So, you’re committed to setting a positive example for your kids. Good for you! One way you can show your kids the right way to live is to become more eco-friendly. Maybe you’ve already made a start; now is the time to boost your planet protecting skills and go even greener.
Earth Day is Every Day
Earth Day brought national, and planetary, attention to the problems of pollution. The globally celebrated holiday known as Earth Day happens every year in springtime. Inspired in part by the anti war demonstrations of the 1960s, Earth Day was devised by Senator Gaylord Nelson after he saw firsthand the devastating ecological effects of a Santa Barbara oil spill. The first Earth Day occurred on April 22 and involved “teach-ins” held on college and university campuses from coast to coast, explains The History Channel.
It may be hard to believe, but prior to 1970, American factories were free to spew smoke and gases or dump toxic waste into rivers without regulation. Seriously. Before the Environmental Protection Agency was put into place, there was no Clean Water Act or Clean Air Act. Those two enactments alone are responsible for a mighty clean-up of North American skies and waterways.
Teach your kids about Earth Day. Search the internet and show them images of Los Angeles and New York City in the mid-1960s. Pollution has been cleaned up a lot since then, but the work’s not over. Treat your neighborhood as if every day is Earth Day. If you see litter, pick it up and place it in the nearest trash receptacle. Pledge allegiance to the planet and think up ways you can make it an even nicer place to live.
The Three Rs
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Follow these three Rs, and you’ll go a long way along the path toward a perfect planet. Reduce the amount of stuff you buy and throw away, and lessen the load on Mother Nature. When it comes to waste management, nothing beats reducing. Invest in a couple dozen pretty linen napkins, and stop buying throw-away paper napkins forever, recommends Debt Safe magazine.
Reuse as many things as you can. Learn to do minor car and household repairs. Make a game of how many times you can reuse a paper coffee cup. Better yet, send it to the recycler and invest a few bucks in a thermos bottle and reusable coffee mug that fits in your car cup holder. Using items, again and again, protects the environment and saves money, too.
When you can’t reuse or repair something that you’re done with, recycle it. All sorts of things can be recycled, including paper, aluminum, glass, and plastics.
Cleaners Safe Enough to Eat
Did you know that some basic pantry items can be used as effective, planet friendly cleaners? Take white vinegar, for instance. Dilute half-and-half with water to create a mildly acidic solution for cleaning countertops, lightly soiled stovetops, and sink backsplashes. Use full strength white vinegar to make quick work of soap scum in bathrooms and laundry rooms.
Baking soda is another great DIY cleanser that does double duty as a drain freshener. Mildly abrasive baking soda can be applied directly to a wet sink or shower stall and sponged away to leave a super cleaning, sparkling surface. To tackle tough stains on porcelain, make a paste with baking soda and water, apply with a damp cloth, and allow to sit for half an hour before scrubbing away and wiping dry.
Make everyday cleanups fun when you use eco-friendly cleansers and natural cleaning products with fabulous fragrances such as lemon-mint, clary sage, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and grapefruit. Look for products packed in recyclable or biodegradable containers. Even better, purchase cleansers that come in refillable containers.
Be a Planet Protector
Fix leaky faucets without delay. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Shut off the TV when you’re not actively enjoying something worth watching. On weeknights, take quick showers in lieu of filling a bathtub. Use grey-water to refresh your house plants.
Plant a garden. Browse seed catalogs with the kids, and let them choose their favorite veggies as well as a few new ones they may not have tried. Teach your children how to grow tomatoes in pots on the porch, or go all-out and put together a big backyard garden, if you have the room to do so.
Raising kids is a delightful challenge. It’s up to parents to school the next generation of eco-warriors and planet protectors.
Jack Gould is proud to call himself a house husband. He writes about family life and how to raise eco-conscious, friendly, well-rounded kids in today’s fast paced and slightly crazy world!