Ideas for World Environment Day

Author: Fiona Sheriff
Published: 03/05/2023
Children picking litter

What is World Environment Day?

The UN’s World Environment Day is held every year on 5 June, and 2023 is its 50th anniversary. It is a global platform for inspiring positive changes, and it brings together people from all over the world to protect the environment collectively and encourage further conservation. This year’s World Environment Day is being hosted by Côte d’Ivoire, with a focus on solutions to plastic pollution. On social media, #BeatPlasticPollution will be used to highlight the threat posed to our ecosystems by waste plastic and to explore ways of working together to tackle the problem.

Why should you get involved with World Environment Day?

Our students are the future, and as teachers we can inspire them with a passion for the environment. World Environment Day is a brilliant opportunity to look at both local and global environments and to investigate what can be done to help protect them.

How can you get involved?

These activities could be completed on the day or as a theme throughout the year, encouraging your students to look after their local environment and become ambassadors for their future.

1. Complete a local litter pick

World Environment Day is the perfect opportunity to remove litter from the local environment and to encourage young people to take better care of the world around them. This could be carried out on the school site, or around your local area if you have permission from parents. Following the litter pick, your students could then write letters to the local council or MP to encourage them to install more bins in the local area or to visit to understand the extent of the issue.

2. Create plastic ecobricks

Ecobricks are a great way to reuse plastic that would otherwise be used only once. Fill a container with clean, dry plastic, then use the Ecobricks website to help you make your own ecobricks. They could then be used to build structures around your school site – for example, a wall for your school garden.

3. Carry out a fieldwork investigation

World Environment Day is an excellent opportunity to get outdoors for fieldwork. To tie in with the 2023 theme, get students to research the amount of plastic pollution on your school site and explore what could be done to reduce it. Alternatively, investigate the site’s biodiversity: How many species can students find, and what more could be done to encourage biodiversity? These activities would be a great introduction to local fieldwork and using equipment such as quadrats, measuring tapes and field guides. Following the fieldwork, students could present their ideas to the school’s leadership team on how to reduce littering and improve biodiversity. You could try the resource Fieldwork: biodiversity study for key stage 3 geography.

If you want more simple activities to use in lessons or in tutor time, with pupils in a wide range of key stages, download 15 ideas for World Environment Day.

Resources to use in the classroom

Teachit has a wide range of resources to help you to teach about the environment at primary, and in secondary geography and science. I have picked out three about plastic that I think would be brilliant to use either in the run-up to World Environment Day or on the day itself: 101 uses for a plastic bottle (KS2 DT), Hydrocarbons (KS4 science), Plastic pollution research project (KS3 geography).

Whatever you do this World Environment Day, use it as an opportunity to get outside and really connect with the world around you. I hope that you and your students enjoy these activities and engage with protecting the environment on a local scale.

Fiona Sheriff

Fiona Sheriff is head of geography in a Northamptonshire secondary school, a Fawcett Fellow for 2022-2023 and the co-head of education and outreach for the UK Polar Network.