11 things kids can do to help save the earth
11 things kids can do to help save the earth
You have probably heard the expression that says “children are our future”. This is very true and their involvement in protecting our earth is critical. Children have the power to make huge contributions to the health of their bodies and to our environment. They need education and support from the adults in their lives in order to protect our world. There are a multitude of things that kids can do to save the earth. Here are just a few of them:
Recycle- Kids can help to recycle at home and at school. If adults make it clear what needs to be recycled, kids will catch on quickly. One day my family was out hiking on one of our favorite trails. Our oldest son was just 2 ½ at the time. We found a plastic water bottle that someone had left on the ground. We decided to pick it up and remove it from the forest. When we returned to our car there was a garbage can nearby. My husband went to throw the bottle in the garbage can, but our son became very upset. He insisted that the bottle be recycled, and not thrown in the garbage. At his request, we brought the bottle home with us and recycled it.
Compost- About 1/3 of the items in our landfills are materials that could have been composted. This includes things like fruit and vegetable peels, and tea bags. When these items decompose underground without access to oxygen, they create methane gas, which is one of the greenhouse gases. Composting is a great way to cut down on some of the greenhouse gases we are creating and kids can help! You can create a compost are in your yard and even inside your home. Put your kids in charge of taking things like banana peels and apple cores to the compost. This will teach them about composting because they will get a firsthand look at how composting works. If they grow up knowing how and why to compost, they will be more likely to continue to compost in their adult years.
Learn about native species in their area- Many Americans can identify the logos of hundreds of different corporations. Yet, the majority of us cannot identify even five plants that are native to the area in which we live. Understanding what the term “native species” means, along with being able to identify plants and animals that grow naturally in your area is a great way for kids to help protect our earth. By learning which plants and animals belong where, kids can begin to learn about solutions to some of the big issues faced by nature.
Learn about invasive species- The term “invasive species” refers to plants or animals that have been brought to an area where they do not belong. Invasive species can wreak havoc on the environment. For example, a plant called “English Ivy”, which is native to Europe, has been brought to the American Pacific Northwest and is causing major destruction to the environment there. English ivy growths up the trunks of trees, essentially choking them, which causes them to die. In addition to this, English ivy is taking over all of the ground cover plants, which is causing habitat and food to disappear for native animals. Check to see which invasive species are causing problems in your area. Once kids (and adults) know more about invasive species, they can begin to learn about and enact solutions to help save their local plants and animals.
Explore the library- We all love books, CDs, magazines, and DVDs. Rather than purchasing these items look for them at your local library. Kids who are old enough to sign their name can get their own library card. Borrowing items from the library is a great way to cut down on the use of natural resources. Plus, kids can have fun at the library. They have access to so many items which are free for their use.
Shop at garage sales- Kids love to get new stuff. Most American families have so many kids toys, books, and games that they have to buy storage equipment in order to keep it out of the way. Think of all of these items eventually ending up in a landfill and it is easy to imagine how big our landfills will become. Kids can help to keep our landfills from growing by purchasing gently used toys rather than buying everything brand new. Garage sales are fun places for kids to shop because they can usually get more toys for their money than they can at a toy store.
Start a conversation- One of the best ways to get others involved in our quest to save the earth is for kids to spread the word about what they are doing to protect the environment. Kids can ask their teachers questions about the environment. If they want to know about how to protect the earth, other kids will want to know too. By getting teachers involved, kids can reach their entire class.
Turn off the lights- In the United States we have about 5% of the world’s population and yet, we use over 25% of the world’s energy. A great way for kids to help to conserve energy is to turn off the lights every time they leave a room. Kids can be appointed as light captains, making it their responsibility to check to see that lights around the house are turned off. Even small children can be a part of turning off the lights.
Conserve water- Currently, Americans are using three times as much water as the world’s average. Kids can help to cut down on your family’s water use. An easy way to do this is to make sure they turn off the water when brushing their teeth. This can save several gallons of water per person per day. This water savings can really add up in the long run.
Grow a garden- Growing your own food and native plants is a great way to help the environment. There is no greener way to get your food than to grow it using organic methods. While younger kids cannot plant a garden completely on their own, they can help to water and weed the garden. Kids love to see things grow and eat food straight from the plant. Starting a garden, even if it is a small container garden, is a great way to help connect children to their food and the earth.
Visit a zoo- Visiting a zoo is a great way to learn about the earth. At a zoo, kids can learn about how many of the animals are in danger of becoming extinct or who are already extinct. Zoos have countless educational resources so that kids and their families can learn more about what they can do to help save animals from extinction.
Getting your children involved in caring for the earth is a great way to ensure that they will continue to be environmentally responsible for their entire lives. It is very important to remember that we did not inherit the world from our ancestors; we are merely borrowing it from our children and their children. We must do all we can to make sure that future generations have a safe and clean world to live in.
Written by: Angela Coate-Hermes
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