As enjoyable as traditional holidays are to spend with the family, it’s the lesser celebrated occasions that have the potential to truly make an impact. Among them is Earth Day, the annual observation that calls on all of us to recognize the environment’s impact on the world at large. The mission of the day is simple: to call attention to change-making steps that may benefit the planet. Nothing you do is too big or too small, and every little bit makes a difference.
With that in mind, you might want to set an intention to celebrate Earth Day with your family this year. Consider ways in which you can all do your part together to better the planet. Use the opportunity to teach your children about why the steps you take are important and how they can benefit the environment. With these ideas in mind, throw on your favorite comfy sweats and celebrate the holiday at home.
You hear about the importance of sustainability all the time. If you’re trying your best to reduce your carbon footprint, you can easily make some headway in the kitchen. Recipes suitable for preparation on Earth Day are all made with sustainable ingredients. What qualifies as sustainable, exactly? It depends on a few factors, including the availability and abundance of the ingredient in nature, what types of resources are required for its production, and whether any pollutants are produced as a result of that generation. Then there are other important, often overlooked areas to consider, like the transport of the idea to its destination and the work put into harvesting it.
Naturally, plant-based items are abundant in nature and often have straightforward harvesting processes. And many commercially available brands make a point of running their businesses as ethically as possible, using everything from energy-efficient equipment to recycled paper in their production facilities. So once you’ve identified and gathered your sustainable ingredients, set to work preparing a healthy and environmentally friendly meal as a family. Make this a fun event for everyone involved! Buy some fun aprons to throw on over those comfy clothes to prevent stains—that’s especially important for the kiddos, who might not be as savvy in the kitchen.
Planting trees is a common Earth Day practice. While it’s a wonderful step to take, it’s helpful to understand exactly why people plant trees in the first place. The obvious advantage of planting a tree in your yard is that the entire family can commit to raising and nurturing it as it grows. This is such a simple way to teach the kids about the basics of gardening! At the same time, it’s also a chance to inform them about the many ways in which trees actually benefit the planet.
Among the key ways trees promote a healthier environment is by filtering out pollutants in the air. They also produce oxygen and contribute to improved air quality. Moreover, they help balance levels of water present in the soil. An area that’s often overlooked is their impact on your energy consumption in the home. Ever bundle up in a flannel robe at home and still wish it were warmer inside on those brisk winter days? It could be that your HVAC system is working overtime and struggling to meet your desired temperature. That could be partially because the home isn’t properly shaded by trees, which creates a barrier that minimizes the impact of excessive sunlight in the summer and ice and snow in the winter. When the system doesn’t have to work as hard to warm or cool your home, you’ll save a considerable amount on your annual energy bills.
This is also a great opportunity to revisit the importance of recycling. Remember that this simple and effective habit begins at home! When children understand just how big of a difference it can make, they’re far more likely to continue the habit later in life—and outside of the home at this young age, too. By collecting materials that might otherwise end up in a landfill, you’re doing your collective part to give them a second chance at a useful life. There’s so much that you can recycle, from plastic bottles to aluminum cans to paper goods.
To make it more enjoyable and to really instill in everyone how important it is to both recycle and sort items properly, use Earth Day as a chance to design some colorful recycling bins. Slip into something comfy, like a tunic top and a pair of shorts, so you can focus without worrying about fabric getting in the way! Then use plastic bins to create dedicated recycling spots for different materials. Let the kids have fun decorating them to make it even more enjoyable.
With so many fun ways to celebrate Earth Day at home with the family, why miss the opportunity to turn the holiday into a teachable moment for everyone involved? It all begins with renewing your commitment to the planet.