The best investment on earth is earth.
—Louis J. Glickman, real estate developer
April 22 is Earth Day. Instead of getting overwhelmed with issues that seem to grow bigger by the day (such as global climate change and pollution), try these easy, simple ideas that your family can do to help the earth.
Tips for . . .
- all parents
- Join in Earth Day activities through your community or your child’s school. Visit your community’s and school’s Web sites for more information. Or visit www.earthday.net.
- As a family, take an environmental inventory of your house. What is your family good at? Where does your family waste energy (by not turning off the lights or by taking long showers)? Set one easy goal to focus on in the next week.
- Set the goal of “one in and one out.” If anyone receives a gift or buys something new, that person needs to choose one item to recycle, give to a charity, or toss.
- parents with children ages birth to 5
- Introduce your family to nature. On a nice day, take a family walk. Visit a playground that has trees nearby. Ask your children what animals and bugs they see.
- Check out the picture book Are Trees Alive? by Debbie S. Miller from your library and read it aloud. Afterward, go outside and thank a tree.
- Have a spring cleanup day. With your children, clean their room, your house, and your yard. Talk about how cleaning things up helps the earth.
- parents with children ages 6 to 9
- Talk about the three Rs: Recycle, Reuse, and Reduce. Ask your child for ideas on how to do all three.
- Make plans to plant flowers or a garden. You don’t need much space. One flowerpot will do. Plant seeds now, or buy a seedling and plant it in the ground (or pot) when the threat of frost is over.
- Set a family goal of turning off the water when brushing teeth. Research how much water you save by doing this.
- parents with children ages 10 to 15
- Ask your children for ideas on how they want to help the earth. If their ideas are complicated, help them simplify them. Then choose one and do it. (Your children will feel empowered when you ask them for ideas and act on their ideas.)
- Discuss how helping the environment is a matter of social justice for the earth—and for people. Talk about why poor people tend to live near polluted rivers or toxic waste dumps. Ask how helping the environment can help everyone.
- Research the parks and nature reserves near your home. Ask your child to choose one. Then take a walk together as a family.
- parents with children ages 16 to 18
- Together research ways to safely dispose of e-trash, hazardous waste (such as batteries and paint), and other items that you can’t place in the garbage. Find a place in your home to keep these items and then once a year, dispose of them in environmentally responsible ways.
- If your family hasn’t already done so, create recycling containers in your home for paper, plastic, and aluminum. Together, research which types of paper, plastic, and aluminum are recyclable and which ones are not.
- Ask your teenagers which environmental issue is most important to them. Find charitable organizations to volunteer with or donate money to at www.charitywatch.org for ideas.