Earth Day is officially April 22nd, but we are honoring the event today and encourage you to get active in your own homes and communities to help keep our planet beautiful!
Back in 1970, attention to pollution ignited when sparks from a passing railroad car set the Cuyahoga River in Ohio ablaze. The river was so saturated with oil and chemicals that flames flowed with the current. Less than one year after the incident, Senator Gaylord Nelson and Representative Paul McCloskey teamed with Denis Hayes to establish Earth Day, April 22, 1970, as an environmental teach-in. Supporting their cause, people across the nation staged protests, marches and demonstrations to raise awareness of the effects of pollution on our planet.
What began as a protest movement against careless corporations, factories and individuals has morphed into positive activism over the past forty years, as international attention has been given to cleaning up our planet and keeping it habitable. Legislation has been passed to monitor pollutants, and new technologies have been developed to reduce emissions and aid cleanup efforts.
Earth Day is now the largest non-religious holiday on the planet. How is Disney participating? The Walt Disney Company is a pioneer among American companies in caring for the planet. Disney funds and participates in a variety of conservation efforts and offers programs that educate Guests on maintaining a healthy environment. Disney is diligent to enact environmentally responsible behavior among Cast Members and Guests alike.
Today, DisneyNature’s Chimpanzee swings into theaters nationwide. Their first three releases, earth, oceans and African Cats, are among the top four highest-grossing feature-length nature films of all time, and we should expect no less quality from this production. Filmed in the lush forests of Africa, Chimpanzee follows the touching story of an orphaned three-year-old chimp named Oscar and the surprise ally who changes his life forever.
The film’s official website offers several other ways you can get involved and learn more about chimpanzees in the wild. A FREE Chimpanzee Educator’s Guide, aligned to National Science Education Standards, is available for download and includes 100 pages of lessons and activities for grades 2 through 6. Topics include animal adaptations, habitats and ecosystems, animal behavior and tool use, animal communication, and ways to make a difference for wildlife worldwide.
Go to the movies! See Chimpanzee, save chimpanzees! In effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitats, for every moviegoer who sees Chimpanzee during its opening week (April 20-26, 2012), DisneyNature will make a donatation to the Jane Goodall Institute through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF). Also through the DWCF, Playdom will donate 20 cents to the Jane Goodall Institute for the Disneynature Tchimpounga Natural Reserve project for each install and tutorial completion of customers who play the Animal Kingdom game on Facebook as referred from the URL www.PlayAnimalKingdom.com during the promotion term of April 12 – 26, 2012, with a minimum $100,000 contribution committed.
If you don’t have an opportunity to see the film or play the Facebook game app, why not check out Disney’s Friends for Change? The site was established a few years back to offer kids simple ways to become more environmentally responsible. Here are a few suggestions on how you can get involved:
• OUTDOOR MAKEOVER: Gather some friends and hold a picnic in the park. But add a twist! Take an hour or two to pick up garbage, making the park cleaner and brighter for all to enjoy.
• ECO-STYLE: Green is always in style – Look for organic clothes or fabrics when you are shopping. *In fact, The Disney Store sells an entire line of eco-friendly products. Buy an organic T and track it from the farm to your door.
• SPONTANEOUS ACTION: Simply take action. Instead of walking by that cup or piece of paper on the ground, pick it up and throw it away. Leave a place better than you found it.
• RESEARCH DIFFERENT DISASTERS: There are so many different kinds of natural disasters: earthquakes, famines, droughts, and hurricanes, among other types. Learn more about five different kinds of disasters, then talk about them with your family and/or teacher. What do you know about these disasters? How could someone prepare for each type? What tips do you need to know to survive each kind of disaster?
• MAKE YOURSELF HEARD: Write an e-mail supporting the habitat, park, or local open space you care about most, and send it to your school paper, local newspapers, or TV stations.
• MAKE A BELOVED REUSABLE BAG: Grab your favorite tattered tee and get Mom or Dad’s help to sew it up into a reusable bag. Get creative by adding patterns, catchy phrases or some glitter for your own personal touch. Use it for books, for groceries or even as a creative gift bag to hold presents for others. Using your own bag can be both fashionable and environmentally friendly.
Get out there and make a difference!
SCHOOL SUBJECT: Environmentality
SKILL LEVEL: All