Happy Earth-Day To You: Ways to Celebrate

Well, Earth Day is upon us.  Thursday, April 22nd is Earth Day.  I read that there was some discussion in our local papers about  Earth Hour (turn off everything for an hour) and whether or not it’s a good thing.  I suppose that we could ask the same questions about Earth Day.  Is it really worth it?  Does it actually make a difference to think about the Earth and change your habits for one day?  I think that the point is awareness and effort.  Yes!  It does make a difference.  The biggest difference it can make is that we try something new, we reflect on our actions and their global impact, we make an effort to make a change and, hey… maybe we even decide that it wasn’t so bad and maybe we could do it more often… and (while we’re at it) try to make other efforts, as well!   If we all just make one little change and push ourselves to make one more effort for our planet… the world will be a better place and the impact can be long-lasting.

I’ve got a list of ten little things that we can do to “go green” that I want to share with you.  Little differences can go a long way!

1) Two years ago, my husband and I bought ourselves a Worm Factory as an Earth-day gift to ourselves.  It’s a great biology lesson for the kids.  We love that the kids get the chance to get up-close and personal with our own creepy-crawlies that are composting our kitchen goods, right before our eyes!  Also, it creates an amazing soil that helps our plants to grow really well.  We tend to use that rich soil for our indoor plants, as it would take a lot longer to make a significant difference in our garden.

Worm composting has changed the way we think about our compost and makes the process more real and we feel more involved.  We care about how our worms are doing and want to make sure that they are getting good kitchen waste that they can use, quickly, to make into good compost.

The Worm Factory isn’t hard to set up and is really rewarding to see it working well.  Mel, from Kamloops-based All Things Organic, is always available to answer questions.  We keep our worm composter in our kitchen during the winter months and put it outside during the warmer months.  Go, little wormies, go!!

All Things Organic, has agreed to save you the tax, if you decide to buy a 3-tray Worm Factory, this Earth Day.  Simply use the coupon code “KamloopsParents” when you buy your Worm Factory and you will get the discount (when used between April 19th and April 26th). You can also contact him, by phone, at 1-877-372-1835 to order.  Mel is awesome and takes the time to helps me out whenever I have a question.

2) “Green” products.  Buying products that label themselves as “green” is actually harder than it sounds.  Especially when it comes to cleaning products.  I don’t know what all those ingredients are, do you???  In order to reduce the chemicals that I bring into my house, for the health of my children and for the health of the planet, I sort of stopped using cleaning products.  Gross?  Well, not really.  I still have some that can be found in my cupboards, but I started to use vinegar and baking soda in my cleaning.  Baking soda is a great de-odorizer for stinky garbage pails and your fridge.  Just stick a venting box in your fridge or freezer, or sprinkle some baking soda into the bottom of your garbage pail to battle those odours.  Also, you can boil a cup or two of vinegar on the stove to absorb any unpleasant odours that you have drifting around your house.  The vinegar absorbs the odours.  I even saw a little snippet on a TV show, once, that shared that stuffing newspaper into smelly jars (and leaving it for a day or so) that you want to re-use can take away the odours!  Cleaning walls and floors with vinegar in your wash water works as well.  Then, there are cleaning products that are environmentally friendly.  There are quite a few Norwex consultants in our area.  Check out the directory to see a few.

3) Investing in a small clothes-rack or an outdoor clothesline to dry your clothes and reduce the amount of energy used and waste produced by your dryer!  It’s also an easy way to get your kids to help you out with the laundry.  Sometimes, I will get my kids to help me hang up their items on the clothes rack.  Most of the time, I put shirts, pants, towels and sheets on my outside line and then keep the unders, socks and kids’ clothes on the little one.

4) Reducing new clothing purchases.  This is a big one.  New clothing items can really rack up a bill for you, as well as cause waste with old ones.  And, our kids go through clothing so quickly that I often feel like it’s a full-time job just keeping them in stuff that fits!  One great way to get used stuff is through a thrift store, hand-me-downs from someone or shopping at a consignment store.  Consignment stores are great because you can also sell your gently-used items and get money or credit for your sold items!

This week is Bag Sale Week at Lizzie Bits Baby Co.  Lizzie Bits is located at #7 -111 Oriole Rd (Valleyview, near Subway). It’s a great way to get a bunch of items that you need, as you can fill one of her bags with as much consignment clothing and shoes as you can fit… and it’s only $30!  Last month I got the greatest haul of shoes (5 pairs) for my two youngest kidlets, plus a bunch of socks, some pants for each of my little ones and two sweet costume pieces.  What a deal!

5) Reusable Bags.  These have become quite the trend, in the last year or so, haven’t they?  I love my re-usable bags and I use them all the time for whatever little carrying or containing jobs I have.  I found this cool tutorial online for how to make a bag out of an old t-shirt and I thought that I would love to give it a try.  Is there anyone else interested in getting together to make a few of these??  Just leave a comment and we’ll set up a time and place to get together and sew a few new shirt-bags.

6) Try Transit.  Why not plan a trip taking the bus.  Some day, when you want to go to the park… instead of packing up the car or the van, plan to take the bus!  The parks and playgrounds directory shows some parks that are on the bus route!!  So, try that out.  Also, if you are enjoying the parks that Kamloops has to offer, please take a picture and then send me a summary of the playground so that we can make other parents aware of the great playgrounds in our community.

7) Trash Bash… anytime and anywhere!  If you are out for a stroll, think about maybe packing a glove and/or a little garbage bag to snag any little scraps that you see.  Imagine how clean our community would be if we just picked up the little bits that are left lying around?!  I encourage my kids to take pride in cleaning up their community and they pick up garbage whenever they see it… now the trick will be to teach my 2-year-old not to run out into the road, just because she sees some garbage!

8 ) Cut back on Kleenex.  Buy or make a handkerchief.  Did your grandparents use handkerchiefs?  Mine did.  In fact, my Dad did… and still does.  I’ve created a few hankies out of some linen that I bought, but why not even just cut up an old shirt to use as a hankie and keep in your pocket, diaper bag, backpack or purse?  I mean… kids wipe their noses on their sleeves all the time, it’s gotta be a soft fabric, right?

9) Create wildlife habitat.  Why not plant a tree in your yard or somewhere special.  If you are on other property you would need to get permission but planting a tree is a great way to invest in the future and to put some more Oxygen into the environment, as well as add shade and create habitat for all kinds of creatures.  Another way to create wildlife habitat is to build a bird house or to safely preserve a tree (that is rotting) by limbing it and keeping it from causing damage while creating place for wildlife to nest.  Ducks Unlimited shares the instructions on how to build a wood duck nesting box or also a bat box and there are other bird house plans here.

10) EarthRun.  Participate in Kamloops’ First EarthRun on Saturday, April 24th.  For more information, check out the linked site.  Get out, enjoy the Earth… and promise to look after it.

The bottom line is to try and learn a little bit about the little things you can do for our planet and work to set an example for your children!  After all… it will be their home for years to come!

Happy Earth-Day, everyone!  Don’t be afraid to give the planet a present.

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Don’t forget to check out my niece’s review of YogaKids and enter for your chance to win one of three free drop-in sessions for your little one!!  You have until 10pm on April 22nd to enter.