Four more years of Trump’s anti-environmental policies will make it too late to change course. So come November, let’s turn this ship around.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has drastically altered daily life. For millions of students and parents, that means homeschooling.
Social distancing is a necessary and effective measure to keep us safe, but it also commands widespread school closures, which can make for a challenging transition for many children. Home from school, many children are feeling anxious about the future, unsure of how to help.
Fortunately, many inspirational kids are also leading the fight for a greener planet and safer future. Young people around the world have the power to make a difference, even from their homes.
Below are some at-home activities that students can do to beat boredom, stay positive and create a climate-friendly future:
1. Attend or host a virtual teach-in
Since the first Earth Day in 1970, teach-ins — or educational lectures and discussions on important public interest topics — have been a valuable tool for environmentalists to inspire community action. This year, as Earth Day goes digital, teach-ins can still prompt meaningful community responses to ongoing environmental challenges.
Encourage your student or child to attend one of these virtual teach-ins or follow Earth Day Network’s guide to create their own. They can livestream a nature walk or backyard exploration. They can also ask viewers to find what species live in their backyard and explore how they can protect local habitats.
2. Download the Earth Challenge app
Download Earth Day Network’s new Earth Challenge app to gather air quality and pollution data in your community. The app empowers citizen scientists to monitor their local environment and offers tools and tips for environmental protection.
3. Try some delicious plant-based cuisine
There’s no better way to spend time at home than trying new recipes. Fortunately, your family can both eat delicious food and reduce their carbon footprint by adopting a more plant-based diet. Help your child research plant-based recipes or recreate family favorites with plant-based ingredients.
If they’re craving something sweet, try these easy swaps to indulge in their favorite desserts. Your child can even livestream a plant-based cooking lesson for family and friends or create a cookbook of their new favorite recipes.
In addition to mastering new recipes, students can learn food preservation techniques, such as canning, pickling, drying and freezing to enjoy fruits and vegetables year round and minimize food waste.
4. Make a plan to cut down on plastic pollution
Ask your child to help audit your plastic use at home by counting how many plastic containers, wraps, bottles and bags you purchase for your kitchen and bathroom. Encourage them to research products that have more sustainable packaging for your next grocery trip or online order. And when you order to-go meals from restaurants, make a note asking for no plastic utensils and limited plastic packaging.
5. Learn new ways to protect our species
If your child is interested in protecting biodiversity, learning about different species is the best way to start. Watch an environmental documentary or animal show and learn how individuals can help protect endangered species. Many zoos and aquariums are offering free teach-ins and livestreams, so tune in to learn about different species and their habitats.
Customize your species education by researching what pollinators need are native to your area and what plants they rely on. Learn how to make a thriving habitat for pollinators and help your child design a pollinator garden for your yard or community.
6. Create eco-art
Creating art is an excellent way to spend time indoors and still connect to the Earth (not to mention, reduce stress). Repurpose materials from around the house, and encourage your child to create something new, like jewelry, bags or plant holders. They can even transform trash into treasure by creating a sculpture out of recyclables. Gather some inspiration from Earth Day Network’s Artists for the Earth gallery.
Creating art is also a great way to get outdoors while practicing social distancing. Supervise your child as they gather items like leaves and pinecones from your backyard and create an innovative art project.
While you’re outdoors, encourage your child to pay attention to nature and wildlife. Students can write short stories or poems about what a bird sees as it flies or what a squirrel thinks about as it climbs trees.
7. Join EARTHRISE and make an Earth Day Poster
Amid the pandemic, the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day is still as important as ever. Join the digital EARTHRISE movement and show your support for climate action today and into the future.
One way to show your support is with an Earth Day poster: Provide your child with supplies to design an Earth Day poster, and put it in your home’s window for neighbors to see. Make sure to tweet your poster to @EarthDayNetwork.”
by Lindsay Steinberg
As an avid reader and writer, I’ll add that reading books related to taking care of our earth or writing related stories and articles are also great ways for kids (and adults:) to take part in Earth Day this year! ~Becky
One of my favorite television shows of all time is Doc Martin, starring Martin Clunes. The story is set in fictional “Portwenn,” which is actually Port Isaac, Cornwall. The good doc works as a general practitioner and has a fear of blood! Yes, there’s humor, but also suspense, friendship, romance, and drama. The show began in 2004, provides 9 seasons (I’m hoping for more) and can be viewed on Acorn, Hulu (select seasons), and Amazon.
I caught wind of a heartwarming video put out by the cast and crew during this challenging time. If you’re a Doc Martin fan, I think you’ll love it! If you haven’t already met these quirky characters, you might want to give this show a try!
Something I wasn’t aware of when I first saw this charming video was that the creator of Doc Martin, Dominic Minghella, was recently very ill and hospitalized with symptoms of coronavirus. Happily, he has recovered.
Home food delivery from grocery stores and through a variety of home meal services has made a resurgence in the last few years. With the current needs for social distancing and quarantines related to the coronavirus, this practice will likely become even more common.
From my childhood in Tawas City, Michigan, during the 50s and 60s, I have a clear memory of our milkman from the local dairy, Nelkie’s. He was a handsome, dark-haired chap named Tony, who wore some type of white jacket or uniform. I don’t remember his vehicle, however. In my mind’s eye, I can still see several glass bottles of milk set into the frosty snow on the top step near our front door.
Time went by, and one day I realized that Tony the milkman had disappeared. The dairy remained, but home delivery must have been suspended. Evidently that was common for the times, as mentioned in this interesting article about the history of home milk delivery. Yet another nostalgic piece of our past that no longer exists.
Some people collect Little Golden Books, while others seek the Junior Elf Books. I love both and often look for them when I visit used bookstores. When I saw the Junior Elf Book pictured above, Milkman Bill, it brought back so many childhood memories and sensations. Surely you can see why it was a necessary purchase? The original price tag still stuck to the cover says 15 cents. I paid a bit more, but it was certainly reasonable at $1.00.
The story centers on a little boy, Dickie, who’s been sick in bed for three weeks. The doctor has told Mother that Dickie must drink more milk to get better and stay strong. If only staying healthy was really that easy! Dickie has many questions for the milkman, and the reader learns about the entire process, from cow to home. The book ends with Milkman Bill promising Dickie and his family a tour of the dairy the following week. This slim volume, published in 1960, smells exactly the way an old book should!
NPR: Coronavirus And Parenting: What You Need To Know Now
NOTE: The printable comic for kids is linked through this enlightening article.
Kids Books Haven’t Prepared Us for the Coronavirus: from Fatherly
Things to think about for the youngest, along with a strong book suggestion: Llama Llama Home with Mama, by Anna Dewdney
Picture book by Steve Mould –
“Meet a glowing squid, traveling fungus spores, and much more in this dynamic and engaging book all about bacteria, viruses, and other germs and microbes. The Bacteria Book walks the line between “ew, gross!” and “oh, cool!,” exploring why we need bacteria and introducing readers to its microbial mates–viruses, fungi, algae, archaea, and protozoa.
From the Indianapolis Public Library:
Fact sheets and FAQs designed especially for use with children are available from kidshealth.org:
- The Story Seeds Podcast: Coronavirus PSA: How to Fight the New Bad Guy in Town by Jason Reynolds, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
- What Is the New Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
- ¿Qué es el coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Hand Washing: Why It’s So Important
- Lavarse las manos: por qué es importante