I had the great fortune of having a childhood which included many experiences of being out in nature. We camped and cottaged as a family, allowing for hours of playing in the forest and the water front. Our imaginations went wild. Rocks would become chairs, and tree limbs were straddled and transformed by our imaginations into horses. I was mesmerized by watching ant hills, dissecting an old wasp nests, or studying the remains of an animal skeleton. We also spent time near the ocean and salt water ponds. Horseshoe crabs, unchanged for millions of years, were amazing! Watching seahorse and jellyfish move brought me a sense of awe. I loved it all. It shaped who I am today, the way I care about mother earth, and my sense of embeddedness in this world.
With this in mind, on April 22, I will be celebrating Earth Day!
Since 1970 this day has been dedicated to helping us remember our connection to mother nature, and our dependence and responsibility to keep this planet healthy. While your children will certainly be talking about this in school, it’s an even more powerful lesson if it’s reinforced at home. More and more our children are living inside, in urban centres, with less green space and opportunities to engage with nature the way I did as a child. Modernized living is creeping in and separating us from our important relation to the planet.
So, on Earth Day, I encourage families to take the day to think about how much they love and appreciate nature, and how to get out into it more. And, ultimately, I urge you all to think about what more you could be doing to be environmentally conscious.
Here are some great ways families can spend Earth Day:
1. Look into local activities and festivals being held in your area.
2. Get outside and play together in nature. Be sure to discuss how much you appreciate nature when you’re out there.
3. Pick up litter in your neighborhood together.
4. Write a list of environmentally friendly actions you will take this year: turn off taps when brushing teeth, turning off lights when leaving a room, unplugging things when not in use. Dropping the house temperature and wearing sweaters instead. Have one of your children research good ideas and share them back with the family.
5. Do a Pinterest search of interesting things to make using recycled objects and do a craft project with it.
6. Turn off the lights and play cards or a board game by candle light.
7. Discuss global warming in an age appropriate way, and how it is everyone’s job to help improve matters. Explain how every bit counts.
8. Visit the library and read an earth day themed book together. My favorite is The Lorax by Dr. Suess.
9. Spend time exploring Google earth and looking at various intriguing parts of the world.
10. Visit an aquarium or zoo (if you agree they are ethically run).