Earth Day is kind of a big deal over here, considering this a nature based blog and all, so I figured it deserved its very own blog post. There are zillions of ways that you can make a impact on our environment and IT’S NOT HARD!! I am going to go in to detail about a few of them in hopes that a few more people will change their ways for the better.
1) Recycling. We’ve all heard the word, we know the symbol, we see the cans, but for some reason only 35% of families and 10% of businesses recycle. Those numbers make me smad (sad+mad=smad) because it is SO easy to do. In our house, our recycling can fills up faster than the trash can! I would encourage you to set that same goal for your family. I even make it a point to recycle things such as batteries, CFL light bulbs, plastic bags, aerosol cans, electronics and clothing. Click the link above to learn more about recycling and change your habits!
2) Composting. Along the same lines as recycling, we can also “recycle” our food scraps and yard waste to keep them out of a landfill. You can build a composting bin, or buy one for your back yard. And if you don’t have a back yard? There are even programs in cities that provide compost bins for you!
3) Use a rain barrel. Again, you can build or buy a rain barrel to collect the water from your downspouts to use to water your plants or wash your car.
4) Plant native plants. This one is near and dear to my heart since I am a plant scientist. Delaware Nature Society describes the benefits of using native plants in our landscapes best: “Native plants are inherently beautiful, require little to no excess watering, resist pests without the use of pesticides, and provide high quality food for birds, insects, and other local wildlife.” When planning your landscape design, consider using plants native to your area rather than plants that have little to no ecological benefits.
|Photo Courtesy of Mt. Cuba Center|
5) Pick up trash. As early as I can remember, my mom would always take a bag with her when we would go somewhere and pick up trash along the way. As a kid, I did not recognize the significance of this simple act, but as an adult and self proclaimed naturalist I am in awe of her love for nature and her actions that back it. If every body picked up a few pieces of trash here and there, this world would be a much cleaner place! I’m sure none of my readers are “litterbugs” but it is of the utmost importance that we teach our children to never litter which leads me to my next point…
|A bird nest made with trash|
6) Teach your kids to respect nature. This is so, SO important parents!!! Even when nature is a spider or a snake. They serve a purpose, respect them! Don’t litter, don’t kill creatures out of fear, don’t abuse wildlife by chasing and scaring animals. Even as a toddler my son understood that finding a piece of trash on the ground was a sad thing and that someone else made a bad choice. You can use someone else’s mistakes as a teachable moment for your child. Take a bag (and some gloves) with you on your next walk outside and make a game out of how many pieces of trash you can find, and make sure you recycle what you can.
7) Volunteer. There are many, many organizations dedicated to the preservation and care of our natural areas and the flora and fauna that call them home. Teach your kids to give back by involving them in a volunteer activity on a regular basis. Make it fun! In our area alone there are beach grass planting activities, stream clean ups, horseshoe crab counting evenings, event staff opportunities and lots more fun ways to give back. Volunteering teaches your children that this world is much bigger than them.
8) Reduce your energy usage. Turn off lights when not in use, adjust your thermostat, buy energy efficient appliances, use insulating blinds… the list goes on and on. Not only will making these adjustments in and around your home use less pollution-causing energy, it will save you money!!!
Although we celebrate Earth Day once a year, every day should be Earth Day!
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