Earth Day 2012: Tips to help your family go green this year

Earth Day 2012: A handy list of tips and tricks to help your family go green this year, from gardening to recycling.

Courtesy of Raingardens.org
With Earth Day right around the corner, check out our tips and tricks to help your family go green this year. One idea is to build a rain garden, like this one created by Raingardens.org with the city of Grand Rapids, Mich., and the homeowner, that helps solve a storm-drain problem without expensive roadwork.

Earth Day inspires and brings out different feelings, emotions and actions in each of us. We wanted to share with you some of our favorite Climate Mamas and Papas suggestions for Earth Day “to dos.” You may want to adopt some of these ideas and put them on your list of favorite family activities – for Earth Day or any day. All us Climate Mamas and Papas know that every day is and should be Earth Day!

  1. Get your “glee on” out in Nature – Get outside, sing a song, do a dance, have a picnic, BBQ, go camping, walk on the beach or take a hike. Whatever gets you there, gather your family and spend some time outdoors. Talk to you kids, introduce them to nature better yet, let them introduce nature to you! Remind yourself and the kids in your life of the treasures nature has given us, and why we need to fight so very hard to protect them.
  2. Memory Lane Walk Down the Red Carpet “Favorite Earth Day Movies”– Watch, enjoy, lose yourself in the moment and learn something too. Movies for everyone: The Lorax, Chimpanzee, Avatar, Planet Earth, Wall-E and March of the Penguins. Documentary movies for older kids and adults: Queen of the Sun-What are the Bees Telling Us? Tapped, Gasland, Bag It, An Inconvenient Truth, Revenge of the Electric Car, Moby Duck – Learn something important., and have fun at the same time.
  3. Spring Cleaning and Letting the Sun Shine In – Open the windows wide and get the kids to help you clean them. You’d be surprised to see what a difference a little water and vinegar, or even just a crumbled piece of newspaper can do to “shine up” and “clean up” your windows! Pack up winter clothes, in particular those that don’t fit anymore and give them to a local charity. Got other items you don’t need but someone else might use, consider selling them on Green eBay or giving them away at Craigslist, or Free Cycle! Get your kids to help you change the air filters in your air conditioner (maximum energy efficiency). Also, make sure there are no leaky faucets in or outside your house. Change your light bulbs to energy efficient CFLs or LEDs, and consider putting your outside lights on timers. Saving energy not only reduces power plant pollution but it can also save you money too.
  4. Get “Down and Dirty” – plant a tree, or better yet plan a garden with the kids in your life. Vegetable, herb, or flower – the garden can be as big or small as you have room for…Herbs grow great on window sills, and corn, pumpkins and beans are fun and easy to cultivate and very cool to watch grow! Plant some milkweed and help the Monarchs find their way to Mexico. Have you heard of a rain garden? This is a “trending topic” all on it’s own and a great way to plan for and mitigate storm water run off that some of us are having to get used to as heavy rain events are becoming a more frequent occurrence of our changing climate. Consider getting a rain barrel too!
  5. Stand up to Climate Change – Show your kids you care about their future. Climate Impact Day is May 5, 2012. Protest, educate, document and volunteer along with thousands of people around the world to support the communities on the front lines of the climate crisis. Grab the kids in you life, right now and sign up and commit to a family “Act of Green,” show your kids that they are one of a billion people ready, willing and able to make the commitment to a “greener” world! Find out what and who are caring for the Earth in your own community. Check out your town’s website, and attend an Earth Day Fair or event near you, get involved! If you live in the NYC metro area, check out our Featured Partner, Earth Day New York. 

And finally, encourage others to make every day earth day….

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best family and parenting bloggers out there. Our contributing and guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor, and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. Harriet Shugarman blogs at ClimateMama.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.