Yesterday, April 22, was Earth Day, but “naturally” there’s no reason why every day can’t be an earth day! Here are some things you and your family can do on a regular basis to be a good steward of our natural resources and to teach your children the importance of such behavior.
Conservation – Even young children can begin to learn the importance of conserving our natural resources, such as electricity, water and natural gas. Encourage every family member to get in the habit of turning off lights when they leave a room, and unplugging devices that aren’t being used. For older children (and adults!) have conversations about more active steps to conserve water and electricity, such as turning off water at various points in showering and teeth brushing, filling dishwashers, washing machines and dryers to full capacity before use, and even turning off ovens a few minutes before the recipe calls for, to get full use of the electricity or gas it’s taken to cook the food.
Recycling – Another habit-forming activity for family members of all ages is separating glass, plastic and paper from trash. At an appropriate age, take some time to teach your kids why we recycle, what happens to the materials, how they can be reused, and why that’s important. Consider encouraging recycling of other items as well, including clothing and toys, so that children can appreciate the benefit of getting the full use out of things around us.
Get Back To Nature – Composting is another method of recycling that can help reduce the amount of garbage that winds up wasted in landfills. With a little work and organization, composting can be a meaningful family habit that can be donated to community compositing stations, or used in a family garden. Speaking of which, planting a garden, or even a tree can be a great family experience that yields crops and the added benefits of responsibility, comradery and accomplishment.