Held every year since 1970, Earth Day provides an exceptional opportunity for every member of the family to come together, honor the Earth, and promote sustainable action. The largest secular observation in the world, Earth Day engages millions of people across some 192 countries.
Here are some of the coolest facts to help kids get prepared for Earth Day 2022.
A little background on Earth Day for your young ones:
Coordinated by activist Denis Hayes and organized by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, the first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970. With rallies taking place in major cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles, the event series saw thousands of people gather at local landmarks like Belmont Plateau, according to WHYY, and the Civic Center Plaza (now Richard J. Daley Center), as per Chicago Tribune.
Earth Day fact for kids #1: The Earth has been our home for around 200,000 years.
The Earth is 4.543 billion years old. In sharp contrast, human beings have been around for around 200,000 years, introducing considerable changes to the fabric of the environment over the past few centuries.
Earth Day fact for kids #2: In 2016, Earth Day Network pledged to plant 7.8 billion trees by 2020.
In 2016, Earth Day Network, a group championing environmental action, announced that it aims to plant 7.8 billion trees — with a tree for every person inhabiting the planet — by 2020. The statement was made as part of the Canopy Project, per EarthDay.org.
Earth Day fact for kids #3: Abhay K.'s Earth Anthem has been translated into 100 languages.
Abhay K. penned the Earth Anthem, a song celebrating the Earth and its people, in 2008. The Earth Anthem was published in 2009. It has since then been translated into around 100 different languages, via EarthAnthem.net. John Denver, John Prine, and Joan Baez have penned Earth Day-appropriate songs, via DiscoverMusic.
Earth Day fact for kids #4: Animal populations worldwide have declined by 50 percent since the first Earth Day celebration.
According to a 2020 study published by World Wide Fund for Nature, "global populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish" declined by more than 50 percent between 1970 and 2020. As the study suggests, freshwater creatures like Danube sturgeons were among the animals worst affected by the changes.
Earth Day fact for kids #5: Earth Days have spurred various forms of legal action.
Originally intended as a teach-in, Earth Day 1970 led to the establishment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency the same year. The Clean Air Act was passed the same year. Recent examples include the Paris Agreement, which opened for signatures in April 2016.
This article is part of Green Matters’ 2022 Earth Day programming, #EarthStories: A week-long series where we’re sharing environmental changemakers’ personal journeys to environmentalism. We hope that reading these stories inspires you to become more dedicated to climate action, sustainable living, and changing the world.