In 1969, after witnessing massive oil spills in California and inspired by anti-war protests, U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson announced the idea for a teach-in on college campuses to raise awareness about air and water pollution. He chose the day April 22, which fell in between Spring Break and final exams, to maximize student participation.
They chose the name Earth Day, which caught on across the country. On that first Earth Day, 20 million Americans publicly demonstrated against the impacts of 150 years of industrial development and its impacts on the environment and human health. In the year following the first Earth Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was created and passed first-of-their-kind environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the National Environmental Education Act. A year after that, Congress passed the Endangered Species Act.
Today, Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people each year as a day to change human behavior and create global, national and local policy change.
Our Coulee City Librarian, Hanna, has curated this list of resources available in NCW Libraries’ physical and digital resources, to help you celebrate Earth Day!
Jayden’s Impossible Garden by Mélina Mangal
Nine-year-old Jayden loves the outdoors, but his mother is nervous about him playing in their neighborhood. With the help of his neighbor Mr. Curtis, can Jayden help Mama see that nature and beauty are all around?
Change Starts with Us by Sophie Beer
From turning off the lights to eating less meat, there are many small changes we can make to help save our beautiful planet. A timely and uplifting picture book, Change Starts with Us is perfect for little activists and fans of Sophie Beer’s first two titles Love Makes a Family and Kindness Makes Us Strong.
More than 50 easy and adaptable recipes to teach the cooks of the future how to eat well, look after themselves and think about the planet all at the same time. With spreads on the environment and craft projects too.
Middle Grade & Young Adult
The Brainiac’s Book of the Climate and Weather by Rosie Cooper
What’s the difference between climate and weather? How do we know the climate is changing? The need-to-know answers to these and many other pressing questions are explained in this volume through stories, infographics and fun activities.
Fashionopolis : The Secrets Behind the Clothes We Wear by Dana Thomas
Shows how the process of making, buying, wearing, and disposing of clothes has a huge impact on the environment, on the people who work in clothing factories, and on our culture.
Get crafty and help save the planet too! With easy step-by-step instructions Cool Odds and Ends Projects offers kids a chance to get creative by turning their trash into handmade treasures. All projects feature common everyday items to reuse in a fun new way.
Modern Mending : How to Minimize Waste and Maximize Style by Erin Lewis-Fitzgerald.
Step-by-step instructions for a range of techniques, including stitching, darning, patching, needle felting and machine darning.
Homemade Beauty offers recipes for organic beauty products that avoid the toxic chemicals used in commercial cosmetics-and cost less to create than commercially available organic beauty products.
Learn how to reduce your footprint at your own pace with simple steps like carrying reusable shopping bags, more intermediate steps like mending your own clothes, and major steps like creating a garden-to-cafeteria program at your local schools.
Rocket Says Clean Up! By Nathon Bryon
While visiting her grandparents, who run whale-watching tours in Jamaica, Rocket sees first-hand how plastic is harming ocean creatures, and organizes a crew to clean up the local beach.
Amara and the Bats by Emma Reynolds
Amara loves bats, so when she learns there are none near her new home due to habitat loss, she overcomes her feelings of helplessness and inspires her community to take action. Includes facts about bats and bat houses.
A group of friends thinks of ways to save their favorite treehouse which is set to be destroyed so that a mall can be built where it stands.
Middle Grade & Young Adult
The Leak : For The Love of Truth by Kate Reed Petty
Ruth Keller is brash and precocious; she argues with her dentist, her parents, and her teachers. So, when she discovers a strange black slime in the man-made lake of her suburban neighborhood, she decides to investigate.
The Whale Child by Keith Egawa
Shiny, a whale child, is turned into a boy to teach Alex, a young girl, the wisdom of the Native American value of environmental stewardship so that she can share it with others. Includes glossary of environmental terms, facts about Pacific Northwest Native cultures, and other educational resources.
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy’s attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site.
