Earth Day Activities for Teens and Tweens
When choosing Earth Day activities for teens or tweens, Earth Day hand prints are not going to cut it with the too-cool-for-school crowd. Teens and tweens embrace Earth Day and they’re very passionate about the environment, but they don’t do scented playdough anymore. Whatever they do, they want results and they need to believe in a cause.
Check out these 10 Earth Day activities for teens to inspire them to get involved for our planet.
#1 Ride Your Bike or Walk to School
Earth Day is all about caring for the planet. First in the list of climate change actions comes transportation. Greening your transport is an easy way to fight the climate crisis. Emulating Stranger Things, you can ride your bike to school or college to lower your school day carbon footprint. In fact, any trip without a car is a win for the planet and you don’t even need to own a bike. You can also:
- Borrow a bike from a friend
- Check your local area’s bike-lending programs
- Trade garden work or tech help with your neighbors to use their bicycle
If bicycle is not an option, walking to school is just as eco-friendly.
- Use Google Maps to find the best walking route and invite local friends to join you.
- Map your route with Strava and check their health challenges.
#2 Find Out What Teen Celebs are Doing on Earth Day
Hollywood stars and Teen Awards personalities are great role models and you would be surprised at how many celebrities get involved for Earth Day. In fact given the climate crisis, many have already become strong voices of the young generation to protect our planet.
Overall, one teen stands out from the crowd and that’s Greta Thunberg, Swedish environmental activist and global voice for science against climate change. What is truly remarkable about her is her selflessness, in that everything she does, she does to benefit non-profits or actions against climate change.
From BlackPink, promotional ambassador for this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), to BTS, ambassadors of Formula E (electric car racing), teen idols share inspirational messages on social media and engage with their fans. Whether you’re following celebs on TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat, Reddit or elsewhere, use the following hashtags to find out and get inspired:
#3 Reduce Meat & Dairy in Your Diet
Did you know that a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions comes from the production of food, 58% of which results from meat and dairy? In the list of things that teens can do with a huge impact on the climate crisis, switching to a plant-based diet is pretty high, cost-effective and easy to do.
- Use this food carbon footprint calculator and find out whether rice or chips are better for the planet
- Check vegan lifestyle blogs for meal inspiration, including Deliciously Ella, Pick Up Limes or Hot for Food
#4 Give Up Plastic
Fact: eight million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans every year, killing and harming marine life. Though plastic is one of the worst threats to the environment, we have the ability to control it — by buying items with less or no plastic packaging, therefore sending messages to global companies via financial choices.
- Take a pledge at home to avoid plastic bottles
- Get involved with non-profits that help the ocean: Surfers Against Sewage, Surfrider Foundation, Plastic Oceans.
- Follow 5 simple steps to save the ocean
- Join a beach or river clean-up in your area
#5 Break the Fast Fashion Habit
The theme of Earth Day 2021 is Restore Our Earth™ and nowhere is this more important than in our relationship with brands. If you want to make a difference somewhere, start with your closet. Fast fashion is addictively cheap and fun, glamorizing fashion trends via huge social media campaigns and promising next-day delivery. At its most extreme, fast fashion brands create garments so cheap that they seem designed for single-use — disposable fashion.
The dark side of fast fashion is the environmental destruction it brings about, as well as global issues in modern slavery and gender inequality. Fast fashion’s use of social media also encourages shopping addictions and leverages FOMO as a buying factor.
To break the cycle, you can:
- Check out this list of 25 fast fashion brands to avoid and why
- Move to environmentally and socially conscious brands
- Buy second-hand online (on ThredUp or DePop) or in thrift stores
Last but not least: beware of greenwashing claims! Fast fashion and sustainability cannot belong in the same sentence.
#6 Unplug and Opt Outside
The sun is shining and your friends are free. Forget your screens, forget your phones. Unplug! Get together for an afternoon outside and breathe some fresh air.
You can go for a walk, ride your bikes, go skateboarding or if you live by the water, go swimming, surfing or kayaking. Obviously, getting together for a picnic is perhaps the most enjoyable of all.
#7 Upcycle Old Clothes and House Items
Let’s assume that teens have drawers full of old teeshirts. What can you do with an old teeshirt? An outgrown pair of jeans? With minimal effort, they can be turned into cool new wardrobe items.
#8 Attend an Earth Day Event
Earth Day activities also include rallies, workshops, concerts and events that are free to attend for everybody. Grab your friends and pick an Earth Day event near you. EarthDay 2021 has a map list of all events and you can switch to a calendar view to browse more easily.
If you are passionate about a different idea, you can create your own Earth Day event, such as a nature clean-up, on the Earth Day website.
#9 Start a Petition
Sisters Ella and Caitlin took on McDonald’s and Burger King to ban plastic toys in their kids’ meals (they won). The directors of Netflix documentary Seaspiracy petitioned the environment secretary, to create and enforce ‘no-catch’ marine reserves in at least 30% of UK waters.
These are only two examples where if you want something to change, you too can do something about it. You can start a petition on change.org and share it at school. If you are unsure how to go about sharing, enlist the help of your teachers. Teachers love projects, particularly when they benefit the environment.
#10 Bring Climate Education Week to School
Do you have a science teacher who’s really cool? maybe another teacher? The Earth Day website has a full page of Earth Day educational lessons with K – 12 students. You’re bound to find something you will enjoy.
Last but not least…
Earth Day is on April 22. Save the date.
More on Earth Day
- Inspiring Earth Day Reading List for Children by Crafty Mama in ME
- Earth Day Inspired Tissue Paper & Water Transfer Art by Play Dough & Popsicles
- Book Inspired Bird Activity by Bambini Travel
- Earth Day Word Activities by Books and Giggles
- Environmental Books for Kids by The Jenny Evolution
- Egg Shell Gardens by Schooling a Monkey
- Earth Science Crafts for Kids byThe Usual Mayhem
- Earth Day Activity by The Moments at Home
- Earth Day Worksheet by Mrs. Karle’s Sight and Sound Reading