt and Co.
- Nancy Smiler Levinson and Diane Dawson Hearn. 2008. Rain Forests. New York: Holiday House.
- Dorling Kindersley Limited. 2008. Earth Matters. New York: DK Publishing.
- Wendy Pfeffer; Steve Jenkins. 2009. Life in a Coral Reef. New York: Collins.
- Kathleen M Reilly. 2008. Planet Earth: 25 Environmental Projects You can Build Yourself. White River Junction, Vt: Nomad Press.
- Deborah Ruddell; Joan Rankin. 2009. A Whiff of Pine, a Hint of Skunk: A Forest of Poems. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books.
- Anne F Rockwell; Frané Lessac. 2008. Clouds. New York: Collins.
- April Pulley Sayre and Kate Endle. 2008. Trout are Made of Trees. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.
- Mitchell Young. 2009. Free Trade. Detroit : Greenhaven Press.
- Popular Earth Day Books for Kids. This is not complete list, just a short list of popular books. Check your local public library, school library, book store or online book seller to find these popular books about Earth Day for children:
- Alyssa Satin Capucilli. 2010. Biscuit's Earth Day Celebration. New York, NY: Harper Festival.
- Robert Gardner; Sharon Lane Holm. 1992. Celebrating Earth Day: A Sourcebook of Activities and Experiments. Brookfield, Conn.: Millbrook Press.
- Willma Willis Gore. 1992. Earth Day. Hillside, N.J: Enslow Publishing.
- Carol Gnojewski. 2005. Earth Day Crafts. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Elementary.
- Elaine Landau. 2002. Earth Day: Keeping Our Planet Clean. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers.
- Linda Lowery and Mary Bergherr. 1991. Earth Day. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books.
- Amy Margaret. 2002. Earth Day. New York: PowerKids Press.
- Mercer Mayer. 2008. It's Earth Day! New York: Harperfestival.
- David F Marx. 2001. Earth Day. New York: Children's Press.
- Janet McDonnell.1994. Celebrating Earth Day. Chicago: Childrens Press.
- Stuart J Murphy and Renée Andriani. 2004. Earth Day-hooray! New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishing.
- Jane O'Connor, A. Ivanov, and O. Ivanov. 2010. Every Day is Earth Day. Harper Collins Publishing.
- Connie Roop; Peter Roop; Gwen Connelly. 2001. Let's Celebrate Earth Day. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press.
- Kathy Ross; and Sharon Lane Holm. 2006. All New Crafts for Earth Day. Minneapolis, Minn.: Millbrook Press.
- Kathy Ross and Sharon Lane Holm. 1995. Every Day is Earth Day: A Craft Book. Brookfield, Conn.: Millbrook Press.
- Pattie L Schnetzler and Chad Wallace. 2003. Earth Day Birthday. Nevada City, Calif.: Dawn Publications.
- Jeffrey Shulman, Teresa Rogers, and Larry Raymond. 1992. Gaylord Nelson: A Day for the Earth. Frederick, MD: Twenty-First Century Books.
- Emily Sollinger and Dave Aikins. 2009. Dora Celebrates Earth Day! New York: Simon Spotlight/Nickelodeon.