Mr. Earth Day

Striving to be green?  Wanting to make a major impact on our environment?  Forget about sending an e-mail (paper-free) to the president, mayor, local official or principal.  What about that guy over there on his bike?  Yeah, the one in the flannel shirt.  That would be Denis Hayes, or, after his ability to rally more than 200 million folks, Mr. Earth Day.  He was the driving force behind Earth Day in the 1970s and turned it into a global force in 1990.

http://www.time.com/time/reports/environment/heroes/heroesgallery/0,2967,hayes,00.html

Growing up in Camas, Washington, Hayes didn’t set out to be an environmentalist.  He loved begin outdoors, but was concerned about the impact of local mills polluting the air.  He became even more concerned as an undergraduate at Stanford, where he finally became active and lead 1,000 students to take over a weapons-research lab.  With a minor warning and the advice to settle down,  Hayes became an intern in a government office where he was responsible for organizing a series of teach-ins across the country to call attention to the environment.  This only builded upon the momentum from his younger rebellions regarding the ravaged forests of his time.  In turn, he dropped out of school and designated all of his time to promoting rallies, street demonstrations and trash clean-up.  conclusively, Hayes had the largest gathering of flower power with nearly 20 million people following his cause.

recycle-day.jpg

After other various projects, including being appointed the head the Solar Energy Research Institute in Colorado by President Jimmy Carter, Hayes still preaches his passion and encourages both young and old to become involved.  Except now, he uses what he refers to as the ‘magic wand’ to spread the word, the internet.

“Earth Day is for the environment what Martin Luther King Day is for civil rights,” Hayes says. “We know what to do. But can we summon the political will and courage to make it happen?”

Earth Day is more than a 24 hour occurrence.  After all, we tend to spend every single day using the earth and its resources.  To crate momentum in your students, have the tap into their inner activism.  Using a computer (to save paper), have them generate a list of different ways to help the environment, from the biggest to the even the most minimalist ideas.  Have them organize ideas in what they can do independently and what may take more time to organize with others.  Now, the most important part, ACT.  It is not only enough to teach students how to live greenly, but you must model it as well.  Actively encourage students to pursue their own goals and openly share yours.  ride your bike to work? Check. Use reusable bags? Awesome. Attend local farmer’s markets? Even better.  Incorporate your healthy lifestyle into the room.  Share apples from the apple farm rather than buying the ones from California where mass amounts of fuel was used to deliver them.  For even more information, visit:

http://www.50waystohelp.com/

The website offers guidance on the many ways students and teachers alike can make an impact.  E-mail the list to family and friends to spread the word!  Knowledge = Power.

http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/action/way04.html

A great way to motivate students, especially those in younger elementary.,  In a colorful and text friendly format, children can play games and explore galleries about the environment.

http://www.find-sasquatch.com/fun-stuff/contests.cfm

Sasquatch is a company striving to be as green as possible.  Not only do they talk the talk about eco-friendly production, but they walk the walk.  Sasquatch also offers contests, games (word searches, scrambles, etc.) and tools for the classroom that promote a green world.  Have a school-wide participation for a Sasquatch contest to draw attention to the cause and build student investment in our environment.

The above websites are great resources in your classroom. Explore them with your class as a whole or give them the opportunity to scope out different ways on their own.  Enjoy a little background music while you work:

What can you do right here, right now, to help the environment?

How are you encouraging your class to spread the green? AKA, get others involved? Share ideas for others to steal!

It can be easy being green!

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