Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970, and we are now embarking on its 41st celebration. Founded by US Senator Gaylord Nelson, its original coordinator Denis Hayes took it international in 1990. In 2009, the United Nations deemed April 22 International Mother Earth Day.

There are plenty of events happening throughout the area so you can make sure your kids get outside! Check out Mommy Poppins, Kids in the City and the National Park Service for suggestions. But it's just as important to encourage good citizenship all year long! Here are some ways to help children become responsible global citizens throughout the year.

Get started on some reading! For the younger sets, famous works like The Lorax by Dr. Seuss and the Caldecott medal winning Owl Moon by Jane Yolen portray themes of preservation and sustainability. For your burgeoning young adult reader, Gary Paulsen's Hatchet or Jean Craighead George's My Side of the Mountain have become modern classics about kids who learn an appreciation for the environment by living off of the land.

Cold or rainy weather doesn't mean you have to skip connecting with the outdoors. The New York Hall of Science, Liberty Science Center (who doesn't love the Touch Tunnel?) and of course, Museum of Natural History are all easy to get lost in for an afternoon while you learn more about what makes the world go 'round.

Encourage them to take lunch to school or work in a reusable bag. Check out PlanetBox for their fun designs which eliminate the need for plastic bags and aluminum foil! For your teens who want to still look cool, has giraffe-printed lunch bags that disguise as a purse.

Sometimes a movie is an easy way to put in a "lesson" while you can still enjoy a film. Academy Award winner Avatar packs a powerful environmental punch with all of the explosions a boy could want, while Wall-E is perfect for your youngsters who would prefer less explosions and a sweet robot.

Getting snail mail isn't always that exciting. Tell your kids that junk mail equals 100 million trees chopped down each year. Then, let them help you remove your name from catalogs and mailing lists to reduce your footprint. Helpful websites are: and After all, isn't this why we have the Internet?

And there is always the smaller things that make a big difference! Color on two sides of the paper. Turn out the lights. Don't let the water run while you brush your teeth. Teaching these lessons while the kids are young will instill values that hopefully stay with them for their whole lives.

Finally, we had to end with Jack Johnson's "Three R's" song. Check it on the Curious George soundtrack or watch below! Everybody should be able to learn about the Earth while singing in a garden.

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