Earth Day 2024 - National Council of Teachers of English
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Earth Day 2024

Earth Day was first observed on April 22, 1970.  An estimated 20 million people nationwide attended the inaugural events across the United States. Senator Gaylord Nelson promoted Earth Day, calling upon students to fight for environmental causes and oppose environmental degradation. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was formed later that year and legislation was passed to increase recycling and conservation efforts.

As we celebrate Earth Day 2024, explore the possibilities for discussion and investigation in these resources:

The theme for this year’s Earth Day is “Planet vs. Plastic.” The focus is to raise awareness of the health risks of plastics, phase out single-use plastics, and demand a UN treaty on plastic pollution. Learn more in the Earth Day Action Toolkit.

Do you practice the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) from the Right Question Institute? If so, make sure to check out this QFT on single use plastics!

Thinking more about recycling? See resources and activities from the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

Learn about the history of Earth Day and find some ideas to spur students of all ages to learn more about the environment in “Earth Day: Connect with Nature Today and Throughout the Year” from the Library of Congress.

Here are some activities that students can do to celebrate Earth Day and the US’s environmental heritage.

See how humans interact with the natural environment and how those interactions affect the environment in this resource collection from the Library of Congress.

Visit this post from 2022 for a collection of Earth Day and climate resources from NCTE and

How will you recognize Earth Day?


Lisa Fink is an NCTE staff member, a former elementary teacher, and a current university instructor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She can be reached on Twitter: @fink_girl.

Curious about the NCTE and Library of Congress connection? Through a grant announced by NCTE Executive Director Emily Kirkpatrick, NCTE is engaged in ongoing work with the Library of Congress and “will connect the ELA community with the Library of Congress to expand the use of primary sources in teaching.” Stay tuned for more throughout the year!

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