Earth Day: 40 Eco Links Worth Recycling to Friends

April 20, 2020 Update: (How often does that happen 20-2020?)

4-21-2020: Amidst the “Contagion” concerns of COVID-19, take a moment to imagine what POSITIVE CONTAGION taking action on climate change could look like…

Here are just a few ways to engage and inspire kids with green media to advocate for our planet’s future!

4-20-2018 update: I’ll spare you the countless “green” 4-20 posts and update the eco-stronghold of youth collectively outraged by the horrific policies of 45’s admin, specifically Scott Pruitt damaging our planet and our public health air and water quality.

Here’s an update from our friends in So. Cal, a group of youth led eco-warriors using the acronym STRONG: Stories That Root our Next Generation. The Guardian site is all about instilling diverse, prosocial planet protectors into the children’s entertainment sphere…this visual is beautiful, as I must say my inclination would be to wrap those twines around the perpetrators of this administration’s lawless lifting of regulatory practices which are meant to preserve public health. sigh.

On this 2018 School Walkout Day in support of students against gun violence and paying respects to the murdered victims of the Columbine massacre it seems we have plenty to HEAL as GUARDIANS on this planet and when I’m at our local beach clean up tomorrow, the actions over words mandate for youth as stewards and inspirations to protect and serve Mother Earth in years to come gives me hope and promise in an era where it’s hard to find same. 

4-21-2017 update  If you’re not already doing a March For Science on Earth Day (just plug in your zipcode to find a nearby location) or picking up a CA beach on a collective coastal cleanup effort (see park maps participating here) there are still a ton of ways to get kids involved and active as stewards of the earth and prosocial planet protectors…sending a strong signal to our new admin that CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL and new policies and practices eroding public health will not be tolerated by “we the people.” 

I’m also reprising this resource roundup of fun digital engagement for kids with ECO-Science games, Tech w/Kids picks for “top nature apps for kids” and this interview with Nicole Lazarro of TiltWorld where kids’ play translates to real world actions, in time for Earth Day 2017, enjoy! Click through a decade of content in Shaping Youth’s entire EcoKids/Environment category–just keep scrolling down with “next page” for ideas and freecycling as well as recycling! 

From Screen Free Week digital detox hiatus to nature apps, green media and posts like “Can Digital Kids Click with Nature, Wildlife?” (as well as new media that encourages kids to get outside, like the new PreK Amazon kids’ show TumbleLeaf) just dive into the custom search engine bar to find exactly the type of Earth Day activities and media you’re seeking!

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), it’s always ourselves we find in the sea. –e.e. cummings”

Original Post:

Every Earth Day I circle back to fun, fresh ways we can embed sustainability messages in media to inspire kids as stewards of the planet so we don’t get into ‘either/or’ thinking and instead embrace ALL forms of apps, techno tools, outdoor fun and Save My Planet contests  to create a green scene a la kids CauseWorld.

Thankfully, we’ve come a long way from the marketing of guilt trips, dire, dry stats and hopeless doomsday predictions to marketing mindfulness and hope, embracing positive change that kicks “actionists” into high gear as a force for the future to be reckoned with…

Today alone “YOUth” movements like Green My launched all over the media in the NYT Opinionator on Yahoo Shine and GMP on Twitter (congrats GMP!) Plus mega-moguls like DisneyNature’s Oceans premiere to save our seas and coral reefs is not only raising awareness about conservation, but leveraging social media to pool funds via quick click and change agent pledges (e.g. SaveMyOceans)

Whether it’s primary schools performing theatrical Cool The Earth assemblies imparting carbon footprint family challenges, or Teens Turning Green gaining strong footholds in clubs, projects and global movements, the collective conscience of kids ‘selling adults’ on the concept that Earth Day is “every day” is growing by necessity.

