April 7, 2011

April is Earth Month!

So, I'm giving you all advanced notice of Earth Day this month, April 22nd. However, the whole month is Earth Month. Ever since 2005 I've been wanting to do something special for Earth Day--just for the fun of it.

So this year I'm going to start my annual Earth Day Celebration. Each year I'll throw a bash to celebrate Earth Day. It may sound silly to you, but when else do we have a chance to stop and think about the Earth and choices we're making in daily life, and what their effects are?

There will be games and prizes and information about how we live better, more sustainably, etc. And yes, healthy food to snack on...and maybe even some demonstrations. I hope to eventually add some fundraisers or awareness things/pledges that we can do collectively to help in regards to Earth Day topics, but I'm still working out the details....so stay tuned.

Here are some quick facts:
www.planetpals.com (this is a cute site for kids...check out the planet pal characters link on the left)
  • Each person throws away approximately four pounds of garbage every day.
  • 84 percent of all household waste can be recycled.
  • 14 billion pounds of trash is dumped into the ocean every year
  • Here is an example of how long it takes some things take to break down:
      plastics take 500 years, 
      aluminum cans take 500 years, 
      organic materials, take 6 months, 
      cotton, rags, paper take 6 months.
  • In 1995 over 200 of the world landfills were full.
  • Most families throw away about 88 pounds of plastic every year 
  • The energy we save when we recycle one glass bottle is enough to light a traditional light bulb for four hours
  • Recycled paper requires 64% less energy than making paper from virgin wood pulp, and can save many trees. Every ton of paper that is recycled saves 17 trees 
  • It takes 90% less energy to recycle aluminum cans than to make new ones
  • We each use about 12,000 gallons of water every year
  • Here is an example of the water we use everyday:
      3-7 gallons for toilet, 
      25-30 gallons for tub, 
      50-70 gallons for a 10 minute shower, 
      1 washing machine load uses 25-40 gallons,  (non-energy efficient)
      1 dishwasher load uses 9-12 gallons
  • The 500 million automobiles on earth burn an average of 2 gallons of fuel a day--Each gallon of fuel releases 20 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air.
  • Approximately 5 million tons of oil produced in the world each year ends up in the ocean.
  • Computers pose an environmental threat because much of the material that makes them up is hazardous. A typical monitor contains 4-5 pounds of lead.
  • Each year billions of used batteries are thrown away in the United States. This constitutes 88% of the mercury and 54% of the cadmium deposited into our landfills
  • One gallon of motor oil can contaminate up to 2 million gallons of water. so dispose of properly!

YOU can do something simple. Here are some ideas...
1. Pledge to do at least one small thing this year:
- use reusable grocery bags
- use non-toxic cleaning products
- use a reusable waterbottle (PBA free)
- change all your old light bulbs for energy efficient ones
- reduce the amount of water, gas, energy you use (buy energy efficient appliances)
- cut down your amount of trash by recycling more (elementary schools typically have newspaper bins)
- buy bulk more or from bins, so there's less package waste (or reusing containers)
- start composting in your backyard
- cloth diaper
- buy local, organic produce and other items
- start a vegetable and/or herb garden
- bike more often and reduce your fuel emissions 

2. Contact your local Elementary School and local grocer
Coordinate getting brown bags for students to decorate for earth day and then return to the local grocer to use for bagging so customers can see and get the fun Earth Day drawn bags.

3. Pick up Trash Day
Pick up trash with your family or friends around your community

4. Go for a hike
Be outdoors and talk about how beautiful nature is. Try a new area you haven't been to before or go to a museum or library to find out more about your area's native plants and animals.

5. Family nature art event
Invite each family member to draw, color, build something with stuff laying around the house (reusing) etc. something resourceful or something about nature or their home and surrounding community. (Good Family Home Evening activity)

6. For a fun activity, go to www.greenyourhome.recyclebank.com and get clues on how to green your home room by room! It's awesome!

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