April 22nd: World Earth Day

English · 22 April 2021

World Earth Day has always held a special place in my heart growing up. As a kid, I used to attend the annual World Earth Day festival, hoping to snag a cute wolf T-shirt or get a butterfly painted on my face. But of course, World Earth Day isn’t about us, but everything around us that we so often ignore or take for granted. The first World Earth Day in 1970 marked the start of an awareness of climate change and its consequences. Pollution in the air was no longer seen as a natural consequence of industrialization, but a dangerous sign of the deteriorating environment. Now, World Earth Day aims to raise awareness of the urgent need for change. The official Earth Day Website offers digital events all about the environment from April 20th through 22nd. This includes panel discussions, presentations and more. Don’t forget that today, teachers also have the opportunity to register for a free school ticket for one of the Earth Day performances! Of course, there is an abundance of literature that can help spark the discussion about climate change in the EFL classroom, regardless of age and language level.

  • How to Bee by Bren MacDibble is set in a world where have bees have gone extinct. As a result, children must take on the job of hand pollinating plants. And even though 9-year-old Peony is technically too young for the job, she’s convinced she would make a great bee.
  • In Watership Down by Richard Adams, a group of rabbits is forced to flee from their home due to man-made destruction. Their home is collateral damage in a construction project, leading to a search for safety and new beginnings.
  • Dear Future Generations: Sorry by Prince Ea offers a reflection on the current climate change and environmental destruction. The speaker’s apology to “future generations” is accompanied by practical advice on how to reduce your carbon footprint and build ethical consumer habits. This would be a great conversation starter about the practicality of the speaker’s advice and the students’ own ideas.
  • The dystopian novel A Friend of the Earth by TC Boyle details the life of 75-year-old Tyrone. Set in 2025, climate change has lead to mass extinctions. His memories date back 40 years, describing his activism against deforestation that he took part in with love interest Andrea.

In honor of World Earth Day, give your pets or plants an extra hug today! If you have suggestions for literature about climate change and striving for change, let us know!