I frequently get asked about how I teach my kids about our carbon footprint. Here are some things I’ve done this year to remind them how important the Earth and it’s natural resources are.
– We took a trip to the local landfill. And I explained that items as simple as a plastic grocery bag can take anywhere from 500 to 1000 years to decompose. (If you’ve never been to the landfill I recommend going – it will remind you why recycling is so important.)
– We planted a vegetable garden. Kids love to play in the dirt (well at least my 3 boys do.) They love being able to walk outside pick a tomato and eat it fresh from the vine. Because we’ve grown it – I know there are no toxic pesticides to worry about.
– We turn off the power for a few hours in the evenings ( we do this a couple times throughout the year). And by turning off the power, I mean we cut the power off at the circuit breaker.. not just turning off the lights. Everything goes off. I don’t think on a daily basis we realize how much power gets used until everything is off. (Yes they could cheat and use an iPad, Nintendo DS, or other battery charged items – but we don’t let them). Instead we light lots of candles, play hide and seek in the dark, or other family games … and as a bonus we make smores over the fire pit.
We hope today that those of you with kids will celebrate the Earth and teach them ways to help improve their carbon footprint. Whether it’s just signing a song ” This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land, from California to New York Island, from the Redwood Forest to …. ” might as well sing it out loud now, you know the words ;), to watching an Earth Video, to going outside and being thankful for the beauty around you.
We know we have quite a few ERTH- friendly readers: share your Earth Day photos with us
Below are other ways to reduce your carbon footprint:
1. Replace the light bulbs in your home with long life CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs. These last up to 15 times longer than regular bulbs and use up 80% less electricity than regular bulbs.
2. Use rechargeable batteries to reduce your carbon footprint by up to 1,000 pounds over the life of the batteries.
3. Buy locally produced goods and services. Goods and services that are produced locally eliminate thousands of pounds of carbon by reducing fossil fuel transportation demands.
5. When buying your next vehicle, opt for an electric, hybrid or fuel-efficient car
6. Make compost. (This is on my list of things to try this year)
7. Filter your own water, rather than buying bottled water. Most tap water is safe to drink, and some bottled waters are flown in from the far corners of the earth and the production process of the bottles adds to greenhouse gas release. (See our previous article on bottled water)
8. Clean the lint filter in your dryer. This will reduce your energy used, saving the environment and your electric bill.
9. When you mow the lawn, leave the clippings spread across the grass. It decomposes and fertilizes the ground.
10. Use an electric mower they are more efficient than gas mowers