About the Holiday
In 1970 the first Earth Day was celebrated to bring awareness to environmental issues and begin a dialogue about how governments, corporations, communities, and individuals could create change that would benefit the Earth and all her inhabitants. Forty-six years later, we are working toward solutions to problems like pollution, climate change, renewable energy, and more. Today look around your home, office, school, or community and see how you can better support our Mother Earth.
Green City: How One Community Survived a Tornado and Rebuilt for a Sustainable Future
By Allan Drummond
On May 4, 2007 a devastating tornado hits Greensburg, Kansas, destroying the town in 9 minutes. When the residents of the town climb from their shelters, they emerge into a world completely changed. There are no more homes, no school, no hospital, no grocery store or other shops. No banks, theater, churches, or water tower. Even the trees have been shredded. Only three buildings remain.
The citizens are urged to move away. Rebuilding will be impossible, some say, and what’s the point anyway when the wind could destroy it all again? But others see opportunity to construct a different kind of town. With the help of volunteers and donations from around the world, Greensburg begins the Herculean task of designing and building a new town.
After clearing away 388,000 tons of debris and moving into a community of trailer homes, the people begin to envision a unique, green town. Individuals design sustainable houses of different shapes and materials to work with the environment. Businesses, too, incorporate sustainability into their offices, retail centers, and hotels as do the hospital and the water tower. A wind farm large enough to provide energy for the entire town is built on the edge of this innovative city.
A new school is central to the town’s survival, and for three years the teachers hold class in small trailers. Along with their regular studies, the kids become experts in environmental science. After several years Greenburg is now thriving—a testament to conservation and sustainability that is an example for global communities now and in the future.
Allan Drummond tells this fascinating story of a community that would not give up in an honest and sensitive way that highlights the courage and pride of a town amid devastating loss. Told from a child’s point of view, the story has extra impact for readers who are growing up amid an era of environmental awareness and activism. The sustainable construction of homes and other buildings is effectively explained and clearly depicted in Drummond’s colorful illustrations.
The images also demonstrate the process of negotiation and cooperation among townspeople that went into designing and building a new Greensburg. The final two-page spread of the town’s layout will interest kids as well as adults who have followed this story in the news.
Ages 5 – 9
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016 | ISBN 978-0374379995
Earth Day Activity
Hatch a Caterpillar Planter
As spring days grow warmer, it’s fun to start growing your own garden. Propagating plants from seed on a windowsill or sun room gives you an up-close view as the seeds develop roots, sprout, and flourish!
- Egg carton made from recycled paper
- Seeds for your favorite veggies or flowers
- Potting soil
- Spoon or small shovel
- Craft paint or markers in the colors you’d like for your caterpillar
- Pipe cleaners or wire
- Googly eyes
- Carefully cut the egg carton into two rows lengthwise, you may need to trim the cardboard between cups
- If the cups have low openings on one side, place the second row of cups inside the first facing the opposite way.
- Paint or color the carton, let dry
- Push pipe cleaners or wire through the edge of the egg carton on one end to form antennae (I used wrapped wire and painted it)
- Attach googly eyes and draw a smile on the front of the carton
- Fill cups with soil
- Plant seeds according to package directions
- Place caterpillar planter in a sunny spot
Picture Book Review