I’m just going to say it: I kill plants.
Unintentionally, of course, but I’ll admit, my dad’s green thumb was NOT passed down to me. So it’s no surprise that about 4 years ago, there was a pot full of soil sitting out on my back deck, the sad remnants of where a beautiful plant used to... ahem... barely survive. I had neglected it terribly and the empty pot was a constant reminder of how I was unable to provide the appropriate care and attention required for horticulture.
Then one fine day, I saw a tiny green bud poking out of the barren soil. The next day, I saw another bud and a stem sprouting up. By day three, there were three little green plants growing in the pot. A couple of helicopter seedlings from our large Maple tree had found their way to their new home. There was soil and some rainy days that allowed these little seeds to sprout!
I was pregnant with my first child at the time and saw this as a miraculous sign of the life also growing within me. I was convinced that this was our “Family Tree” and when the little plant continued to thrive… my belief was confirmed. So, once our little girl was born and the baby tree was large enough to survive in the ground - we planted it, as a brand new family, on Earth Day.
Having a family tree planted in our backyard has provided the opportunity to talk with our daughter about our environment and how to take care of it. It melts my heart to see her innocent tenderness toward our family tree as they grow together! This Earth Day, why not teach your children how they can enjoy and nurture mother nature?
Here are 5 fun ways to celebrate Earth Day with your family!
- Plant (and/or tend to) a garden - Get your garden gloves on and your watering can out! Planting a garden can be a neat experience for any age. Younger kids can help water the garden or create colorful plant markers using craft supplies. Older kids can help plant seeds and pull weeds. When the fruits and veggies are ripe, everyone can pick them together! Working together to establish a garden can open up a bigger conversation about responsibility (for specific gardening tasks and for the environment as a whole).
- Take a hike (or just a walk) - It seems like a no-brainer, but being out in nature is a sure-fire way to appreciate the beauty of our planet! Whether it's a walk around your neighborhood, a local park or a more scenic mountain trek, your family can enjoy the scenery, as well as each others’ company!
- Make the switch to reusable water bottles - If you haven’t already ditched the plastic, now’s the time to grab a glass or BPA-free plastic water bottle to refill and reuse daily! A simple change like this can have a huge impact, not only on the environment but also your wallet: On average, Americans spend about $5 a week on bottled water which means you could save $260 per person, per year, by switching to a reusable water bottle. (For a family of four, that’s $1,040 in savings!)
- Eat plant-based meals for the day - Eating your fruits and veggies is not just good for your health; it’s good for Earth’s health, too. Even if it’s only for one day of the week (hello #meatlessmonday), skipping the meat and animal byproducts can significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, conserve water (it takes 2,400 gallons of water to product a single pound of meat!), and free up our land and resources (30% of Earth’s land mass is used to raise animals to eat.) Despite the fear of the unknown, cooking a meal without meat or dairy is extremely easy! There are so many recipes out there that even the pickiest of eaters will still enjoy, we promise!
- Make some resolutions - Just like New Year’s Eve, this holiday is the perfect time to set some goals for the rest of the year. Write a list of practical ways your family can conserve, recycle and reuse every day! Post your list somewhere prominent (like your refrigerator) as a reminder to keep the momentum going! Every change, whether big or small, will make an impact.
Spending some extra special time with your family, no matter what you’re celebrating, doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive or extravagant. The memories you make are priceless and will last a lifetime! Happy Earth Day!
By Tamara Slocum