While every day we should be taking exquisite care of the earth, April 22nd is when our planet is officially celebrated. This year Earth Day falls on a Sunday which may make it easier for you and your family to get out and do something worthy. Many local events and fairs are happening so check your local newspapers and websites for details. Even if you choose to do something without crowds, Earth Day is a good day to let the kids learn a few lessons that they will hopefully take with them as they grow older.
This year’s campaign is to end plastic pollution, so a special focus is on plastics.
Earthday.org and the Earth Day Network are two great places to browse and learn. Here’s one fact from their site you can start with: Every day in this country, over 500,000,000 straws are used once and thrown away. Ask your kids to give up using straws. That includes those cute little lunch box ones you send to school. Make a promise to put juice or water in reusable containers and let them know they are making a difference!
Trash Clean Up
Take the kids to a local park, beach or even a walk around the neighborhood for a trash clean up. This is something my family is done and I suggest packing garbage bags, wearing gloves, and bringing hand sanitizer just in case. As you clean, have a talk with your kids about litter and why it’s wrong.
Gift Reusable Shopping Bags
Teach your children how bringing bags to stores reduces waste (and in some states saves money, as they charge for bags!). Here’s another fact from Earthday.org: 100 BILLION plastic bags are used by Americans every year. Tied together, they would reach around the Earth’s equator 773 times! Visualizing that alone can be enough for all of us to stop using plastic bags—or at the very least, drastically reduce how many you use.
Buy Water Bottles
This is something I gave up years ago. Unless I’m in certain situations where I must buy a water bottle, I bring a reusable water bottle with me wherever I go. My kids do too. At home, use a water pitcher with a filter instead of handing out bottles. It not only saves plastic, it saves you money!
Talk About Recycling
It takes just a few minutes of your day to remove labels and rinse cans and jars. Make a special spot or bin for easy access before you bring them out to the outdoor recycle bin. Recyclebank can even earn you points for things like free magazines. They have little short reads with many pictures followed by quick quizzes that earn the points. Older kids can do these easily.