by Bette G. Rinehart
As Earth Day approaches, we have another opportunity to encourage our kids to treat Mother Nature kindly.
In 1970, Earth Day was created to bring the issue of toxic waste into the public view. That same year, the Environmental Protection Agency was formed. While government regulations help care for the earth, your family can get involved, too.
Imagine all 6.5 billion plus people taking small steps to help the earth and making a big difference together. Here's how they can do it. Learn to enjoy and respect Mother Nature with basic tasks like recycling, conserving water and electricity, and learning to be kind and respectful to animals and plants.
Everything has its purpose and most things can be re-purposed. Our cavemen ancestors specialized in making the most of their resources and so can you!
Reuse: Have you chewed all the meat off that bone? How about carving it into a needle? While that might be a bit extreme, you can reuse many things around the house if you keep your eyes and mind open to opportunities. Which stuff does your family reuse? Have you considered reusing one of these items?
Walk or ride your bikes. Your friendly caveman relied on his feet. Once the wheel was invented, I bet he pushed or pulled a cart. Our wheel has progressed a bit, so hop on your bike or hoof it and help reduce pollution. Always remember to wear a helmet!
Recycle: While your typical caveman community might not have had a recycling program, if it did the caveman family would've been involved. You can be, too. Go one step further and encourage your neighbors to separate their recyclables into bags and to have them ready for pickup on a particular day.
Save water: Make it quick and fun. Turn off the water and blow soap bubbles and scrub. Once you're finished playing, turn it back on and rinse off. You can do the same when you brush your teeth. Use enough to get it going, and turn the water back on when you're ready to rinse.
Save power: If it gets warm when you're using it, turn it off when you're done. Lights, computers, the TV and radio all use a lot of power even when you're not using them. If you'll be gone long, turn them off and unplug the appliances to save money and energy.
Explore the earth. Pack a picnic and take a walk. Did you find cool bugs? Baby trees? New plants and flowers? Now that you're acquainted, you can get inspired. Have your children create a drawing or memento from the occasion.
Green it up. Plant a garden or a tree. If the weather in your area is too cold for outdoor gardening, start some seeds and transplant later.
Adopt an area. Make a corner of the world your responsibility. Tidy it up today and come back often to keep it clean and green. You can officially adopt a road, street or park through your local government agencies.
Respect and protect. Your action can be as easy as not throwing garbage in the street. If you see someone else's trash, stop, pick it up and throw it in the garbage can. Mother Earth will be happy and breathe a sigh of relief.
Be kind and gentle. Are you awed by the wild flowers and would like to take a bouquet home? Teach your child to take only a few and to carefully break off the stems, not pull up the plants. Better yet, take a picture and allow these plants to all spread seeds for everyone to enjoy next year.