Special days on our calendars help us to teach our kids about the bigger world around them. April is full of these special calendar days, and since Earth Day is celebrated on April 22, April is considered to be “Earth Month”. This is the perfect time of year to watch Extraordinary Earth on My Signing Time. In this episode our treeschoolers explore what makes the earth so special and how we can be stewards of our planet. It’s great to celebrate Earth Day and Earth Month. But beyond these celebrations, we can help our kids know how to take care of their world anytime and all the time. The Extraordinary Earth episode and support learning materials can help you talk through the life long habits of conservation and stewardship. As you sing along with Rachel and the Treeschoolers, Earth Takes Care of Me, we hope you will make a plan to explore everyday ways you can take care of Earth. Let’s teach our kids to live out Earth Day every day.
How it began
During the decades leading up to the 1960’s, U.S. automobile usage and factory production were growing. They were seen as major advancements and progress, so the air pollution that came with them was accepted as part of the deal. At this point, no one understood the dangers or environmental implications of all this pollution. Then, in 1962, Rachel Carson published her book Silent Spring. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world learned about the link between both environmental health, public health, and pollution.
In the years that followed, there were increasing legislative discussions and public awareness initiatives regarding air and water pollution. Finally, the first official Earth Day was held in 1970, and the support for Earth Day was overwhelming. It came from both political parties, all economic levels, both urban and rural residents, and both business and labor leaders. It even led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passing of several environmental laws.
Then, Earth Day became a global event in 1990, with 141 countries participating. After that, environmental issues became a global concern leading to the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit.
Taking care of our environment has become a standard everyday issue for us today. Recycling is a habit for many of us, even a requirement in some areas. We find it strange if we see smoke billowing from a factory pipe. We get upset if we see litter. Plus, there are fines for littering in most places. We are definitely more aware of environmental issues, and we do a lot more to take care of our world now. So many of us do live out Earth Day every day!
So how can we continue to teach our kids to take care of our world? Well, let’s think beyond Earth Day or Earth Month. Let’s work on everyday habits that will teach them to do their part.
Show them how to live out Earth Day every day
Our song “Everyday Hero”, reminds us that the choices we make every day have a big impact. Here are some simple things we can each do. Try to tackle one or two new habits at a time, and when they become part of your life, take on one or two more.
- Work on how you deal with trash
- Reduce your own waste by using less plastic. Find ways to reuse things and throw fewer things away.
- Don’t litter, and clean up litter when you see it.
- Recycle: find out some recycling basics here at Recycle Across America. Also, it’s important to check with your local waste management policies to find out what your community recycles.
- Consider what products you bring into your home
- Look for responsibly produced items when you purchase toys, clothing, and household items.
- Consider using fewer harsh chemicals in your cleaning and home maintenance activities (like painting and yard treatments).
- Look at your energy usage
- Pay attention to lights and electronics that do not need to be on in your home.
- Program your thermostat to heat and cool more efficiently.
- Reduce fuel emissions by carpooling, walking, or using public transportation. Plan out your errands so that you make fewer trips.
- Watch your water usage
Little by little
Most of these are small changes, and they can be accomplished one or two at time. Try telling your kids the story of Earth Day and how it started, and tell them how we have learned so much more about taking care of our world. Let them pick one or two things to work on, or let each person in your family choose one item, and put them in the order you will tackle them. Have your kids take responsibility and ownership of these changes, and find a way to make it fun.
If our kids build these habits now, they will carry them through their lives. What a difference this could make for our world!
My Signing Time can help!
Check out What If Everybody Did It?, our free Earth Day video from Rachel & the TreeSchoolers! It’s such a fun way to help kids visualize the issue, inspire them to make their own changes, and live out Earth Day every day!