In March 1965, Alexei Leonov became the first human to walk in space. As he exited the spacecraft, he looked out at his planet. Recalling the moment later, he said: “The Earth was small, light blue and so touchingly alone. Our home that must be defended like a holy relic.”

Last week, more than a billion people in over 190 countries celebrated Earth Day. First marked in 1970, Earth Day is widely thought of as the birth of the modern environmental movement. It is an opportunity to reflect on the impact humans have on Earth, and to campaign for change to halt the climate emergency.

In recent years, earlier warnings about global warming have become realities. The world is now in crisis. Last June, Siberia recorded temperatures of 38C. This came in the same year that saw the hottest January and May on record. Read more about our changing planet here.

Many hope the current pandemic will at least usher some drastic changes needed to heal the planet. Addressing an audience on YouTube, when last year’s 50th anniversary events moved online, Greta Thunberg called for a “new path” after the pandemic. For the teenage activist, Covid-19 was an opportunity for a new beginning: a chance to rebuild, with the Earth as a priority.

How will you fight for your planet this week?

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  1. Take this quiz from the Earth Day website to test your knowledge on plastic pollution and oceans.
  2. Imagine you have travelled to space and you are looking back at Earth. Write a diary entry describing your experience.
  3. Come up with an Earth Day event for your school to raise awareness about climate change.