An annual initiative encouraging global awareness of, and action in, environmental protection and sustainability, Earth Day first began on April 22, 1970, and continues to be celebrated on April 22 each year.

This year’s Earth Day campaign is environmental and climate literacy, built on the idea that knowledge is the first step toward a global community of individuals empowered to address and take action against the threats currently facing our planet.

In his poem “Some Effects of Global Warming in Lackawanna County,” Jay Parini juxtaposes the somber reality of global warming with the ironic naivety of some of the ones it affects: “Kids in T-shirts run to school, unaware / that summer is a long way off.” In “Global Warming,” too, Jane Hirshfield elevates the threat of global warming to a danger “too large to be comprehended.” And yet, with this year's campaign, the aim is to do just that—to comprehend the threat in order to make a difference.

In honor of Earth Day and this year’s campaign for environmental and climate literacy, browse our selection of poems for Earth Day.

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