Grandparents on the Go
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Earth Day

Earth Day
Grandparents on the Go
By Cathy Burford & Cathy Droz

Cathy droz and Cathy BurfordThe celebration of “Earth Day” started in April l970, as a way to bring attention to the importance of environmental protection in the USA.  The first “Earth Day” saw rallies all over the country, and helped lead to the creation of many environmental organizations.  Cathy and I thought it would be fun and educational to expose our grandchildren, at an early age, to some fun ways to be “green”.

Here are some of our ideas:

  • We collected a few reusable grocery bags from our stash and placed two in each of their family cars.  We asked them to be “green buddy reminders” to their parents when food shopping or department store shopping.  Remind your parents to use the reusable bags and always put two back in the rear seat pocket of their cars when done.
  • We purchased colorful and themed reusable bottles for the kids to put their water, juice or milk in for the road.  Explain and demonstrate how plastic bottles accumulate in our landfills, and how it is better for the environment to reuse rather than purchase new bottles.  Keep their cups where you would normally grab a plastic water bottle for the road.
  • Create a demonstration and challenge with the grandkids.  Reuse, Reduce and Recycle.  Take two small waste paper baskets and pull some objects from your home like wrapping paper, plastic cups, glass bottle, rubber band, soda can etc.   Show them once or twice which objects go in which receptacle and explain why.  Now hand them the object and ask them to toss it into the correct bin.  Mark the bins accordingly to their age of understanding.  For us we did colors… blue dots for recycle and dark green dots for trash. (We matched them to the trash cans that the sanitation trucks pick up weekly.)  Now hand the object to the child and have them gently toss in to the correct bin.  As they get better at it, adjust the distance of the bins. Before you know it, they will be able to tell you which bin the object goes in. Imagine the first time their parents throw something in the wrong trash?
  • Plant a vegetable garden or fruit bearing tree in your yard or theirs. Have them name the garden such as “Jack’s Lemonade Tree”.  Explain sustainability at the level they can understand.  We used Dora the Explorer as a theme for explaining the term.  Find a character in a story or movie that your grandchild likes and use that to explain how we must all do our part.

There were a few more things we went through like shutting the lights off when you leave a room, turning the water off when brushing your teeth and spending more time outside rather than watching TV, which burns energy.

Our last show and tell was a project Cathy and I did with our daughters back in l986.  We started a company called EarthBorn Products.  We developed cloth shopping bags and had them made in Arizona.

Our young daughters, aged 7 and 8, helped us design and work on that project.  For every bag sold we gave l0% of the profits to an environmental project.  This was a great learning experience for our children; now let’s pass this on to another generation.

For Earth Day Events: www.earthdayphoenix.org