In addition to the big splash of sea ventures like tracking the voyage of the Plastiki (crafted of 12,500 recycled bottles/plastic trash on an adventurous journey in Kontiki style) Plastiki docu-filmmaker Vern Moen welcomed his firstborn on Earth Day, amazingly witnessed via Skype, HP and Inmarsat technology! (ah, the wonders of tech; sure doesn’t beat face to face holding of the wee one though; I’m sure that’s one eager papa to sight land soon!)

Meanwhile, in mainstream media, massively HUGE tsunamis of eco waves are being made by James Cameron’s Avatar (DVD released today) with an environmental message on Pandora akin to  the Dr. Seuss & The Lorax iPhone app, multiplied by a budget of ten gazillion.

In marketing, Ad Age tallies up the headway in the green movement to compare and contrast with consumption and also reports on new “behavioral placement” eco-messages embedded into youth media hits like Heroes and GLEE. (add this to sustainability messages in films like “Hoot,” “IceAge2-The Meltdown” and “Over the Hedge” which helped vault ecology and the environment into kids’ brain-bandwidth awhile back)

And nonprofit and for-profit marketers alike are using causes to increase mindshare…Whether it’s the Sea Turtle Restoration Project Adopt A Nest (for Mother’s Day, hint, hint, darling) or star-studded spokespersons from Sigourney Weaver to Pierce Brosnan stumping for our seas, it’s getting obvious that “blue is the new green” as many have said since The Cove shined the spotlight on dolphins’ plight at the Academy Awards…

As I’ve said many times before, any way we can get from point A to point B without hypocrisy and excessive greenwashing suits me…

Adding some compassion and humor into the mix to nudge toward a less hostile mindset for humanity is a bonus, along with critical thinking skills to assess who’s leading the bandwagon in marketing green and who’s simply along for the ride. On that note…a mixed blessing:

The cynical side of me would call  Coke’s newly launched branded effort Let’s All Join Fins to donate $1 per app to the Ocean Conservancy a “competitive response” to the uber-successful PepsiRefresh social media project earning kudos for corporate social responsibility.

Alas, aside from the soda wars and selling sugar water, I have to embrace both brands for smart CSR in pretty clean social media interplays.

Even though I know in my heart some of those soda bottles and cans are littered at the very bottom of the oceans they’re saving, and corporate coffers can afford a much bigger chunk of change to offset the damage to kids from mass marketing in the first place, I guess I’ll “dive in” and be ‘oceanized’ as the app only runs about a month so it’s one small fin for funding the Ocean Conservancy and as a nonprofit I know every little smidge counts.

Coke’s Live Positively/Join Fins Facebook app has a $200,000 eco-goal for the oceans, and as a diehard water rat and island girl, I’ll play along despite the fact that the product line itself falls into the “5 Risky Products Marketed to Kids” (btw, I’d add “credit cards” as a sixth)

Truth is, social media’s ability to spread eco-challenges virally and make a difference en masse for funding with a click has shifted the tide altogether in ways people connect and support their passions. (yes, I’ll cave and start a FB fan page soon, pauper purse strings aren’t cutting it here in the unfunded realm)

From community building and gaming to No Child Left INSIDE policy used as earth sciences in schools, online to offline bridges CAN make a huge difference to segue into kids worlds both for making a digital difference AND to get outside and PLAY. (see links list of favorite uses of online to get kids offline like

One of my favorites this year has been the ‘trashing’ of my site (see above) by dear colleagues (scared the life out of me when I received the email with the subject line “You just got trashed” at first) It was quite the ‘gotcha’ on the attention front for those of us who are familiar with trolls, hackers and other nefarious sorts…

When you click on the link (which my cautious-creature self only did AFTER talking to my pals Bill Daul and Claudia Welss of the NextNow Collaboratory who sent it to me)…the site starts adding trash bags one by one blocking out the text on Shaping Youth.

Clever. The effort was created by it routes you through all kinds of wired action steps taking you down various paths depending on how fast you want to get your site back…;-)

Claudia and Bill said, “you were one of the few we thought we could send it to without freaking out”—which cracked me up, because I treated it like a time bomb carefully unwrapping the data in ‘what could happen next’ mode in cybersafety savvy. Anyway, fun one…ocean soundtrack, seagulls and all…Give it a go.

