written by: Prerna Malik•edited by: BStone•updated: 5/25/2011
Protecting and preserving the environment is not only for green thinkers but also for everyone. A clean, healthy and pollution-free environment benefits everyone. Here are some environmental tips for kids and adults as well as ideas that everyone can adopt regardless of age.
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Protecting the environment is something that all of us, regardless of age, can do. Whether it is something as small as turning off the lights when we leave the room or as big as clearing the park of litter and trash, taking responsibility for the environment is everyone’s job. Children as young as toddlers can be encouraged to act in eco-friendly ways. Here are some tips to help protect the environment for all age groups – kids, adults and the elderly.
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Teaching Kids to Protect the Environment
It is essential to teach children about the importance of protecting the environment and making eco-friendly choices and decisions. Parents and teachers can help do this in a variety of ways using simple methods. Here are some environmental protection tips for children of all ages:
Make “outdoor" time a priority for the family. Too much television is not good for a child’s eyes and physical development. Spend time outdoors so that kids can see Nature for themselves. Encourage questions and engage kids in conversations about trees, plants, water from rivers and ponds, and the role they play in their lives.
Plant a family tree in front of the house. Give children the responsibility of watering and feeding it. Explain how trees help keep the environment free of pollution while adding valuable oxygen back to it.
Go on regular nature walks and make a weekend visit to a national park. Use nature walks to collect flowers and use them for craft projects. National parks are great fun for kids – hiking, canoeing, safaris and more can help little minds learn about the role played by the different parts of the environment.
Join community environmental protection programs. Volunteer as a family to clear the beach or the parks of litter and trash.
Encourage children to carry their own lunch and use reusable or biodegradable lunchboxes. If school is close by, let your kids walk or cycle instead of taking the bus or car.
Encourage kids to turn off the lights each time they leave a room to save power.
Parents can organize PTA environmental protection programs and start activities such as planting trees or developing centers that teach kids about the environment such as a weather station, a butterfly garden, a worm or composting center and more.
With children, setting a good example is the easiest way for them to learn. As parents and teachers take the lead, children will follow. Making environmental learning fun and engaging will ensure that kids absorb valuable lessons and develop good eco-friendly habits.
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Adults and Keeping the Environment Healthy
While children can certainly play a role in protecting the environment, the real responsibility lies with the grown-ups. Adults need to take initiative and work hard to ensure that the planet they live on thrives and flourishes. Here are several environmental tips for adults, in addition to the ones above, to help protect the environment.
Use rechargeable batteries or buy batteries with less toxic metal in them.
Once a week, walk or cycle to work. Its good for health and the environment.
Carpool to work and for recreational activities with other families.
Create an environmentally friendly home by not buying items that endanger the planet. Some of these include Styrofoam cups, paper towels, plastic cutlery as well as packaged foods and products. Instead, choose compostable plates and containers and buy fresh produce. Choose cloth over paper and set a good example for the kids as well.
Reuse office paper to make scratch or scribble pads for colleagues and kids.
Install low-flow showerheads and use a bucket of water and sponge to wash the car instead of hosing it down. Run the dishwasher and the washing machine only on full loads. Better still, wash dishes by hand at least once a week and try to air dry clothes whenever possible. Conserving water is easy and economical besides being eco-friendly.
Start composting and turn your kitchen waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer.
Avoid putting fertilizers and pesticides into lawns and gardens. Explore natural alternatives instead.
Make planting trees and gifting potted plants an annual event, say for Christmas or New Year's.
Photo Credit: Samuel Mann via http://www.flickr.com/photos/21218849@N03/3033538029/
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How Can Grandparents or Seniors Help Keep a Clean Environment
While the elderly can adopt all the above-mentioned environmental tips, they are some that are specifically for them as grandparents or as elders of the environment.
Spend a day with the grandkids building a birdhouse in the backyard.
Encourage and teach children oft-forgotten but useful skills such as making soaps, candles or anything else that will reduce consumption of packaged, processed goods.
Take your grandkids camping, fishing or boating. Let them experience Nature first-hand. Explain how the ecosystem works and how by being responsible one can protect the environment from pollution and depletion.
Plant a kitchen garden and encourage children to plant their favorite veggies. Not only will it teach them about plants and how they contribute to a healthier environment but will also encourage them to eat better.
Visit an Environmental Education center close to home to let children develop an awareness of the world of Nature and develop a sense of responsibility towards the Earth.
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Environmental Ideas for Everyone
Regardless of whether you’re a parent, a single working man or woman without children or a grandparent, these tips to protect the environment can easily be adapted and applied to various aspects of your life. If you don’t have children but still want to make a difference to the community, speak to the residents and start a Litter-Free Neighborhood campaign. Or if you have kids but no grandparents, make an effort to learn about self-sufficiency and how it can help the environment. And if you’re an elder but not a grandparent, simply gather the neighborhood kids for a day of picnicking and watching ants, squirrels, birds and bugs.
These environmental tips to keep a clean, green and healthy Earth are simple, easy-to-do and require very little time or money. Making a positive change in the way you treat the environment is bound to have a positive impact on everyone.
Photo Credit: net_efekt via http://www.flickr.com/photos/wheatfields/2671495796/