“Save the Earth!”
Every year, Earth Day rolls around and there seems to be a bit of wonder or perplexity around how to honor or celebrate this particular day. Most people likely glide through the day with a brief thought about recycling or air pollution and go back to the task at hand. But as I contemplate the common phrase that is thrown around on this day “Save the Earth”, I can’t help but think about how saving the earth is actually more about saving the people.
Why are we so interested in saving the earth? If there is no earth, ultimately…there are no people. We want the best for the generations coming after us. So, our efforts to care for earth are also efforts to care for the humans who come behind us. That’s a beautiful thing. But, how do we help our children (so young and far from the end of their lives) understand the importance of caring for our earth, today and far into the future? We do it best by creating a culture of respect for the environment, right in our own homes.
Simple tips for cultivating respect for the environment, right in your own home:
Forget the goldfish, raise PLANTS. Start simple with a filadendron (super hard to kill!). Have your kids observe the behavior of the plant and learn to meet its needs. This helps develop character traits like patience, observation skills, and self-control. They'll learn to respect their environment by raising plants which improve the air quality, lower stress and anxiety levels, and improve focus! It’s not rocket science, but even NASA recommends we raise 15-18 houseplants for a 1,800 square-foot house! 😳 Go out and splurge for a new pop of green for your house, this week.
Embrace natural sunlight only, for a weekend! Make it a fun challenge. We’ve all been told (or nagged)—"Turn off the lights when you aren’t in the room.” But what about a true visual reminder to help reinforce the habit?! Place a sticky note over the light switch for an entire weekend (it’s only 48 hrs…you can do this!) as a reminder to all to avoid using the lights. Throw open the curtains and let in all that natural Vitamin D! A challenge like this helps build up the gratitude muscles of kids and adults alike! And imagine the change you’re saving, too!
Brush your teeth without the water running. Did you know people waste FOUR gallons of water each time they brush their teeth if the water is running? In a four-person household, where each person brushes the recommended 2 times per day, that’s 32 gallons of water wasted. Show your kids 2 gallons of milk and then have them imagine 16 times that amount being wasted, just from brushing with the faucet running. 😯
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We can’t do everything, but consider starting small. Take an aluminum can like corn or green beans, remove the label and help your kids see how they can decorate it with a simple ribbon or rope and turn it into a small vase for flowers. Make a habit of taking a walk around the block once a week, where you and your kids pick up any trash items. Want to dial it up a notch? To reduce food waste, start a compost pile in the backyard. (Don’t worry about making it perfect, just start.) That way, instead of heading to a landfill where the food doesn’t decompose for hundreds of years, the food gets a second life as rich soil the following season, which makes great fertilizer!
- Turn old clothes into dusting cloths. Instead of investing in cleaning cloths, show your kids how an old t-shirt can remove the dust from their dressers and nightstands! Show them how to clear the shelves, run the t-shirt over the surface until it’s clean, and then replace in neat order! Kids who learn to consistently care for their space and make cleaning up a habit are more likely to be happy and healthy adults! Yes, please!
So, use this week to get the conversation going in your home about saving the earth and how these efforts help save the people we love by creating a healthy environment to last for hundreds and thousands of years! 🌎