Why Earth Day Should Matter To Parents by: Allison Becker

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Earth Day. It rolls around every April and yet we never seem to be entirely certain why. Some schools might take April 22 to learn fun facts about the environment or even plant a tree. But Earth Day is much more than that, and it’s important for parents to take note.

April 22 was declared Earth Day in 1970 by a Wisconsin senator. Since then, it has served as an annual reminder of the importance of being environmentally conscious. As more research is done into climate change, environmentally-caused illness, and natural disasters, people are tuning in more and more to the way we treat our Earth. And no one should be tuning in more than those who are raising the next generation.

Teaching kids about living a sustainable lifestyle and building a world that supports that sustainable lifestyle are more important now than ever before. There are two basic elements of eco-consciousness: work on the personal level and work on the communal/governmental level.

Work on the personal level is the classic eco-friendly stuff. Recycle your glass, cans, and plastic — learn with your children about what plastics are recyclable and what aren’t. Send kids to school with reusable water bottles and lunch sacks instead of disposable ones. While scrubbing your hands and singing “Row Row Row Your Boat” twice to make sure you and the kids wash long enough, turn off the water and conserve.

These are all very important, and they’re great, simple habits to get children into. Work on the community and government level, on the other hand, is usually more in-depth, but it is equally, if not more, important. To keep ourselves and the earth healthy, community and government attention are a must.

Educate yourself on local environmental policies. If you find that they’re lacking, start petitions or join groups working to improve them! Even encouraging small things like more garbage and recycling cans on the street can make a big difference. Consider things like the availability of fresh-grown produce in your area. If you live near any type of waste management site, look into local health data and see if there seems to be a correlation between the area and illness (there usually is), and find out what can be done to make improvements.

Making your voice heard and teaching children to use their voices on issues like this is crucial. Earth Day is a great place to start. When it was declared over fifty years ago, the politicians and activists were thinking about those of us who would be alive today. Now, when we think of the world fifty, sixty, eighty years in the future, we know it will be for today’s children. Make Earth Day and environmental consciousness matter, and ensure that our children have a safe place to live for many years to come.