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Thursday, April 15, 2010

10 Ways Kids Can Go Green for Earth Day

I did one of my informal polls of the neighborhood kids. I asked them for ideas on kids how kids can go green for Earth Day. I got some interesting answers.

“You should get solar panels!”

Um, no. I’ll stick to my solar garden lights. Solar panels aren’t a good year round return on investment in central Ohio.

“You should get a hybrid car!”

Why is it that all of these suggestions are things I can do that would benefit a kid living in my house?

“Recycle!”

Well that’s a little closer to what I was looking for but recycling still depends upon an adult setting up or overseeing the program at home.

“Those are good ideas,” I said, “But what can YOU do as a kid, without a grown up’s help, do to go green?”

Silence

Blank stare

*Blink*

After a little prodding, we started brainstorming. We came up with a list of green things kids can do to go green for Earth Day without a grownup’s help.

  1. Clean your plate - It takes a lot of energy to grow and cook food. Eating all you take reduces waste. Don’t worry about leaving stuff behind to feed your home compost bin, I’m sure Mom or Dad will have more than enough food scraps from peeling and preparing vegetables for dinner to take care of that. 
  2. Turn the water off while brushing your teeth - Not wasting water is really important, especially if you live in an area that has a drought. By the way, forgoing brushing your teeth or bathing is not a good way to save water – don’t even think about it. 
  3. Turn off the lights when you leave a room – It takes a lot of energy to make electricity. Turning off the lights when you leave the room saves electricity and helps lower your parents’ electric bills. Don’t believe me? Turning off the lights to unused rooms helped me lower my electric use by 32%.
  4. Take care of your toys, clothes, and belongings – When you throwing a broken toy away it go right into the landfill. That’s not cool. If you take care of your toys, clothes, and other belongings you can give them to kids who don’t have any and nothing is thrown away.
  5. Take off your shoes when you enter the house – Shoes protect your feet from stepping in yucky stuff. If you take off your shoes at the door of your house, you’re not tracking that yucky stuff all over the house. Your parents may be able to vacuum less often and trust me, for that your parents will thank you. 
  6. Dress for the weather. Shorts in the summer, sweaters during the winter. That way mom and dad can set the thermostat a few degrees lower in winter and higher during the summer and save energy. 
  7. Use a cloth napkin at dinner and lunch. Instead of using disposable paper napkins try asking your parents to switch to cloth napkins for dinner or ask them to put a cloth napkin in your lunch box. Don’t have any? Try winning a set of Fabkins children’s cloth napkins
  8. Bring home your reusable containers, lunch box, water bottle home from school or activities – There’s a reason your parents harp on you to bring your lunchbox, water bottle, and stuff home from school each day - so you can reuse them! Step it up, take responsibility and keep track of your stuff. 
  9. Unplug the video game console after you save and shut down your game – See that little that stays on the video game console after you’ve closed the game and turned off the machine? That little light means the box is sucking a little bit of electricity from the socket just to light that little light. We call that vampire power and it’s wasteful. By unplugging my Wii when I’m done playing was another way we reduced our electricity use by 32%.
  10. Join The Great TV Rebellion -  Sign the pledge to turn off your television and turn on nature during Earth Week.
 What do you think kids can do to go green?