Earth Day in the home

Article by Dominique PatnaikEducation Program CoordinatorCanadian Geographic Education

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets to protest the treatment of the environment. This was the first Earth Day, which is now a global event.  Wednesday April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and this year’s theme is climate action. With the current situation of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Earth Day celebrations will look markedly different than in past years, but it is still possible to recognize this important day with activities and learning that can be done from home! Read about how you can take action inside your home, while practicing physical distancing or self-isolation, for Earth Day 2020!

Look at plastic in the home

Do a “plastic audit” in your home to see what plastic items you have that could be replaced with more sustainable alternatives. Plastic is found everywhere in our society and is very hard to avoid. Small changes can be made to reduce the dependence on these plastic items. Could plastic bags be replaced with reusable bags made out of another material or could you use glass storage containers? Start with small, manageable changes. While not all changes will be possible right now with current restrictions, you can make a plan for how you can implement these changes in the future! 

Learning Tip:

Be sure to check out 10,000 Changes to help you and your family rethink plastic! 

For Kids:

Create an “environmental superhero” that works to make the home more environmentally responsible! Write a story about how this superhero will work to reduce plastic in the home. 

Examine food waste

Did you know that about a third of the world’s food is wasted or lost yearly? Now is a great time to examine how much food is wasted in your home and take action to reduce the waste. Read   this article from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations to learn more about food loss and food waste, and what you can do to take action. 

Learning Tip:

Watch this PBS Learning Media video on reducing food waste—it’s great for kids! (English only)

For Kids:

See what ingredients you have in your fridge and try to invent creative recipes and meals out of them! 

Get informed and spread the word

With new restrictions keeping many people at home, it can be a good time to read articles, e-books (or books that have been sitting on the bookshelf for far too long), or watch documentaries on the environment and climate change. Share what you’ve learned with others through social media, e-mail, or a phone call! 

It’s exciting to see the unique and innovative ways people are marking Earth Day 2020. While the theme of “climate action” can seem daunting, by focusing on what can be done in the home, we can show that small, individual actions do have an impact. For more information on Earth Day, visit Earth Day Canada and

Happy Earth Day!