“Every year on April 22, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970… In the decades leading up to the first Earth Day, Americans were consuming vast amounts of leaded gas through massive and inefficient automobiles. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of the consequences from either the law or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. Until this point, mainstream America remained largely oblivious to environmental concerns and how a polluted environment threatens human health… Earth Day 2020 marked 50 years with global activations that aim to mobilize a billion people worldwide for transformative action for our planet” (https://www.earthday.org/history/).
This Earth day, April 22nd, world climate leaders, grassroots activists, nonprofit innovators, and global leaders will come together to push us towards a better world. As a reflection of them coming together, we, the School of Education at Marymount University, examine the crucial role that educators play in combating climate change through a conversation with Dr. Usha Rajdev, a professor within the School of Education. Dr. Rajdev has been at Marymount University for the past 13 years and has been providing future teachers with the best practices in teaching math and science methodology. Throughout her classes she enhances the interest of her students in environmental science by providing them with the tools to teach and motivate their own students in environmental science and STEM.
As a biology student graduating this semester, I had the honor to speak with Dr. Rajdev about the environmental issues occurring within the world and how it is approached within her classroom. It is due to this enlightening conversation that I want to take the time to focus upon addressing the reversible environmental errors that are being created. These errors are created through the societal lack of emphasis on environmental science within the K-12 education system, which is something that Dr. Rajdev aims to raise awareness of, within her classes. She focuses on getting the next generation interested in the Earth; so that the Earth with all its tenants can continue thriving for the next millennium.
Throughout time with the progression of man, we have created an environmental dilemma. This environmental dilemma is a repercussion of the rapid industrial progression humans are going through due to our lack of care regarding our manufacturing by-products’ outcomes in the Earth’s ecosystem. This is observed through our chronic burning of fossil fuels which produce more carbon dioxide than what can be used (NASA). This significant increase in carbon dioxide is feeding into Earth’s natural greenhouse effect that manages the planet’s temperature. The negative greenhouse effect we are witnessing is due to this increase of carbon dioxide which creates a thicker atmosphere than what heat can penetrate in order to be released into space.
When addressing this issue with Dr. Rajdev, she suggested the activity of having people germinate viable seeds on Earth Day to be planted later. So, we ask you to take some time this Thursday and try germinating seeds to produce growing plants. During this process take pictures and share the progression of your plant’s growth. By doing this activity together, we can raise awareness of the care and devotion needed for our planet through the plants we grow. Remember to include your family in this activity, especially elementary school children, for they are next to inherit our planet.
How to Germinate Plants
- Napkin/Tissues/or Paper Towel
- Ziploc Bag
- Dampen the Napkin/Tissues/or Paper Towel
- Wrap your seeds in the damp Napkin/Tissues/or Paper Towel
- Place the wrapped seeds in the Ziploc bag and seal it
- Have your child draw a picture on the Ziploc bag. Put the date on it.
- Place the Ziploc bag on a window sill and let it set there till sprouts are seen.
- Start taking pictures of its growth. Share with us in the School of Education.
Once sprouts are visible you can plant them outside and the children within your family or children within the neighborhood can witness the awesome power of what collective support for our environment does for the Earth.
You can also explore some of these webinars that NASA offers to educators, students, and parents to celebrate Earth Science: https://events-na8.adobeconnect.com/content/connect/c1/1136900108/en/events/catalog.html
Also here is a fantastic digital map promoting many in-person and online Earth Day events on the planet! Additionally, check out Project Learning Tree which is a series of digital resources such as art projects, green job ideas, and articles to help students celebrate Earth Day.
Join these events for Earth Day: https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-live-webinars/
Written by Olivia Edwards