Q: How are renewable power plants… like people who enjoy going to the beach?
A: They all like sun, wind and water (From Energy Kids)
Earth Day is here again and today I decided to reflect on how to raise kids who care about the planet. Since kids are our future this is important. But while you’re at it, there’s no reason you both can’t have fun!
10 Ways to Raise Kids Who Care About the Planet
- Enjoy outdoor activities. Hiking is probably the ultimate. Parks and State Fair are great. But sometimes a smaller commitment works better. So build a snowman in winter, photograph backyard wildlife, or just sit on the patio and have a margarita, err…, lemonade.
- Eat local–in a fun way. Join a CSA, visit a farm, go to a farmer’s market or start a garden (even a patio garden). Discuss crazy tales like one blogger‘s local Pacific Northwest crab being sent to China, extracted from the shell, then shipped back again for a 8000 mile round trip. Laugh, then carve a local pumpkin.
- Wild harvest some food. In the past few years we’ve put lawn violets into jelly & salad, thimbleberries into cake, ramps and morels into compound butter (wild ramp pizza this year?) and more. Nothing like eating wild food to appreciate keeping the planet clean!
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. In that order. We use washable kitchen rags (aka a couple old nightgowns) instead of paper towels. Filtered tap water instead of plastic water bottles. Put your kids in charge of bin patrol–mine helped to successfully compost & recycle the party waste from 40+ guests.
- Visit a nature-focused attraction. A zoo, state park or aquarium will put you quickly in touch with nature. And as a bonus, they often do a little environmental consciousness raising.
- Take on an energy “project”. Check a kill-a-watt energy audit device and discover household “vampires.” Do “short shower” competitions (especially in water scarce areas). Sleep under down quilts in winter and dress for the weather to reduce heating and cooling needs.
- Drive a hybrid or energy efficient vehicle. Cheer when your mileage exceeds 40 (or other target) mpg!
- Ride bikes. This brings together outdoor fun AND clean energy. Plus, it’s good for your health, not to mention your pocketbook. And if you’re a working mom, an older child may be able to bike to the summer library program or swim club. Need I say more?
- Plant a tree. Have you heard that planting 20 trees/year can make you carbon neutral? 20 may be a stretch, but every tree helps! (See 10 Reasons to Plant a Tree)! Just a tip, put a wire cage around young trees to protect them from wildlife and marauding lawnmowers (ask me how I know)! Your kids will be excited when the Arbor Day stick they bring home grows taller than they are!
- Enroll in a “green” class. When my oldest was five, a magical “catch-and-release firefly class”, taught that fireflies are not as prevalent anymore due to lawn pesticides. High School AP Environmental Science inspired another daughter to begin studying civil engineering with the goal of designing clean water systems.
As you can see, green activities are not just good for the planet. Raise Kids Who Care About the Planet and you may also save money, improve your health and HAVE FUN.
Happy Earth Day!