News about the future of the world, our environment, and our climate is everywhere these days. On TV, at school and online, the talk about the way our world is going is pretty much constant for our kids.
Not good talk. Scary talk.
How much longer can our earth withstand the rate at which we consume? What will happen to sea levels if the climate keeps rising? How many animals will become extinct? How can we fix the pollution in our air?
The good news is that there are a lot of noisy wheels making great steps towards a greener future. We saw England stop using coal for a week. We saw masses of school children go on strike for climate change. We’ve seen Adidas release an entirely recyclable running shoe. We’ve seen a massive influx in solar and wind power, and copious new businesses emerge, focused on renewable energies and recyclable products.
But what can ‘regular’ people like us do?
To mark World Environment Day, Aussie eco-warrior Dirtgirl shared five simple things every family can do to help the cause.
Dirtgirl’s top changes:
1. Plant a seed (and help it grow)
When’s the best time to plant a tree? 20 years ago. When’s the second best time to plant a tree? Now!
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Plants provide our world with oxygen for the air, food for humans, shelter for animals – and we need to make sure that we always have plenty of them! Planting a tree or plant is a great way to show the world you care, and the older a plant gets, the more oxygen, food and shelter it can provide!
2. Compost your food scraps and green waste
If you have a garden, setting up a compost system is a great way to cut down the amount you put in the bin, while also helping create new soil to help your garden.
Even if you don’t have a garden, a lot of towns and regions have community compost systems in place where you can bring your scraps. Try looking up what is near you online, and remember that a little effort goes a long way.
3. Green transport
The fact of the matter is that cars and planes (especially planes) are not great for our planet. They require a lot of fuel to run, energy to upkeep, and they emit harmful gases into our atmosphere which pollutes the air we breathe.
While it is probably impossible for many families to give up a car entirely, trying to opt for ‘greener’ transport options when possible does make a difference. Walking, catching public transport like buses and trains, or riding bikes are all much more sustainable modes of transportation.
If you are driving a car, try carpooling! And next time you’re buying a new (or used) vehicle, try to opt for a more fuel efficient option – or even an electric car.
4. Say “no thank you” to single-use plastics
There are a lot of plastics that we use once then throw away, and a lot of these have more sustainable alternatives. Straws, plastic bags, Glad Wrap, single-packed snacks – all of these are used once and then work their way into the bin, and then often into landfill or our ocean.
Wherever possible, choose reusable products:
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5. Go outside and get grubby!
As Dirtgirl says, “Having fun in nature reminds us just why we love this world so much.”
The more we actively get out there and appreciate the nature around us, the more we’ll want to protect it!
Some other ideas
A good thing to remember is that there’s no such thing as ‘away’ when we put something in the rubbish bin. It all ends up somewhere – and it’s better that it gets recycled, composted or broken down rather than ending up in landfill.
If you want even more ways to help the environment, here are five other things you can consider doing:
- Eat less meat
- Switch to a renewable energy provider
- Use less water
- Use less paper
- Get more things second hand
Remember, every little bit counts.
Happy World Environment Day!
Want to inspire your kids to get grubby and love nature? Tune into Kinderling’s Dirtgirl Nature Detective Academy podcast, and listen to Dirtgirl talking about World Environment Day here: