by Anne & Louise Jordan*
Our planet is in a major climate crisis, and if something doesn’t change soon, it will be disastrous for our grandchildren. It’s easy to feel helpless, but individual actions really can make a difference. Yes, Earth Day was two days ago, but we need to take care of our earth every day. Here are 6 ways you and your grandchildren can care for the earth together.
1. Walking If you live in a walkable community, try walking with your grandchild on your next outing instead of taking the car. Be sure to let them know that walking saves gas and prevents harmful vehicle emissions. Of course, walking isn’t only good for the earth; it’s also good for you and your grandchild. Take time to appreciate nature together. Observe the birds and squirrels and collect “treasures” like interesting rocks.
2. Donating The next time you find yourself with items you no longer need or want, see if your grandchild would like to join you on a donation trip. Encourage them to bring some toys and clothes they have outgrown. It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to learn about reuse and the importance of helping others who have less than they do.
3. Shopping (or not shopping) One of the best ways we can help the earth is being mindful about the things we buy and consume. When you’re shopping with your grandchild and considering a purchase, ask yourselves, “Do we really need this?” If the answer is yes, see if there’s a sustainable option. For instance, if you’re buying soap, go for an unwrapped bar instead of a plastic pump. And don’t forget your reusable bags!
4. Giving eco-friendly gifts It’s fun to spoil to your grandchildren, but make sure you’re not buying too many cheap plastic toys that will wind up in the landfill. You can give high quality items that will last, or better yet, experiences—because nothing lasts longer than memories.
5. Composting If you haven’t tried composting, you might not realize how fun and satisfying it can be! There is something deeply rewarding about seeing your food scraps turn into soil. The soil can be used in your garden to make more food (to make more scraps to make more compost…) If you’re not quite ready to dip your toe into backyard composting, look into curbside composting services that do the work for you.
6. Gardening It’s hard to imagine a more worthwhile activity to do with your grandchild. Not only is gardening great outdoor exercise, but your grandchild will love checking on the plants every time they visit. Of course, they’ll be thrilled when it’s time to pick the fruits and vegetables. They might even eat them without complaint! And it goes without saying that gardens are great for the earth, especially pollinator gardens.
*Anne and Louise Jordan are a mother-daughter team who created Sunny the Sideloader, an eco-friendly book for children.