April 22nd, 2022 – Earth Day in Chinese is 地球日. Protecting the earth has, until this point, always been something that many of us are all a bit too casual about—we try to do something when we remember and don’t feel too bad when we don’t.
This year, our actions on Earth have taken on a new urgency as the science is showing unequivocably that climate change is rapidly accelerating, it is harming our health through floods, fires, and heat, and we are now left with only 11 years to simply avoid the most devastating consequences.
For teachers and parents whose kids are taking bilingual classes, we have compiled a list of 45 useful terms to help you discuss Earth Day in Chinese and English, so you can talk about the challenges we face and plan clear actions to protect the only planet we have.
Don’t just have a happy Earth Day—take action! After you finish with this list of vocabulary, you can also have some fun with a simple bilingual Earth Day Quiz here.
A vocabulary resource for bilingual families and classrooms
Click on the Chinese text to hear the pronunciation!
- World Earth Day 世界地球日 (shìjiè dìqiú rì)
Our actions that are causing harm to the environment:
These are the positive actions we can take to help the Earth:
- Reduce 减少 (jiǎn shǎo)
- Reuse 重复使用 (chóng fù shǐ yòng)
- Recycle 回收 (huí shōu)
- Cut emissions 减少排放 (jiǎn shǎo pái fàng)
- Ride a bike 骑脚踏车 (qí jiǎo tà chē)
- Walk 走路 (zǒu lù)
- Turn off lights 随手关灯 (suí shǒu guān dēng)
- Use less 用少一点 (yòng shǎo yī diǎn)
- Eat local 吃在地的 (chī zài dì de)
- Save water 节约用水 (jié yuē yòng shuǐ)
- Beach cleanup 净滩 (jìng tān)
Useful sayings and idioms in Chinese (成语) for Earth Day
- 前人种树，后人乘凉 (qián rén zhòng shù, hòu rén chéng liáng)
In English, this saying literally means “The people who come before plant the trees, the people who come afterwards enjoy the shade they provide.” This is similar to the English idiomatic expression, “planting the seeds”. This reminds us that our actions today have consequences for tomorrow.
- 竭泽而渔 (jié zé ér yú)
The literal meaning of this idiom is to drain the entire pond to get all the fish. A similar English idiom is “to kill the goose that lays the golden egg”. It is used to describe over-exploiting valuable resources till they are exhausted. It reminds us that if we continue harmful practices and use up all the Earth’s resources, we will be cutting off the source of all the benefits we derive from the planet.
- 巢毀卵破 (cháo huǐ luǎn pò)
The literal meaning of this is that if the bird’s nest is destroyed, the eggs in it will be broken as well. A similar English idiomatic expression would be that “share a common fate” or that the Earth’s fate and our individual lives are completely intertwined.
- 任重道远 (rèn zhòng dào yuǎn)
This literally means to take on a heavy duty and embark on a long road. Similar English idioms include “an uphill task” or “a mountain to climb”. This reminds us that the path to restoring the Earth is a difficult and long journey – there are no quick fixes.
- 山明水秀 (shān míng shuǐ xiù)
This literally means “green hills and clear waters”, describing a picturesque scenery with beautiful mountains and rivers. We end this vocabulary list with this beautiful dream we can all share—that our actions today will lead not to the destruction of the Earth, but the maintenance and flourishing of the environment that nourishes us.
Try our Earth Day Quiz!
The 6 Rs of Protecting Our Planet
Do you know the 6Rs of Protecting Our Planet? Which ‘R’ will you practice today?
The 6Rs of Protecting Our Planet were shared with us during our awesome Earth Day Doodle Date on Saturday, 16th April 2022, by our special guest Mohd Ibnur Rashad, founder and chief innovation officer of GUILD. You can re-view the event here: