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Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, according to a recent NHAPS survey. This may be bad news for our health (since a lack of outdoor time is linked to sedentarism), but it is also bad news for our beautiful earth. Trees, plants and animals are inspiration for everything from artistic arts and crafts to novels and music. They also help keep us mentally healthy, lowering stress hormones so we can tackle the challenges of everyday life with vitality. Spending time away from nature is harmful for another reason, though; it leads to a devaluation of all it can do for us and makes us less inclined to fight for its integrity. How can parents and kids pool together as a family to help save the Earth from pollution, global warming, and other dangers?
Spending More Time Outside
As mentioned above, when kids do not build a relationship with nature, it makes issues like global warming seem distant; there is no personal and heartfelt reason to fight for our Planet. As noted by nature author, Richard Louv, when he was a child, “The woods were my Ritalin. Nature calmed me, focused me, and yet excited my senses.” You don’t need to head to a far-off natural paradise or take a long camping trip to build this connection. Think of heading to a nearby park or forest, and don’t visit on rare occasions. Try to take study and play time outside as often as you can to foster your child’s natural sense of wonder.
Saving Water in the Home
Nationwide in America, the amount of water lost each year is estimated to top two trillion gallons. It is important to educate kids on the incredibly valuable resource that is water, leading by example by taking timed showers, turning off the tap while washing hands or dishes, re-using pasta cooking liquid. To save on the amount of wasted H2O, make sure there are no leaks in your home, upgrade appliances and equipment (opting for environmentally, water saving dishwashers and washing machines), and store rainwater for later use. The key is to make water saving a priority, so that kids realize what a luxury this resource is.
Parents Take the Lead
Some decisions involve a budget, and that means that parents in the household will be the main movers and shakers in this department. For instance, updating light bulbs to LED, opting for solar energy, or setting up vertical gardens at home may involve expense, so this may take clever accounting and budgeting on your part. Once you have decided to make a change, however, let your children join you in tasks such as planting veggies and herbs. Any energy saving activity that is safe and fun for kids should include them if possible.
Recycling and Upcycling
Inform kids about the effect that waste can have on our planet’s depleted resources. Recycle everything from clothing to water, and try to avoid buying plastic and other materials that are difficult to recycle. Upcycle materials too, sewing creative clothing using scrap and spare material and decorations, and making everything from toys to Christmas ornaments with old items.
We have mentioned just a few ways that families can work together for a better Planet. From small efforts such as using thermoses instead of plastic water bottles to timing showers, adults and kids alike can do their share. If everyone did the same, imagine how much our world could benefit.
Written by guest author Cassie Steele