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Archive for the ‘Earth Day’ tag

April 18th, 2012 at 7:12 am

Happy Earth Day!

April 22, 2012 marks the 42 observance of Earth Day, originally founded as a protest movement in 1970 by Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. 20 million Americans participated in that first Earth Day.

Today, concerns about the environment continue to grow and young mothers are key players in the new Green Economy, interested in sustainability, as well as organic and green products.

As moms we worry about our children’s future and taking care of their home planet. It can be overwhelming trying to raise green families. Luckily, technology is stepping in and maybe this list of green apps will help (it even includes a kids’ app based on the new movie version of The Lorax).

Our biggest responsibility, however, is to teach our kids to become protectors of the Earth. Earth Day is a great place to start, and I always start with books. The watchwords for all budding ecologists are reduce, reuse, and recycle. Here are a couple of my favorite picture books on these Earth-Day friendly topics:

The Smash-Smash Truck by Aidan Potts is all about recycling, and the author has a really fun webpage about it, complete with coloring pages and smashing sound effects.

The Dumpster Diver by Janet S. Wong takes reusing to the extreme, but kids love it and it’s bound to spark a lot of creativity.

And speaking of creative ideas, Earth Day is a great time to start a homemade craft box. Most kids love crafting and there are plenty of materials around the house ready for artful repurposing. Find and decorate a big shoebox (I recommend one for each child). Then go on a family treasure hunt to fill it with crafty items like:

  • broken crayons
  • buttons, zippers, and ribbons from old clothes
  • fabric and paper scraps
  • old greeting cards (lots of great images to cut out and reuse)
  • empty toilet paper rolls
  • lids from bottles and jars
  • stray game pieces
  • paper clips, rubber bands, odd bits of string

There’s no end to the goodies you can find, and this project will keep going and growing long after Earth Day. Then, on the next rainy day, a quick Internet search will lead you to tons of recycled craft project ideas.

Since I’m the resident animal blogger, I can’t resist the opportunity to talk about the world’s foremost recycler: worms. Vermicomposting is a cool way to lower your family’s carbon footprint by composting non-fatty kitchen scraps. You can make or purchase pre-made worm bins (complete with worms); it’s a great family project. If you’re not quite ready to jump into full-fledged vermicomposting, try this simple “worm castle” project to let your kids see how worms do their work.

And for a little background music, listen to Tom Chapin’s “Happy Earth Day” from his This Pretty Planet CD.

Image Credit: Blue Marble, NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring

Susan Bearman also writes at Two Kinds of PeopleMike&Ollie: 24-weekers Who Beat the Odds and The Animal Store Blogas well as being a regular contributor to The Chicago Moms and Technorati.

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March 30th, 2011 at 1:00 am

Party for the Planet

Every year, I think we should plan something to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, but we never do. Maybe it’s just me, but since it’s modern incarnation began in 1970, Earth Day  has seemed less of a celebration than a doomsday proclamation, and guilt has never been much of a motivator for me. It just makes me feel, well, guilty.

But this year, with the specter of radiation haunting us in the wake of the disasters in Japan, I’ve been moved to really celebrate this holiday. The ultimate power of Mother Earth over the destiny of our fragile human race has motivated me to stand up and take notice — maybe even pay a little respect.

The good news is that after more than four decades of Earth Days, there are lots of ways, big and small that we can make a difference. My favorite is called Party for the Planet™, where more than 100 zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) sponsor Earth Day celebrations, some with just a single event, and others with an entire month of activities. No guilt, just a big party for our true Home (capital H).

Check out your favorite zoo’s website for a calendar of activities, or bookmark the AZA site for a growing list of participants. For those traveling over spring break in April, keep in mind that many zoos offer reciprocity with free or reduced admissions for zoo members. Here’s a list of zoos that participate in the AZA Reciprocity Program.

For those not near enough to a local zoo to participate in Party for the Planet, the Earth Day Network offers lots of other suggestions. This year’s theme is A Billion Acts of Green®. The United Nations has proclaimed 2011 as the International Year of the Forest. Kids aged 6-14 are invited to Paint Life in a Forest, in a contest to win $2,000 and a United Nation’s sponsored trip to Indonesia for the UNEP-Tunza International Children’s Conference (deadline April 15).

Or plan your own Party for the Planet. Here’s a list of great Earth Day read alouds from my friend, fellow writer and “readiologist” Esme Raji Codell. Or create a simple Earth Day craft. Or maybe just sing along with Tom Chapin’s Happy Earth Day.

This year, let’s all celebrate Earth Day. No guilt. Just Party for the Planet.

Susan Bearman also writes at Two Kinds of People, Mike&Ollie: 24-weekers Who Beat the Odds and The Animal Store Blog, as well as being a regular contributor to The Chicago Moms and Technorati.

 

 

 

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