Earth Day is the largest global secular holiday. In 1970, the Earth Day movement began with 20 million people across the United States participating. Learn more about Earth Day History here and/or watch this video. Also check out resources from the Earth Day Network, whose mission is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide. The organization is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 150,000 partners in over 192 countries to drive positive action for our planet.

Earth Day Overview and Resources

The San Mateo County Office of Education's Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Initiative (ELSI) and Safe Routes to School program created a few different Earth Day resources for teachers as well as student leaders. 

  • Earth Day Lesson Ideas by Subject Area and Grade Level: This document provides a list of lesson ideas and resources that can be used with students during Earth Week. Resources are organized by subject area and grade level, and can be used in a variety of circumstances: settings, for in-person, distance, hybrid, and concurrent.
  • Sample Earth Day Lesson (Integrated Subject Areas): This lesson provides a sample learning sequence for an Earth Day lesson that integrates content and skills from multiple subject areas.
  • Earth Day Toolkit for Student Leaders: This toolkit is designed to support student leaders in middle and high school (6-12 grade) to plan activities and campaigns for Earth Day.
  • Student-Led Community Impact Projects: While these Community Impact Projects could be done anytime of year, a great month to launch a project (or complete a project) is during Earth Month.
  • Earth Day Safe Routes to Schools Toolkit: This toolkit provides teachers, student leaders, and families with Earth Day activity ideas relating to transportation, traffic safety, and walking and biking. 

Other Earth Awareness Days

Earth Overshoot Day - Annual Date Varies

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for Ecological Resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. Earth Overshoot Day is hosted and calculated by Global Footprint Network. The first Overshoot day in 1987 was calculated to be October 23rd. By 2019, that date was pushed back to July 29th. For more resources, visit the Earth Overshoot Day Website

Earth Hour - Annually at the End of March

Starting as a symbolic lights-out event in Sydney, Australia, in 2007, Earth Hour is one of the world's largest grassroots movements for the environment, inspiring millions of people to take action for our planet and nature. Every year millions of people, businesses, and landmarks switch off their lights and set aside an hour to host events from 8:30 - 9:30 pm (local time), and make noise for the Earth Hour movement. This year, speak up for why nature matters to you and put action at the center of international conversations! For more resources, visit the WWF Earth Hour Website including activities for schools. 

World Environment Day - Annually on June 5 

World Environment Day is popularly being called “People’s Day” to show that people care and support the Earth and the environment.  First organized in 1974, it has been a major campaign led by the United Nations for environmental issues ranging from marine pollution, human overgrowth, and raising awareness about global warming, sustainable consumption, and wildlife crime.