Every April 22, Earth Day marks a day when we are reminded of just how much we owe to Mother Nature and how we should celebrate and take care of the planet we call home. Nature’s gifts are the billions of species that contribute to an inhabitable, enjoyable Earth, but unfortunately, humans’ effects on the planet have caused much destruction, pollution and loss of species. Earth Day is about remembering to hold ourselves accountable as humans so we can preserve all the beauty nature has to offer for future generations. For families, this is a perfect opportunity to both teach your kids about the importance of the environment as well as the effects we have on the planet as humans, and to spend some quality time together as a family, making lifelong memories. Consider making Earth Day activities a tradition every year - there’s a higher chance your kids will then take these traditions and pass them on to their kids! If you’re looking for activities and ways to get involved in Earth Day 2019 for your whole family, read on:
Find a Beach Clean-up in Your Area
The oceans make up 71% of the Earth’s surface and they contain 97% of the Earth’s water. It is a vital part of life for every species on Earth, but yet human waste has taken a huge toll on the ocean. From oil spills, to plastic waste and much more, there is much cleanup to be done. Plastic kills so many species, from sea turtles who mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, to whales, dolphins, fish and every other species - and unfortunately, there are projections expecting the plastic problem to reach a fever pitch, with the amount of plastic surpassing the number of fish in the sea. Find a local cleanup event happening in your area and hit the beach or the local bodies of water. Get your family all dressed up in Daddy-son matching outfits, mommy and me matching outfits, or a unified family tee-shirt and get your cleanup on! For families with a little competitive spirit, making little games out of the event, like doing a bingo-style check off list of items found on the beach (for example “plastic bag from a local store” “shampoo bottle” “gum wrapper”) for a prize to whichever family member finds all items on the list first; or a prize to whoever fills up the most bags wins!
Join a Plant-A-Tree Event in Your Area
Deforestation is another huge problem humans have created, affecting the Earth in a massively negative way. It is estimated that 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation and about 50% of the world’s tropical forests have been cleared. The Earth continues to lose about 18.7 million acres of forests per year which is equal to 27 soccer fields each minute, according to the World Wildlife Fund. This is all to feed human goods and needs, from farming to real estate development, from timber production to palm oil production and much more. Each Earth Day and Arbor Day, it’s not hard to find a Plant A Tree Event in any area- find one and get your family to join in! You can all go rocking a matching family outfit to make it a team effort. These events are great to teach your kids about the positive actions they can take to contribute to helping the Earth bounce back from all this tree loss and they can learn about the what plants need to grow.
Join a National Park or Citywide Cleanup
Oceans aren’t the only places humans like to dump their trash - litter can be found everywhere from parks to streets and other public spaces. Go online and see if there will be any organized trash cleanups in the area. Seeing how much litter can be found throughout the community can help teach your kids not to litter and the importance of disposing of their trash appropriately.
Ways to Integrate Earth Day at Home
You don’t necessarily need to join a big group event. There are plenty of Earth Day activities you can begin instilling at home. Here are some at-home Earth Day activity ideas:
- Start a Compost Pile
- Plant a Tree, Flower or Herb Garden
- Do Laundry Together - Talk about water conservation
- Find out what your carbon foorprint is with EarthDay.org’s Foorprint Calculator: http://www.earthday.org/footprint-calculator
- Watch some Planet Earth or Blue Planet or Disney Earth Day movies, then hold a family meeting about all the ways your family can cut back on waste production, water use and more.