Observing Earth Day as a Family

Earth Day (April 22) marks more than 50 years of organized global attention to the environment. It officially falls on a Monday this year, which means families might want to make it a three-day event this time around. EarthDay.org encourages participants to enjoy the outdoors, learn more about climate change, and participate in a global environmental clean-up. You can plan to do all three activities on the official day or focus on one at a time over multiple days.

Enjoy the outdoors. You don’t have to be an outdoorsy kind of family to help children appreciate the earth and all that it has to offer. Just sitting on a park bench, taking a short walk through a green space, or visiting a plant nursery can remind kids of the beauty of growing things. Even looking out the window at falling rain or a breeze blowing helps children notice the earth’s need for water and the power of the wind. If your family does enjoy being outdoors, plan a family hike through a state forest, visit a local pond, or check out a nearby botanical garden. Go fishing (catch-and-release or to eat). Plant a container or in-ground garden together. Play a game of soccer or flag football on a grassy field. The point is to have a good time in concert with the earth.

Learn about climate change. Climate anxiety is a growing mental health concern for children and adults alike. Take time to explore climate issues and ways your family can help address them. Knowledge is a powerful antidote to free floating anxiety, even when the information is tough to hear. Learning about global warming helps children identify little changes they can make to resist the trend. Deciding to avoid disposable plastic water bottles may seem like a minor action, but it affirms children’s agency in the climate change battle. Exploring the ecological interconnectedness of plants, animals, and humans (like fruit trees, birds, and apple-loving kids or oak trees, acorns, squirrels, and lumber for houses) underscores how changes by one member of the system can positively affect the other members.

Participate in environmental clean-up. Litter and other forms of trash are a major problem for the environment. Animals eat things that are harmful or find themselves trapped in plastic rings or discarded fishing lines. Native plants struggle to flourish amid invasive species taking over local green spaces. Hummingbirds fall ill from the red dyes in some glucose feeders. Join a community clean-up event or create your own plan to address an issue together. Pick an area near you and clear it of litter. Decorate a community trash can to encourage others to use it. Pull out kudzu vines in your yard. Build a ‘used fishing line’ box and post it near a popular fishing site. Swap out red hummingbird feed with the clear liquid version. Collect recyclables from your home (and perhaps your neighborhood) and turn them in to a recycling center.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *