No sooner is one month here and it is gone again! April is fast approaching and with it, Earth Day, on April 22nd – yes, less than a month away. I’ve put together a fun activity to record the goals that each student you have can make to commit to making a difference long-term.
So with that news looming I decided to take a look at what resources I had…I have a couple of books I’ll review over the next few weeks that focus on concepts that Earth Day promotes, but for today let’s look at a fun activity instead.
The Earth Day Pledge
Each year people make commitments to how they will help the environment and Earth in general. Most times though I think it is all rather hollow. It’s a bit like a New Year Resolution – people make them and then the desire to follow through fades with time. So what we need is for people to take actual steps that will change their behaviour and lifestyle so that it becomes long-term rather than a flash-in-the-pan.
A few points of note for South Australia (where I live). We were leading the way with helping Earth when in 2009 a ban was placed on lightweight check-out style bags. This seemed like a huge step in the correct direction for changing behaviour…but, and yes, there is a but, it hasn’t really worked the way it should have.
The point was to get people to take reusuable bags with them shopping. I personally take some handy fabric ones that my ever talented mother made – many with cat designs (because I love cats) and a few with wolves – she even made my brother some bee ones (because he loves bees). They are handy and much stronger than plastic anyway and can just be tossed in the washing machine.
However, even I must admit that I have had to turn around and buy bags for the bin waste. My three household members don’t create a lot of waste when compared to others in the neighbourhood but we can’t just pop it in the bin loose. So without the checkout bags to use I have to buy others. I try and choose environmentally friendly ones but let’s face it – they are often several dollars more expensive (so not budget friendly).
Basically in taming one environment monster…South Australia has created another. Worse still is that supermarkets how have other plastic bags (thicker and you pay for them) so really the entire change, in my opinion, has been undermined.
This next generation are going to need to be a lot better at being environmentally friendly than others – because they will outlive us! and they don’t have good ol’ Captain Planet to rescue them and give advice.
I’ve written all that as an introduction to this Earth Day Pledge Activity as I feel strongly these points need to be addressed with your students. They say it takes 30 days to break a habit and form a new one – and a lifetime to keep on track. So keep that in mind this year on Earth Day.
Okay…To the Activity!
This activity is a hand tab book. It is not a comprehensive lesson but rather a way to show information a student has learnt and how they indeed to apply that knowledge.
Each student gets a 6 page hand tab book.
Page 1 – The cover
This should be straightforward – just add a name and make it look colourful
Page 2 – Reuse
I require a paragraph pledge for each students (though if you have younger students you could have them dot point ways to reuse instead). Things to consider or discuss about reusing…handkerchiefs vs tissues, fabric vs plastic shopping bags.
Page 3 – Recycle
This will depend on where you live. Some councils are able to recycle a larger variety of objects whereas in other places it may be limited. For where I live things that can be recycled include: paper, cardboard, plastics,aluminium cans, glass and some metals.
Page 4 – Repurpose
I see this being skipped a lot so I thought it was worth a mention. Repurposing simply means using the item for a purpose other than it was made for. Examples: old clothes into rags, broken ladder into garden stakes, broken china into mosaics, old clothes into a scarecrow…
Page 5 – Compost
This allow students to state what they will compost over the next 12 months (and hopefully beyond). It doesn’t necessarily need to be at home as some schools also have a garden area with compost and chooks to feed. You should be seeing some of these discussed: vegetable scraps, fruit scraps (excluding citrus), fresh cut lawn clippings, old newspaper…
Page 6 – Conserve
I see electricity targeted here a lot and probably with good reason. I was shocked when a colleague once told me her 3-month electricity bill was $2000 AUS! She blamed her three children for it but that’s one of the worst types of excuses I here. Parents need to model and create good habits with their kids. Even with two children in the house my electricity bill has not changed (albeit they are younger but I won’t be allowing all the technology that gets lavished upon some kids). So here students need to pledge to conserve something. It might be electricity, gas, water, petrol….
This is an optional piece. I use it as it looks like the hand is making a pledge to Earth. However, if you are looking to be environmentally friendly and “practise what you preach” then I say don’t use it! It only makes it look cute. If you do want to use it consider having students write some positive facts about the countries shown on the globe as to how they are helping Earth (or you could do a negative version as well!)
Putting it together
Layer the pieces starting from the globe and go backwards with the little finger to the thumb and then cover. Here’s an example.
After doing this activity I realised I could combine extra pages onto each page – so now there is one less piece of paper to print – see helping Earth!
Oh, and I’ve only ever had one boy state that this was how he was going to make pledges that “gave the finger” to bad choices…yes, made me smile too!
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