Posted 10 August 2011, by Penny Eifrig, Centre Daily Times, centredaily.com
Even though the big “Earth month” of April has passed, every day is a day to celebrate and protect Mother Earth. As we think about summertime activities, there are many ways for us to care for the Earth as we enjoy the warm August weather.
While adults make a major environmental impact with their actions, kids can take many important little steps in their daily lives. In a recent book by Kenda Swartz Pepper, “Well Earth Well Me!” she provides 15 tips for kids to keep their bodies and environments healthy.
Kids can become “Earth ambassadors” by encouraging their friends and families to step up and speak out to make a positive change. Planting a garden at home — even on your window sill — is a wonderful way to watch nature work its wonders and provide healthy and inexpensive vegetables for your family.
There is still time to plant some cold weather vegetables to harvest this fall. If you have space for a compost pile, you can even have the worms create earth for your next garden patch (One quarter of the U.S. solid waste is leaves, grass and food scraps that cannot decompose properly in a landfill).
When you are off to the park or a sports event, take along a reusable water bottle. Not only is your faucet water just as good for you as bottled water (and better for you if your plastic bottles are getting heated up in the car or chilled in the fridge, which releases toxins), but the environmental impact of water in plastic bottles is immense.
America uses more than 29 billion water bottles every year, which are made from crude oil: 17 million barrels of oil go into water bottles alone in the U.S. (enough to fuel a million cars for a year), of which less than a third get recycled. And guess how much water goes into the process of make one-half liter of bottled water? Twice as much? No, about 30 gallons of water are used to fill one bottle of water. And bottled water costs up to 10,000 times as much as tap water.
Another easy step to reduce our oil consumption is as easy as turning off the ignition when parents are waiting to pick up or drop off their kids. They will appreciate not breathing in the exhaust, and with the windows down and the engines off, you can enjoy the summer sounds and breeze as you wait.
Another simple step for kids is to power down: Turn off the lights as you leave a room, turn off your electronics and go out for some summer play. And while you are out getting exercise, bring along some yummy fruits and veggies to snack on; a colorful array of food ensures a variety of essential vitamins to your diet, which will keep you energized for a summer of fun.
Penny Eifrig operates Eifrig Publishing, publisher of “Well Earth Well Me!” This weekly column is a collaboration of Centre County Communities that Care serving Bald Eagle, Bellefonte, Penns Valley and Philipsburg-Osceola area school districts, and Care Partnership: Centre Region Communities that Care serving the State College Area School District.