Bethany Sanders: Today we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, a day created to inspire and bring awareness about our environment. Green living and parenting have at least one thing in common: With both, we invest time, love and hard work today to ensure a happy and healthy tomorrow.
Kids today are more aware than ever about the needs of our planet -- but there's always more work to be done. Here are five ways to inspire your kids this Earth Day.
Earth Day: Get Your Kids Involved!
Find an Earth Day Event!
Attend a rally, help clean up a park, or plant a tree -- there are activities happening in communities across the country over the next few weeks.Find events at the Earth Day Network or check your local paper.Can't find anything? Then head to your favorite park with a big garbage bag or plant a new tree in your own backyard.
Teach Your Kids About Food
Teach kids where food really comes from (not from the supermarket).Visit a local farm or a farmer's market, or better yet, plant your own veggies this year.Use the Internet to map your favorite food's route from seed to dinner plate.Feeling brave?Put your kids to work on a worm bin for composting your kitchen table scraps.
Create New Family Habits Together
Vow to turn off the water when brushing your teeth.Install a low-flow shower head and set a 10-minute time limit on showers. Invest in reusable shopping bags and water bottles.Dust off your recycling bin and designate recycling as a family chore.Map out a one-mile radius from your home and declare it a car-free zone.
Help your kids draft a letter supporting environmental causes and sign online petitions together.A legislator once told me that any contact is good contact -- phone calls work, too -- but a handwritten letter is most effective.Pool your change and donate to a local environmental group or, better yet, join it.At GreatSunflower.org, kids can help track bees in their backyard to aid research on natural pollinators.
Read Books Together
My favorites include:"The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss, "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein, and "The Empty Lot" by Dale H. Fife and Jim Arnosky.And since every book you read was once a tree, there's EcoLibris.net, where you can plant trees in honor of the books you read.
How will you celebrate Earth Day with your kids?