Earth Day in May: Teaching Children That Everyday Should Be Earth Day

It’s May 1st. We’re leaving behind another month of Obama vs Clinton, the woes of Miley Cyrus, and…Earth Day. But while Obama, Clinton, and Cyrus, will all likely get a lot more air time before next April, Earth Day may not be so lucky. As educators and parents, we need to teach children that everyday should be Earth Day– not just April 22nd.

For all those of you who attend a Powerful Words Member School, today marks the beginning of Compassion Month. We’ll be talking about the ways that our children and our teens (as well as ourselves) can show compassion to each other, people across the world who are in need, endangered animals and homeless pets, and yes, our planet.

Kids may think they’re too young to make a difference. Some parents may think their kids are too young as well. But Powerful Parents know better. While young children may not be able to join massive reforestation projects or major clean-up movements, they can contribute in many simple ways. They can start at home. They can start with you. They can start now.

Here are some things that you can teach your kids to do to celebrate Earth Day everyday:

Here are some things that you can teach your kids to do to celebrate Earth Day everyday:

  1. Garbage management. There are many ways to teach kids the value of proper garbage management.
    • Reuse, reduce, recycle. Train them to be on the lookout for the recycling symbol on products you/they want to buy. This is an assurance that the materials used for packaging are environment-friendly and may be recycled.
    • Teach them the importance of separating their garbage. You can even turn this into a game: Let’s see if you can shoot this plastic bottle in the blue recycle can.
    • If there are no trash cans in sight, instead of littering, teach them to bring their trash home.
    • Reuse half-use or lightly used paper for drawing and writing. Explain to your children that paper comes from trees, and if they save paper, they can help save trees.
    • Use reusable or biodegradable containers/bags for their school lunch instead of disposable brown bags or plastic sandwich bags.
  2. Walk. When it’s not too far away and it’s safe, walking is a great alternative to driving. Children can walk to school, to their friend’s house, or to the neighborhood store. You don’t have to use the car everywhere you go. Walking is not only good exercise, it also helps reduce the build-up of carbon monoxide that cars produce. This change therefore doesn’t only affect our health but it can also greatly affect the air we breathe. (Need an alternative? Use the bike!)
  3. Go Organic. Produce grown the organic way helps keep air, water, and soil clean because they don’t use toxic pesticides. There are already a variety of organic foods in the market today – meat, rice, milk, juice, eggs, butter, and a lot more. You can also get some of these items from the local farmer’s market which helps to support local farmers and family-owned farms. Buying and eating these items can offer a healthier solution to processed, mass produced foods and can be better for the environment.
  4. Care for the plants. Plants don’t only make our surroundings look nicer, but they also give us fresh air. Kids should learn to respect them. Don’t: Kick at the bushes, throw plastics on the shrubs, break off the tree branches, or pull at the leaves. A better idea? Plant a tree in your yard! Cultivate a garden! This could be a nice activity to do as a family.
  5. Care for the animals and other living things. Of course we care for our pets. That’s important. But there are other important living things—even the smallest of creatures–like bees, worms, spiders play a critical role in our environment. Bees pollinate flowers. And worms make our soil richer. Spiders can help farmers grow safer crops. All living things bring balance to our world. We need to teach children that just because insects and small creatures don’t take up much space, they still have significant and important jobs—and therefore we must take care of every part of our environment.
  6. Help other kids think Green. Spread the word. Spread the habit. If your kid’s school doesn’t have a green program yet, prompt your child to talk to the teacher about it. Make an activity out of cleaning the park with your kid and his/her friends.
  7. Be informed. Read websites with your child. There are a lot of kid-friendly sites that talk about Earth Day. Some of these sites provide games, crafts and activities for kids to do.
  8. Save water. Though water is continuously being cleaned through our natural water cycle, we use up our fresh water supply faster than the earth can recycle it. So, instead of simply consuming water, kids can help to conserve it.

· Take shorter showers. Leaving the shower 30 seconds earlier can make a big difference.

· Remind them not to leave the faucet on while they’re brushing their teeth or soaping up their hands.

· Check if their bathroom has a leaky faucet or toilet.

  • 9. Save electricity: Generating electricity creates pollution, uses a lot of water and oil, and causes the weather to change (and not in a good way!). So by saving electricity, kids can help save the earth.

· Turn off the lights when no one is in the room.

· Open the windows so it will be cooler, and they won’t need to turn on the air-conditioner.

· Turn off electrical appliances such as computers (don’t forget the monitors and speakers), television, radio and electric fan. In fact, it might be a good idea to unplug these appliances from the outlets when you’re leaving for a long time, because they consume some electricity even when they’re off and plugged in!

These are only a few things that your kids can do to help save our planet. Small steps? Yes. Easy to do? Certainly. But can children really make a difference?

Imagine this. If a thousand children believed that their contribution did not matter, a thousand gallons of water would be wasted every year just by leaving the water flowing while washing a thousand pairs of hands. If just a thousand children chose not recycle a plastic bottle each day, 10 years from now we would accumulate over 3,650,000 more plastic bottles in land fills. That’s an impressive number. However, it’s tiny and just a drop in the bucket. In fact, each day in the US more than 60 million plastic water bottles are thrown away.

Now let’s flip the coin. If a thousand children decide to start making a habit of being earth-friendly, thousands of parks could be cleaned. Thousands of reams of paper (and trees!) would be saved. Thousands of bottles, bags, and cans would stay out of the landfills. And, by spreading the habit, thousands will turn into millions! Yes, children can make a difference.

With family’s help, we can have Earth Day in May. We can celebrate Earth Day everyday.

Some more resources to help children learn about the environment:

Environmental Kids Club

Environmental Education for Kids

The Green Squad: Kids taking action for greener, healthier schools

Nature Challenge for Kids:

Greena, Planet Slayer: Animated teen that saves the earth

Natural Resources Defense Council: Lots of links to help kids save the planet

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One Response

  1. […] our responsibility to help our children learn how to be more environmentally responsible and consciences.  It’s always the perfect time to talk about environmental […]

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