Forty years ago today the first Earth Day occurred. It was spurred by the idea that each and every person residing on this planet deserved the opportunity to live in an environment that was healthy and natural. Over the years this cause has grown and its urgency has been expressed again and again. Yet as in all causes if the seed is not continuously planted eventually the crop will fade and it will not flourish as it once did.
This is why it is so important that we as parents, grandparents, teachers, etc continue to show the children of the world the need and importance of tending to Mother Earth. From books to participation in community activities, to be an example ourselves the opportunities are endless.
There is no easier way to introduce a young child to Earth Day than through a book. "I Can Save the Earth" by Alison Inches is the story of how one little monster learns how to not only recycle but also reduce and reuse. This is one of many books put out by "Little Green Books". Other books include "The Adventures of Aluminum Can", "Don't Throw That Away", and "The Adventures of A Plastic Bottle". All have a wonderful message of the importance of being green.
One of my favorite ways to teach my grandkids about the wonders of the earth is via gardening. Whether it is the planting of a flower or a harvest of the garden it has always been a wonderful way to show them the gifts that Mother Nature can bestow to them. I love the concept of the community garden. Where a community comes together and develops and tends a garden for them all to use. Not only does this idea help them to become self sufficient, it also brings them together and form a sense of community. What a wonderful lesson to teach your children. The American Community Garden Association is a wonderful place to start.
Living by example likewise is a wonderful manner to teach those around us. Recycling is a wonderful start. The Recyclo-Pedia is a great place to start with tips on how to recycle just about anything you could think of: Papers, Plastics, Electronics, Metal, Glass, etc.
Another method of recycling is a compost pile. It has always amazed me how taking yard and kitchen waste could eventually create such beautiful dirt. I can not believe more people do not do it, especially if they are gardeners. The soil created by a compost pile is far more rich than any one would ever buy. Tips for building your own compost pile can be found on Earth 911.
If your children are small and still not yet old enough to grasp the concepts of recycling or composting, there are still things that you can do. Years back (I'm sure some of you can remember) the convience of the disposable diaper was only a dream. The Cloth diaper ruled. Of course when the first dispoable was introduced mothers everywhere ran to it as it was such a wonderful change. The cloth diaper became a thing of the past. Today we realize the folly of our ways.
The average newborn will be changed aproximately 70-80 times each week. That equals 280-320 diapers a month. 80% of people today use disposable diapers. That is roughly 18 billion diapers making 82000 tons of plastic and 1.3 million tons of wood pulp (250,000 trees) each year. Although some brands have worked to help the disposable be more biodegradable, most diapers take literally hundreds of years to degrade. Added to this is the fact that neatly tucked into each "package" is its own little "present".
Many mothers today are relooking at the cloth diaper. Go Diapers offers the convience of both ways. Their reusable cloth insert as well as a 100% biodegradable disposaable insert allows one to go either way. With the cost of disposable diapers these days I would think that alone would make one rethink.
Each year on April 22 we acknowledge and celebrate this concept. It is a day when the entire manners in which we can “be green” are expressed. Yet Earth Day should be every day. We should be conscious of the changes that need to be made on a daily basis. We should stand up and speak for such needs whenever the opportunity arises.