Earth Day or International Mother Earth Day? April 22nd 2012

“I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues…Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

–Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
As a primary school teacher, working with 6 /7  year olds, I remember working on The Lorax with the children in the hope of raising a variety of environmental concerns,some in their own back yard and some global.
A couple of decades on and I can only hope that some of those seeds have grown into saplings and small trees and that some of those young people may be taking action on Earth Day and everyday after…

Earth Day is a day early each year on which events are held worldwide to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth’s natural environment. Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network.

Earth Day draws on astronomical phenomena in a new way – which is also the most ancient way – by using the vernal Equinox, the time when the Sun crosses the equator making the length of night and day equal in all parts of the Earth. To this point in the annual calendar, EARTH DAY attaches no local or divisive set of symbols, no statement of the truth or superiority of one way of life over another. But the selection of the March/April Equinox makes planetary observance of a shared event possible, and a flag which shows the Earth, as seen from space, appropriate.”

International Mother Earth Day was established in 2009 by the General Assembly under Resolution A/RES/63/278. The Resolution was introduced by the  State of Bolivia and endorsed by over 50 member states.It recognizes that “the Earth and its ecosystems are our home” and that “it is necessary to promote harmony with nature and the Earth.” The term Mother Earth is used because it “reflects the interdependence that exists among human beings, other living species and the planet we all inhabit”. It is decided to designate April 22 as International Mother Earth Day.

Education is the key component of any environmental initiative, as it provides for sustainability and prepares future generations of global citizens. The Earth Day Network  is helping teachers incorporate those elements into their classroom through online resources, curriculum and activities that engage the entire community.

For the teachers out there:

Reading For The Earth

Earth Day Network has provided you with an online toolkit that will provide the resources to help guide you with informing and organizing activities for young readers in your community. Earth Day Network has identified a number of steps that you can follow to effectively engage your students in the environmental  movement.

Encourage Reading

To encourage reading amongst young readers in grades K-8, Earth Day Network suggests you follow the steps identified below:

Step #1 – Advertise

Find locations in your library that are highly viable to young readers and their parents  and post fliers and announcements about the campaign.  Create your own original posters or use on of Earth Day Network’s Reading for the Earth™ posters located below:

Poster Design #1      Poster Design  #2      Poster Design #3      Poster Design #4

Step #2 – Create Display/Showcase

Build a display or showcase that has information about Reading for the Earth including posters and suggested reading lists. Gather a few books to highlight in your display and to help you find environmentally themed books, Earth Day Network has created suggested reading lists for young readers in both grades K-3 and grades 4-8. Some of the selections from the lists are highlighted below and to view a more complete reading list click the link after each section.

Grades K– 3 Reading list

Squish! A Wetland Walk; Nancy Luenn

A feast for the senses, Squish! provides young children with an introduction to the sights, sounds, and smells of a wetland as experienced by a young boy. Luenn uses simple language to explain some of the many ways wetlands are beneficial, and Himler’s quiet watercolors beautifully capture the unusual, wondrous atmosphere.

The Curious Garden; Peter Brown

The Curious Garden, by Peter Brown, is an excellent book about the benefits of greening up our own small corner of the urban world, as told through the story of a young boy who begins to “guerilla garden” in a desolate corner of the city.

The Great Kapok Tree; Lynne Cherry

Author and illustrator Lynne Cherry tells the tale of a man who is sent into the Amazon rain forest one day under instructions to chop down a great kapok tree. As he sleeps, animals emerge from the jungle canopy to plead with the sleeping ax-man to spare their home, and this unique  perspective from the wildlife provides an intriguing scientific argument for preserving nature’s gifts.

Complete Grades K-3 Suggested Reading List (PDF File)

Grades 4-8 Reading List

The Weirdos, Theodore Taylor

Chip Clewt, known simply as the weirdo, lives like a hermit in the Powhatan Swamp, a National Wildlife Refuge that is at the center of a heated controversy between local hunters and  environmentalists.

What  the Parrot told Alice, Dale Smith

What the Parrot Told Alice is a remarkable story, founded on fact. It is destined to awaken the conscience of young people to crucial issues of our time, such as habitat destruction and exploitation of wildlife.

My Side of the Mountain, Jean Craighead George

Jean Craighead George tells the story of a boy who really wants to get away from it all. So, he leaves home to live in the mountains, where he learns to live off the land and gains a sense of independence and adventure before he finally reunites with his family.

Complete Grades 4-8 Suggested Reading List (PDF File)

Suggested Reading List- Grades 9-12                         Suggested Reading List- Australian Authors

Step #3 – Sign-Up Young Readers

Allow young readers to pledge to read environmentally themed books  throughout  the month of April in honor of Earth Day. At the end of April, Earth Day Network will ask participating libraries to count, record, and report the number of pledges made at their libraries.  All participating libraries will receive Certificates of Participation which will be emailed to you using the email that you provide during registration.   Download and to print the official Reading  for the Earth™ pledge sheet click here.

Each pledge will count as an act of green in our A  Billion Acts of Green®  campaign,. The purpose of this campaign is to mobilize one billion acts of environmental service around the world.  The campaign calls for people of all nationalities to commit to an act that helps reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainability.  Collectively, these acts will also demonstrate the power of small every-day individual acts of green. For more information on A Billion Acts of Green® visit:

Certificate to award to students who have pledged to read an environmental book

Earth Day Network – India

India has emerged as a decisive environmental, social, economic and political power. Earth Day Network is engaging with partners to build and enhance the region’s civic mobilization and leadership in the environmental movement.It is unfortunate that the government still pursues military strengthening as part of its political power base -we can hope for more peaceful pursuits so that the environment does not suffer any more through destructive power plays.

Building on the success of its 40th Anniversary Earth Day campaign, Earth Day Network has launched a permanent India Program, head- quartered in Kolkata, India. Projects in India focus on :

• Environmental Education
Women & The Green Economy (WAGETM)
• Capacity Building & Training
• Earth Day — India

Check out Hesperian

April 22 is Earth Day!  Hesperian is celebrating by releasing A Community Guide to Environmental Health. Also there is a new HealthWiki! This digital format makes it easy to access, edit and adapt the material for local needs.

And how big is your environmental footprint? Calculate the impact you are having on the planet.


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