Every June 5, billions of people band together to honor World Environment Day. This beautiful holiday is about raising worldwide awareness and taking action to protect the Earth from environmental degradation.

It’s a fantastic opportunity for teachers to educate students on living greener and working towards a healthier global environment. After all, the fate of future generations lies in our hands.

If you’re unsure of how you can inspire younger youths on this day, not to worry. The eco-friendly ideas to enact are plentiful. With these manageable World Environment Day activities, you can enlighten your ESL class about the responsibilities we all hold as denizens.

World Environment Day for Kids

Kids and adolescents are the most impressionable, which is why even activities as simple as a nature walk can be impactful. Aside from observing nature, you can turn the stroll into a fun learning experience. Perhaps you can arrange a scavenger hunt with a bingo sheet, or students can collect art supplies such as dried leaves, seeds, bark pieces and more.

World Environment Day for Kids

Of course, you should ensure that what they’re scrounging is safe to use. Instruct them to identify harmless species of plants or what have you. Whatever the plan, try to make a game out of it!

See below for a few suggested locations:

  • A local park
  • School grounds
  • A forest trail
  • A nearby beach
  • A garden

1. Local Litter Picking

Another hands-on outdoor activity you and your students can engage in is litter picking. Show your kids the philosophy of ‘one small change can make a huge difference.’ Bring them to any green space for some fresh air and equip them with collection bags: one for recyclable items and another for general waste.

Local Litter Picking

For safety and hygiene concerns, you could get your children some grabbing sticks and protective gloves. Ensure that the protective gear is always in use while on the field. You might also want to brief them on avoiding any broken glass or sharp hazards.

2. Recycling Field Trip

Undoubtedly, many of us associate environmentalism with recycling. Incorporating “reduce, reuse and recycle” lesson plans in your ESL classroom is a great start. If you want to take it to the next level, how about planning a visit to the local recycling facility?

It’s an excellent way to show students where all their sorted items end up. A guided tour of the facility will widen their knowledge of this vital cause.

Recycling Field Trip

For a more artistic approach, teachers can look for studios or exhibitions where artists use recycled items in their work. Who knows? Students might pull inspiration from this outing in their own classroom artwork.

World Environment Day for Young Adults

More mature youths are less likely to be interested in picking up trash and handy art projects. Odds are, they’ve probably been on environmentally educational field trips when they were younger.

How can you encourage them to make an effort on World Environment Day and every day after that?

1. Planting a Tree/Composting

The most basic and tangible action to take with your students is planting a tree. Coincide with the Earth Day goal towards planting 7.8 billion trees! Select a suitable plot either on school grounds or in your backyard and get digging. That way, your students can anticipate its growth without forgetting the reason behind this day in the long run.

Besides that, you can also teach them how composting works so they can do it at home. Take a trip to a local allotment to see how people compost organic food items while separating non-organic trash.

It might not be the prettiest sight, but then again, it has to get ugly before it gets beautiful.

Planting a TreeComposting

2. Pollution-Free Experiments

Did you know that nine of out ten people inhale polluted air daily? A pressing concern like this is boundless to age. Once you’ve covered the fundamentals of pollution prevalence, challenge your students to take initiatives in reducing damage.

Those who drive to classes can try using public transport, carpool, cycle or walk for a week, or alternate days. You may also suggest switching their cars to hybrid or electric vehicles, if they have the means to do so.

Not to mention, many people are still unaware of the multitude of damage caused by factory farming. Set an objective for your students to consume less meat and dairy, reducing methane emissions as a result. Advocate bringing plant-based snacks to share with fellow peers—yummy food makes a hell of an impression.

3. Electricity- & Paper-Free Day

We’re sure that your teenaged students are frequently on their electronics. As adults, we’re often guilty of this habit as well. Thus, for one day, challenge them to shut down all mobile devices and conserve energy usage. Turn off the lights and head outside for class!

If you must remain digital, try to eliminate paper usage during lessons instead. You can introduce a task to present (perhaps in a video) the many environmental benefits of going paperless or list out green efforts that they can practice in their daily lives. Come up with a pledge together, making a habit of switching to digital means. Throughout the year, you can check back with your kids on this group initiative.

Electricity- & Paper-Free Day

No matter what method you choose, the primary message should be that saving the planet is a team effort. Come up with a plan that your students will follow through successfully and list down the significant commitments together. 

Let them know that Earth is merely a bigger home in which our houses reside, and we should treat it as such.

Feel free to check out English Teaching 101 for more fascinating ideas on enhancing your ESL classes!