Lee McIntyre tells the story of his own adventures in talking face to face with science deniers and what he learned from the experience.
Miseducation: How Climate Change Is Taught in America by Kate Worth
Investigative reporter Katie Worth reviewed scores of textbooks, built a 50-state database, and traveled to a dozen communities to talk to children and teachers about what is being taught, and found a divide in climate education.
An accessible guide to the changes we can all make to rid our lives of disposable plastic and clean up the world’s oceans.
Global & Political Perspectives
Our House is on Fire : Greta Thunberg’s Call to Save the Planet by Jeanette Winter
Tells the story of Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenage climate activist who has sparked a worldwide student movement and is demanding action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change.
Climate Action : What Happened and What We Can Do by Simon Seymour
In this introduction to the dramatic effects of climate change, learn how our behavior and actions have led us to this point. Hear from kids around the world dealing with extreme storms, wildfires, and sea level rise, and discover what scientists, youth activists, and ordinary citizens are doing to protect their communities.
Oil by Jonah Winter
Oil is drawn up from deep in the earth by machines, transported through pipelines, and pumped onto a ship that sails out to sea. When the ship crashes into a reef, the oil spills out over miles of ocean, covering rocks and animals alike. What will the consequences be?
Middle Grade & Young Adult
Greta’s Story : the Schoolgirl Who Went on Strike to Save the Planet by Valentina Camerini
It was time for someone to remind lawmakers around the world to step up to protect the environment — and the future of children all over the world. So Greta made a sign, put on her jacket, and went on strike.
A movement is already underway to combat not only the environmental effects of climate change but also to fight for climate justice and make a fair and livable future possible for everyone. And young people are not just part of that movement, they are leading the way.
Saving Wonder by Mary Knight
Curley Hines has lost his father, mother, and brother to coal mining, and now he lives with his grandfather in the Appalachian mountains of Wonder Gap, Kentucky. When the mining company prepares to destroy their mountain, he must use what his grandfather has taught him to save Red Hawk Mountain, even if it means losing the life he loves.
After Cooling : On Freon, Global Warming, and the Terrible Cost of Comfort by Eric Dean Wilson
A blending of air-conditioning history, climate science, road trips, and philosophy to tell the story of the birth, life, and afterlife of Freon, the refrigerant that ripped a hole larger than the continental United States in the ozone layer.
The New Climate War : The Fight to Take Back Our Planet by Michael Mann
Recycle. Fly less. Eat less meat. These are some of the tactics that we’ve been told can slow climate change. But most of these recommendations are a result of a multi-pronged marketing campaign that has succeeded in placing the responsibility for fixing climate change squarely on the shoulders of individuals. Michael Mann outlines a plan for forcing governments and corporations to wake up and make real change.
Rising Tides : Climate Refugees in the Twenty-First Century by John Wennersten
Over the next few decades, as sea levels rise, storms intensify, and drought and desertification run rampant, hundreds of millions of civilians will abandon their homes, cities, and even entire countries. Rising Tides is an urgent wakeup call to the growing crisis of climate refugees, and offers an essential, continent-by-continent look at these dangers.
The Book of Hope: a Survival Guide for Trying Times by Jane Goodall and Douglas Adams
Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams explore through intimate and thought-provoking dialogue one of the most sought after and least understood elements of human nature: hope. The book draws on decades of work that has helped expand our understanding of what it means to be human and what we all need to do to help build a better world.
All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson
Today, across the world, from boardrooms and policy positions to local communities, from science to activism, women everywhere are using their voices to take leadership and call for action on climate change. This anthology is a collection and celebration of these diverse voices, asking critical questions and providing invaluable insight and solutions.
Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation by Paul Hawken
Regeneration offers a visionary new approach to climate change, one that weaves justice, climate, biodiversity, equity, and human dignity into a seamless tapestry of action, policy, and transformation that can end the climate crisis in one generation.