Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day everybody! Now you may be asking yourself, what exactly is earth day? Back in the 1970's during the hippie and flower-child era, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry was releasing smoke and sludge into the air without a second thought about the consequences of their actions. Environment was not a word you saw very often on the evening news but the problem was already being brought to people's attention due to the publication of Rachel Carson's New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962. This book raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and pubic health.

So, the idea of Earth Day came to founder Gaylord Nelson, a former U.S. Wisconsin Senator, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. He was inspired by the student anti-war movement, he came to realize that if he could use that energy to show the public about air and water pollution, it would then force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a "National Teach-In On The Environment" to the national media and as a result on the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.

Since that time Earth Day as grown and helped create over 5,000 environmental groups in over 184 countries. But how can you relate this to physical education?

Click here to see one lesson plan from PE Central on how you can celebrate Earth Day with your own class. It's important for us as educators to not only teach the physical but also teach through the physical! We as educators want to mold well rounded individuals that are competent and proficient in physical skills but also relate our work to other subjects they learn and teach them about things they may not know about. We need to look at our students as a whole and not just where they are physically!

So today go out of your way and be a little eco friendly to do your part this Earth Day! Maybe not go on your computer tonight or go for a walk instead of driving your car... it's little things like this that when we all do our part, make a big difference!

For more information on Earth Day, click here.

To see animals that are currently on the endangered species list and see animals that are discovered every year, click here.


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