Sunday, April 7, 2002

Make a Difference: Earth Day 2002

Save the Date! Earth Day 2002 is Monday, April 22. Begun in 1969 by Senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day is a nationwide holiday to celebrate the Earth and bring attention to the environmental challenges and perils facing the world today. Though initially a grassroots effort, Earth Day has become an icon in mainstream culture, with millions of people around the world participating in events and activities designed to raise awareness about the current and future plight of planet Earth. In addition to offering students an opportunity to participate in the international dialogue about conservation and environmental restoration, scholars at the Woodrow Wilson Biology Institute say Earth Day provides an excellent occasion for interdisciplinary teaching and "school-wide participation in the learning process."

Environmental efforts are important not only on a global scale, but on a local one as well. Georgia has its very own environmental concerns, and Earth Day can serve as a springboard to help get your students and community involved in local clean up and conservation efforts. According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the greatest ecological challenge facing Georgia is "protecting Georgia's environmental resources during this period of rapid population growth." With a population of more than 8 million, Georgia was the sixth fastest growing state in the U.S. in the 1990's. A constantly growing population means constantly increasing strains on natural resources such as water as well as an increase in the overall pollution of air, water, and land resources.

There are lots of things you can do in your school or even your classroom to celebrate Earth Day with your students. Activities range from poster contests to organizing nature hikes and community clean ups.

This April 22, celebrate Earth Day and bring the whole world into your classroom.