Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

TPiB: Earth Day Projects (and project resources for your collection)

It’s Earth Day! 

Today is a day when we remember that we all share this big Earth and that many of its resources are, in fact, limited.  As you drive wherever you are going today (all though a good Earth day guru would ride a bike or walk), take a moment to look at all the trash you see on the sides of the road.  Earth Day is not just about global warming or oil . . . it is about seeing the beauty in the world around us and working to keep it clean, working to make sure that we have access to clean water and nutritious food now and in the future, and just being responsible consumers as we live together on this 3rd Rock from the Sun.  Earth Day is a reminder to just stop for a moment an exam how we live our lives and the chain reaction that it can have.

Now is a great time to look at ways that we can do more responsible programming with our teens, and teach teens how they can use the materials in their daily life in more than one way.  Below are some great programming ideas you can use in your libraries and some resources to share with teens on eco-crafting.

One of my favorite resources is 47 Things You Can Do for the Environment, written for teens – and very accessible.  It includes hands on activities and simple steps you can take to live in more environmentally friendly ways.  More than just a craft book, this is a guide book for eco-living.  In addition, 47 Things does include some craft projects which can be done in a program setting.

re·cy·cle /rēˈsīkəl/
  1. Convert (waste) into reusable material. (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

Here are 5 Things You Can Do Today – and for Fun! – to Help the Earth

Recycle Your Discarded Books
Here is a Pinterest board full of Recycled Book Crafts
Word Art Necklace
Tutorials for Recycling Books, including some very cool shelves which would look awesome in a teen space

Recycle Your Discarded Magazines and Newspapers
Recycled newspaper crafts on Pinterest
Magazine Bead Bracelet
Step by Step Instructions on how to make your own paper beads out of old magazines

Recycle – or Upcycle – Old Clothing

50 Creative Way to Reuse Denim
T-shirt Wall Art
More t-shirt crafts on Pinterest

/ˈʌpˌsaɪkəl/ Show Spelled [uhp-sahy-kuhl] noun
verb (used with object)
to process (used goods or waste material) so as to produce something that is often better than the original: I upcycled a stained tablecloth into curtains.

Don’t Throw It Away! Make Something With It
Pop Tab Jewelry
Bottle Cap Crafts
Can Do Robots
Recycled Pouch Purses
Upcycled Washer Necklaces
Earth Day/Recycled Crafts on Pinterest

Let Teens Get Techy
We all have some old technology floating around somewhere.  What better way for teens to get some hands on experience then having a Tech Take It Apart event.  Basically, you get a bunch of junky computers, printers, etc. and let teens take them apart.  Be careful, as some tech has some environmentally tricky parts; cell phone batteries for example contain toxic chemicals and should be removed and properly recycled.  This would be a great Beneath the Surface program for the 2013 Summer Reading Cooperative as teens are invited to “go beneath the surface of the technology” they use every day.  After you are done exploring the “guts” of your technology, use the pieces you have extracted to create decorative robots.

Craft books like these are not only great for your collection for your teens, but they are great for any adults who want to do environmental activities with teens. 

Take 10: Teen Titles with an Earth Day Theme
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Trickster’s Girl by Hilari Bell
Torched by April Henry
Hoot by Carl Hiassen
Rootless by Chris Howard
The Pearl Wars by Nick James
Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd
Destroy All Cars by Blake Nelson
The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
Empty by Suzanne Weyn

Previously on TLT: We’ve only got this one Earth!


  1. Love this post!! Doing some tweeting today for Earth Day on how us bookworms can help save mother earth with the hashtag #BookishED. Will definitely tweet out some of your great posts 🙂

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