Our planet is in trouble, and many families are “going green” to help the earth. Whether it’s driving less, using energy-efficient light bulbs, or living more simply, families are finding ways to be more environmentally conscious. Consider these ideas.
Tips for . . .
- all parents
- Talk with your family about being “green.” Some kids have started wearing green clothes and buying buttons to show their support for helping the environment. (Teenagers even wear green braces to promote the cause.)
- Be thoughtful and intentional with your environmental emphasis. Living simply doesn’t mean throwing out a lot and adding to the problem of too much waste. Recycle as much as you can. Donate as much as you can to charity. Buy less.
- Make more environmentally friendly food choices. Some people reduce the amount of processed foods they buy (thereby eliminating a great deal of processed packaging). Some start eating “closer to the ground,” which means eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Ask your kids for ideas on how to be a green family. Many are learning concrete ways to help the environment through their school and the media.
- Participate in family volunteer activities that help the environment. Get involved in recycling drives and trash clean ups.
- Plant a garden. Grow some of your own fruits, herbs, and vegetables.
- parents with children ages birth to 5
- Young children can “go green.” Sesame Street has a number of helpful online games and videos about going green. See Go Green!
- Encourage kids to turn off the lights every time they leave a room.
- Have your child help you with recycling. Together, sort through different recyclables and put them into different bags. (Before you do this, find out what the recycling policies are for your community so that you’re recycling in the way that works for your community.)
- parents with children ages 6 to 9
- Encourage kids to turn off the water while they’re brushing their teeth. Learn more by visiting AquaClara.
- Promote riding the bus to school. Even though buses do pollute, it’s less harmful on the environment to have one bus taking 40-50 kids to school rather than 40-50 cars driving each child to school individually.
- Together, read books with creative, practical ideas on how to go green. Consider Braniac’s Go Green Activity Book by Mara Conlon or The Everything Kids Environment Book by Sheri Amsel.
- parents with children ages 10 to 15
- Get to know other parents in your child’s activities. Set up carpools with families nearby so that fewer families are driving.
- Encourage kids not to stand in front of the open refrigerator or freezer too long. Talk about how a closed refrigerator and freezer save energy.
- Have lawn-mowing kids leave the grass clippings on the yard as natural fertilizer. If you want them to bag the clippings, use the clippings in your flowerbeds as mulch. Consider using a non-electric or non-gas push mower.
- parents with children ages 16 to 18
- Monitor how older teenagers recycle (or don’t recycle). Some get so caught up in their own activities that they don’t realize that they shouldn’t toss batteries or aluminum cans into the trash.
- Watch movies about the environment such as “An Inconvenient Truth” or “BBC’s Planet Earth.” Then talk about it afterward.
- Encourage teenagers to get involved with (or to start) environmental practices at their school. Ask them how these activities can be incorporated into your home.
- Determine your carbon footprint. Afterward, talk about what you learned and what your family can do.