When you become a parent, you begin thinking a whole lot about what kind of world you want to leave for your children, their children and generations to come.
There is no denying that we are facing an environmental crisis on a global scale. We all need to take concrete, actionable steps to reduce our carbon footprints, slow the process of global warming and urge everyone we know to do the same.
Making these changes doesn’t have take a tremendous amount of effort. There are wonderful ways to get kids directly involved in the process, too. Goodness knows we parents are always looking for easy, low-budget, enjoyable activities to get our kids on their feet, outside, off their screens and involved.
Here are 10 easy, fun eco-friendly activities you can do with your kids:
Composting doesn’t have to be yet another chore relegated to the grown-ups. Get your kids to lend a hand. They can help you sort compost, haul it, water it, and then use it to plant all kinds of cool stuff. Kids love any opportunity to get down in the dirt.
2. Walk or Bike Places Instead of Drive
Making an effort to use your car less is actually easier than you might think. Short errands around the neighborhood can usually be done on foot or by bike. It’s a great way to get kids (and grown-ups!) moving too, which is a win for everyone.
3. Plant Your Own Herb Garden
Basil! Cilantro! Mint! There are so many herbs that are easy enough to plant, even if you don’t have a lot of space available. The bonus here is that your kids might even be more willing to try these “exotic” tastes if they’ve planted them themselves.
4. Consider Reducing Your Meat and Dairy Consumption
It is estimated that meat and dairy farms constitute 83% of farmland and produce 60% of CO2 emissions in the agricultural industry. You don’t need to cut out all meat and dairy to make a difference. Even small adjustments in your eating habits help.
5. Participate in a Park, Beach or Neighborhood Clean-Up
You can organize one yourself or locate one online. Clean-ups are great ways to get outside, give back to your community, connect with neighbors and teach your children that each of us have a responsibility to keep our planet clean.
6. Have a Lemonade Sale and Donate Your Proceeds to Environmental Causes
My kids love having lemonade stands. Each year we do one, we let the kids keep half the proceeds and donate the second half to charity. If your family wants to support environmental causes, organizations such as Greenpeace and the National Audubon Society are great places to start.
7. Eat Locally Whenever Possible
Not all of us can grow our own food, but we can choose to eat locally-grown food whenever possible. Not only is locally-grown food usually fresher and healthier, but it’s been estimated that 13% of CO2 emissions come from the production and transportation of food, so eating locally is a way to protect the earth.
8. Teach Your Family to Turn Off the Lights and Unplug Devices When Not in Use
Remembering to turn off the lights doesn’t only reduce your electric bill, but it conserves energy for all of us. And did you know that when you leave unused appliances plugged in, you are wasting power? Some devices only drain small amounts of energy, but larger appliances like TVs and computers drain quite a bit more.
A Family Dialogue
The fantastic thing is that taking these steps towards greener living also has the potential to open up dialogues with our kids about what is happening with our environment and why supporting sustainable causes is of such urgency. You’d be surprised how captivated and passionate kids can become about these issues, even at early ages.
So get to it. Each little step you take has the potential to make a huge difference. Your kids — and mother earth — will thank you for it.
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