Friday, April 18, 2008

Earth Day Everyday

On top of the entrance of the zoo today was a huge earth. Mr. Intensity asked about it so I launched into an explanation of Earth Day. We talked about how it was a holiday - April 22 - yet we try to observe it every day. This post includes ways I'm trying to teach him to take care of our planet.

Recycle The zoo does this well. Most trash cans have blue recycle containers next to them. At home, because we live in a townhouse complex we don't have a recycling service. However, we do have a recycling container on our patio. Some dear friends let us empty our container in theirs when ours in full. The city of Phoenix provides huge curb garbage sized containers for residents.

Make food from scratch. By using raw foods, there are less containers to recycle or throw away.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs We don't use these in every lamp but we use several - esp. the ones that burn all night outside. Of the four bulbs in the kitchen, we use 2 fluorescent since they are cooler in the summer.

Use a clothesline. Growing up on a farm we hardly ever used a dryer. Mostly because our dryer wasn't vented and all that humid air came back into the house. But also because my mom is the ultimate in penny pinchers. I read somewhere that it costs about $0.50/load in electricity for a full dryer. This sometimes motivates me to use the line; probably 1/3 of my laundry line dries.

Use the dishwasher. Believe it or not, it is more efficient using the dishwasher than washing by hand. The appliance uses less hot water and probably sanitizes things much better than me.

In our preschool class at the Botanical Garden, we've learned a lot about composting. The zoo even has a compost pile in which the kids can play. Growing up, my mom had a hole that she threw vegetable scraps into. It's just outside the kitchen door, over the railing of the porch. That soil is rich and dark 30 years later. In this townhouse we don't have a compost pile now but when we move to Arkansas, you better believe we'll have one. They are really fun to dig in.

Minimize toxic chemicals that you use/smell/pour down the drain. Recently I've discovered the amazing uses of tea tree oil and use it as an all purpose cleaner. I use about 10 drops to 1 c water in a spray bottle to clean my counter and stove tops. It smells wonderful. A *not so wonderful smelling* cleaner is the money saving combo of vinegar and baking soda. I clean my tub with it. Talk about foaming power! There's a spray bottle of vinegar under every sink; it will make them sparkle. Five sprays of vinegar into a 1/2 c water and 1 minute on high and those crusties wipe right off the surface of your microwave. Here's an article on more green cleaning ideas.

BTW, a funny zoo story: a bird pooped on me again almost the same location as last Friday! Should we return next Friday?

What does your family do to teach your children to be kind to our planet?

1 comment:

Shannon said...

We really stress taking care of our Earth with Josh. Some of the ways we do so is to pick up litter when we see it in parking lots etc... We live close to a recycling center so we are HUGE recyclers. One of Josh's chores is to put rinsed containers into the bin in our garage. We are also lucky enough to live in a state which has refunds for soda cans. Josh is also responsible for emptying that bin into a bag to return to the store. We also use the light bulbs, try to bring our own bags, and buy greener cleaners. But my favorite way to honor our planet is by buying from thrift stores and yard sales. There are always treasures to be found, money to be saved, and land fills to keep from filling up!


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