Every year, Earth Day falls on April 22. This year it’s a Sunday, so that gives you the chance to spend time with your kids, observing the day and celebrating in your own way! The point of Earth Day is to raise awareness of environmentally sound practices and to foster good habits. Use this as a day to step up your family’s knowledge about the importance of recycling and conserving resources, and also as a time to spend together, implementing some earth-friendly ideas.
- Plant a Tree
Trees help reduce ozone levels and give wildlife like squirrels, birds and insects places to live. Fruit trees provide food for wildlife and for you, too! If you have a yard or garden, consider planting a tree on Earth Day. Visit your local nursery to find out which kinds of trees thrive best in your area, and to get helpful planting tips. Make it a family outing, and give the kids the responsibility for keeping the tree watered and cared for. If you don’t have the room for a tree, consider planting a veggie garden, a small bush or a row of flowers in your front yard.
- Beautify Your Area
Head to a park or nature trail with the intention of making it more beautiful than it was when you got there. Bring a garbage bag and some rubber gloves (in case you find anything yucky), and pick up any litter that you find. Or, do this right in your own neighborhood. You could also volunteer to do some free weeding at your local community center, church or at an elderly neighbor’s home. Think of ways that you could help make an outdoor area more attractive. Always ask first before doing anything on private property, and don’t pick flowers or take anything else from public or state parks, as this is often illegal.
- Choose a Simple Change
Talk about whether there is anything that you can do as a family to make your lifestyle a bit more earth-friendly. Could you recycle more? Make an effort to purchase more locally grown produce? Eat less meat? Maybe you could try to shop at secondhand shops more often, instead of buying everything new. Or maybe you could try hard to use fewer resources by taking shorter showers or being more mindful of lights and appliances being left on. Choose just one small habit that you’d like to make or break, and make “Earth Day Resolutions” part of your family’s tradition.
- End With a Movie Night
If you have little ones (and it’s still playing in your area), consider heading to the theaters to see The Lorax, a movie about environmental awareness geared toward younger children. This is even better if you read the book beforehand and discuss the issues of pollution and over-industrialization on a kid-friendly level. Other movies that the younger set might enjoy include March of the Penguins and Ant Bully. Preteens and teens might enjoy An Inconvenient Truth or The Day After Tomorrow.
How do you plan to observe Earth Day 2012? Share some of your ideas with us!