Finally, in addition to the exciting things going on with the “Lead it. Live it.” gang at Gen Y Envirolution and all of the countless ‘Games That’ (supporting The Wilderness Society, and charities galore, feature forthcoming) I thought I’d leave you with this Fun Theory video (shades of the piano steps to get people to use stairs) as I always love their upbeat approach to  the “what ifs” of human behavioral change…

Here are “forty faves” to honor the 40th anniversary of Earth Day… baby steps towards a greener tomorrow and a healthier planet for us all.

40 Earth Day Media & Marketing Resources For 40th Earth Day

Fun & Games: Eco Interactives Kids Love

Name That Greenwashing Sin (Game for eco-literacy!)

Seussville Lorax: Interactive Save the Trees Game

Heal the Bay Interactive to ‘Trash Your Friends,’ Learn About Marine Life

The Great Turtle Race (Game/Nat’l Geo Kids)

Meet the Greens, (pbskids games/activities/interactives)

My Daddy Taught Me To Surf (eco book w/portion of proceeds to the Surfrider Foundation, AWESOME –post forthcoming)

Habitat (ages 6-13 virtual world) & Earth Day blog Gaming for Good (GoodQuests; formerly Elf Island)

PlanIt Green (Nat’l Geo games)

Save My Planet $500 Challenge BKFK: By Kids For Kids (puzzles/games CEE)

Nature Rocks: Reconnecting Families w/Planet Earth!

Migratory Max:  Wilderness Society

Inconvenient (Cool People Care)

UNEP interactives for kids

Earth Day Crafts/Printables (Kaboose)

Discover The (interactive site; getting tweens into nature)

Climate Kids: NASA’s Eye on the Earth (big questions) AND Kids’ Games

Shaping Youth: Kid-Vid & Media Games Galore (+How Stuff Works/eco)

Excellent Teaching Tools: EcoLiteracy & Hands-On Aids

Seven Sins of Greenwashing + Interactive Game For EcoLiteracy

Reading Eco Labels: What to Look For, What it Means (TheChicEcologist)

The Story of Stuff Project(s) with Annie Leonard

Eco-Schools USA + On SchoolTube Channel (NWF)

EcoKids Interactives, Earth Day Canada

Teens Turning Green, Dirty Thirty (cosmetics)

Kids Bring Home the Message to Cool the Earth

Rate Your Cosmetics (EWG’s Skin Deep Database)

Pick Five For The Environment (US/EPA kids actions)

CELF: Children’s Envir. Literacy Foundation

Timeline Tracking Environmental Changes/Protections (NYT)

Earth Day Network (Post on EcoChild’s Play w/EDU)

Gaylord Nelson, Founder of Earth Day (The Wilderness Society)

Earth Day PreSchool Videos for Kids (Little Earth Charter)

Green Screen TV Webisodes and

Environmental Cartoons by “Mean Joe Green” (Hank D & the Bee)

ThinkMTV: Issues/Environment (online youth hub)

Parenting & Eco-Edu-Consumer Resources


HCHW (CHEC: Children’s Health Envir Coalition- ) World Watch

HCHW Pocket Guides (toys/ food/ plastics)

40 organic designers of children’s clothes (via GreenEdge Kids) (clothes recycling)

Top Green Toys

Best Green Picks at Toy Fair per Green Options
How to Celebrate Earth Day with Your Kids
(NWF roundup)

5 Ways to Go Green W/Social Media  (Mashable Pt1)

5 MORE Ways to Go Green For Earth Day w/Social Media (Pt2)

Greenwashing: Sustainable Brands vs. Branding Bandwagons & Not Just A Pretty Face by Stacy Malken

Altruism & Children’s Perceptions on Global Warming (18 pp pdf)

Market Advantage Youth Lab (Alcatel-Lucent) Green Tags

How Youth Brands Use Good Causes to Sell (

World Environment Day  (UNEP)

