I remember the first Earth Day.
It was a big deal at our school, and everybody got involved! We listened to speakers and teachers talk about recycling and how much we were ruining the earth with all our glass and plastics. We learned poems and did cool experiments (it’s one of the few positive memories I have of science studies as a kid 🙁 ) and watched movies and made posters and it pretty much felt like a party!
In those days, we didn’t celebrate it every year (see video below), and as the 2nd and then 3rd one rolled around, I started to feel a bit uneasy.
It began to feel to me that many people were beginning to worship the creation rather than the Creator.
So there have been more than a few Earth Days that I chose to “sit out.”
The History of Earth Day
This is an interesting video about the origins of Earth Day. As far as practical ideas for recognizing the event, I don’t know about sitting around and singing the “Earth Anthem”, but I could really get into not driving for a day!
There was much controversy about Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring”, referenced in the video as one of the major influences of the modern movement to protect the planet. You can find more information about that here.
Should Christians celebrate Earth Day?
Now, as an adult and a parent, and having seen more than a bit of just how trashy (pun sorta intended) we are treating our environment, I think I have finally settled this one for myself.
As a human, I want my kids to understand that the earth is our home (at least for now 😉 ), and as such, we need to take care of it as we would any place we live. I don’t think it’s necessary to live in extremes, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable, say, to recycle (if it’s possible where you live), clean up after yourselves when you’re out and about, reuse packaging, reduce the amount of trash we produce, etc. (Actually, there’s quite a bit of science involved in recycling, and that can be a pretty interesting starting point for some fascinating unit studies!)
As a Christian, the Bible teaches us to be good stewards of whatever blessings we’ve been given. I would most definitely include the earth as a blessing! Celebrating Earth Day crosses the line, however, at the point when the value and care for our earth is given priority over the value and care for God and mankind.
Are you going to celebrate Earth Day?
You can find lots of community events and maybe connect with something in your own community on the Earth Day website, and many ideas to implement year round there, too!
How ’bout this packet of free printables, from TreeValleyAcademy:
The topic of Earth Day can often by gently introduced through books, which can also help our kids come up with some ways of their own to engage and “own” the concept:
Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax” is the quintessential children’s book on the subject!
But there are lots more!
This one, by Todd Parr, includes an interior gatefold with a poster with tips/reminders on how kids can “go green” every day. An Amazon best-seller!
“Counting the cans gives Ryan, Luke, and Carly — along with readers — a lesson in place value. And facts about recycling throughout the story will help readers understand how important it is to take care of the earth.” Amazon summary
This 4-book series and another Amazon best-seller explores the importance of protecting nature. Each book has a note on the back describing ways to use the books effectively with your kids.
Well, it looks like we can have freedom to celebrate while keeping all things in perspective! And who doesn’t like a good spring celebration?! So tell us: what are YOU doing to celebrate Earth Day today?
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