Earth Day is celebrated world wide and is always accompanied by easy ways to live a greener, more sustainable lifestyle. We are reminded to reduce, reuse, and recycle, learn ways to start composting, and that we should all plant more trees. It is a day designed to educate and inspire the people of this planet to take a step forward in their efforts to make a difference in the environment.
But do you remember why we do all of this?
I recently asked some friends of mine this question and the answers were startlingly vague. So I started thinking about what my kids think Earth Day is all about. Why do we recognize it? Despite being a family that avidly recycles, composts daily, and reuses homework sheets as printer paper, I found my kids (ages 4, 7 and 10) responding with looks that ranged from utter confusion to canned responses from a recent poster they saw at school.
There was no connection. No emotional link. No direct line of reason or affect to make the message matter.
Everything we do in our home we do because we want to and because we believe that all efforts, big or small, make a difference. My husband and I teach our kids that it is our responsibility to take care of this planet and to be vigilant in our efforts to continually find ways to do that.
And yet, unbeknownst to us, our message was obviously falling on deaf ears.
So I started looking for the reasons why we celebrate Earth Day, not just how to celebrate Earth Day. That, my friends, is my message to my kids this year. I am hoping to touch their hearts with information that makes it clear that this is not just another day on the calendar. I want to teach them that this day was created for a reason and that it is important to all of us. How did I do that?
I told them about the Earth and how cool it was. Then followed that up with some startling facts about what happens when we are NOT environmentally responsible. Some were facts about this amazing Earth we live on. Others are simple statistics about pollution and/or the impact humans have on this planet.
They were floored. They were amazed. They saw the connection, and they too wanted to work at saving this ‘cool’ planet.
Share these with your family and be amazed! Hopefully it will get everyone curious about how THEY can help get involved! It may not last, but it is a start! Want to pair these facts with activities and ideas? Check out these other Earth Day posts here and here!
–> The very first Earth Day ever celebrated was on April 22, 1970
–> It takes 6 weeks for an aluminum can to go through the entire process of being manufactured, recycled, and manufactured again.
–> Only 1 % of all plastic shopping bags used are actually recycled. 🙁
–> 28 BILLION trees were planted in Afghanistan on Earth Day, 2011. Woohoo!
–> The official name of this special day is International Mother Earth Day.
–> 20 million people participated in the very first Earth Day. Now, over 1 billion people actively recognize it in some way.
–> The idea of an international Earth Day was born in the wake of the Vietnam War protests of the 1960’s.
–> Standing on the Earth, you are spinning at about 1,000 miles an hour!
–> For every ton of paper we recycle, 17 trees are saved!
–> 85% of household waste is recyclable or compostable. 85%!
–> On average, each person tosses out 4 pounds of garbage a day.
–> 1 gallon of motor oil could contaminate up to 2 MILLION gallons of water.
–> The Earth is 70% water, but only .01 of that is drinkable.
–> Did you know there is a special Earth Day flag?
–> Recycling just one aluminum can saves enough energy to equal a half gallon of gasoline.
–> More than 20 MILLION Hershey’s Kisses are wrapped every single day and it uses about 133 square miles of tinfoil. That foil is recyclable!
–> The amount of water on Earth is constant and is being recycled continuously.
–> 27,000 trees are felled every single day just for the production of toilet paper.
–> Plastic in the oceans kills about 1million animals each year.
–> The Earth’s rainforest are disappearing at a rate of 100 acres a minute.
–> Glass can be recycled an infinite number of times, but if thrown away, takes 40,000 years to decompose.