Earth Day in the Midst of a Climate Emergency

Every year, the Zinn Education Project sends an email commemorating Earth Day. And each year, these seem more grim, more urgent.

This year, Earth Day arrives with crisis layered upon crisis. The emergency of climate chaos frames everything. People may want to be done with COVID-19, but it is not done with us, as the latest variant continues to infect millions. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the war there, threatens nuclear catastrophe. And the crisis of inequality — racial, class, global — is so pervasive it can (wrongly) feel like part of human nature.

The corporate-owned media — which includes most textbooks in our schools — have no interest in equipping students to think deeply and critically about these crises. That’s why the Zinn Education Project exists: to help teachers of conscience “teach outside the textbook,” and help our students understand the world — and act to change it.

This Earth Day, take a moment to reacquaint yourself with our extensive collection of lessons, poetry, articles, film clips, and book recommendations at our Teach Climate Justice campaign.

These resources can help you show students how all the crises we confront are connected — and introduce them to people and movements working to make the world more just, more equal.

Films Articles

Make an Earth Day Commitment to Teach Climate Justice

Take the pledge to teach climate justice to your students

The Zinn Education Project launched our Teach Climate Justice Campaign to support educators teaching about climate change and environmental justice.

Take the pledge and use the resources highlighted in our campaign to start or to continue teaching climate justice.

Necessity: Oil Water, and Climate Resistance

Necessity: Oil Water, and Climate Resistance profiles the work of Indigenous organizers and non-Indigenous allies in Minnesota, in which climate activists used the necessity legal defense to argue for the right to act to stop the fossil fuels that are killing us all.

Educators can stream the film online on most platforms and we offer a free lesson called Teaching Climate Disobedience.

A People’s Curriculum for the Earth: Teaching Climate Change and the Environmental Crisis (Teaching Guide) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Essential Guide: A People’s Curriculum for the Earth

A People’s Curriculum for the Earth is an educator’s toolkit for our times. — Naomi Klein

Life on Earth is at risk. Here is a resource that helps students see what’s wrong and imagine solutions.

This collection of articles, remote-learning friendly role plays, simulations, stories, poems, and graphics helps breathe life into teaching environmental justice.

Order your copy at

Share Your Story 

Submit your classroom story about teaching with a Zinn Education Project climate justice lesson and receive a free book.

Films with a Conscience

It has always been a good idea to use “films with a conscience,” but films may now be an even more accessible “text” we can use to help young people think deeply about the world. Many of these films also alert students to how individuals and social movements have tried to make life better.

The list includes more than 20 films about Environmental Justice. Many are available to stream online for little or no cost.

Capitalism, Climate Change, and Deforestation: The Corona Connection

As students study the root causes of the pandemic, they will need to examine the role of the capitalist system with respect to the environment.

Here are readings to share with them and background information for educators.

Support Climate Justice Teaching

The Teach Climate Justice campaign is made possible by support from individuals like you. The future depends on your support. Donate now!

Find more classroom resources below.

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