Inspiring Minds:

Saved By the Well & Dream Village: World Water Day Interactive Books (Pt1)

Socially Responsible Picture Books: Saved By The Well! (Pt 2)

By Kids For Kids (BKFK) Ideation Station: 12- yr old water watcher

Service Learning by Teens Turning Green (Haiti/spring break 2010)

MakeDo: Kids Making a Difference: Habitat Heroes

Energy Star/ThinkMTV Team For Teens Door to Door Change Agents Highlights Inspirational Kidz

One World Youth Project

Kids Are Heroes: Margaret & her dad Gabe’s venture

Young Eco-Heroes: Want to be a Conservationist When You Grow Up?

Levar Fisher: Let’s Inspire Our Youth Youth Making Changes

TEDxTeen Talks

Echoing Green Finalists/Fellows

Kids Eco Posts on Shaping Youth W/Links To Vital Resources

How To Turn People Green

Inspiring Kids As Stewards of the Planet

Inspiring Kids With Green Media

Get ‘Em Outside!

The Great Turtle Race

When Art Meets Earth: Wyland’s Murals Inspire Kids to Care Edu & Eco Activism for Int’l Climate Change

Kids Bring Home the Message to Cool the Earth

Spring Break Sanctuary 2010 Media Unplugged on Catalina

Hope Is On The Horizon When Movements Go Mainstream

Green Teen Videos On Climate Change: Global Challenge

Climate Change Chocolate, TerraPass E-Cause Animation…

Teen Scene: Eco-Concerts

Coen Brothers Ad For Clean Coal Air Freshener (kids faves!)

Disney Nature’s EARTH movie: Our Teen Team’s Take

International Day of Peace to Reach and Teach

Green Grades Report Cards: Forest Ethics

One Teen’s View: Use Eco As An Equalizer

Project Green Dorm: Engaging Youth Via Teens Turning Green

S.F. Oil Spill Prompts Altruism & Activism in Kids

Nature Rocks: Reconnecting Families with Planet Earth!

Shaping Youth Joins Eco-Literacy Coalition: NCLI

Planting Earthseeds Via The Magic School Bus

New Media Worldometers Help Data Click With Kids


Media Savvy Kids and Nature Deficit Disorder

The Nature of Tweens: Wired Worlds & Outdoor Ed

Shaping Youth Through Nature, Media Unplugged

Kids Plant Virtual Trees to Benefit REAL Trees in Dizzywood

Get Kids to Eat Green: Using Shrek Against His Drek

Seeding Virtual Worlds: Kids Going Green in Dizzywood

Nim’s Island: Shaping Youth Through Imagination & Adventure

When Green Gets Jaded: Marketing Hope to Kids

Elf Island: A Virtual World To Be Wild About

Elf  Island GoodQuest to Help Polar Bears

Can Somethin’ Be Done About All This Consumption?

Earth Hour & Kids +Virtual Walk for Water

Kids’ Gardening, Spring Break & the Seinfeld Equinox

If Kids Could Be Dolphins: The Power of Creative Play

Greentrepreneurs: Recycle Bank Shows Kids it Pays to Be Green

What’s A Kids Party Without Piles of Presents? EchoAge

Shaping Youth in Semi-Finals For Echoing Green Fellowship

S.F. Oil Spill Prompts Altruism & Activism in Kids

New Media Worldometers Help Data Click With Kids

Eco-Friendly Electronics, Go Green With Your Wired World

The 11th Hour: Leonardo DiCaprio’s New Documentary

5th International Symposium/Youth Collaboratory: Digital Earth

Green Media & Electric Cars: New Energy Shaping Youth

Care2 Make A Difference? Social Media/Kids

Digital Activism: Kids Stump for Change (World Wildlife Fund)

Youth Atwitter On LiveEarth Concert

Marketing Mindfulness to Kids

Planting Earthseeds Via The Magic School Bus

40+++ More in Shaping Youth’s EcoKids & Environment Category

Archived here…


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