In this column, staff at the Center for EcoTechnology offer advice on easy ways for people — and businesses — to introduce green changes in their daily lives.
Q: Earth Day is coming up. Any ideas for educational activities I can do with my kids to help get them in the spirit?
A: Great question! It can be challenging to teach children about subjects like energy efficiency and waste reduction, but it's important to introduce these topics to them. We have some suggestions to help get you started and get your kids excited about celebrating Earth Day.
• Get composting. Composting is a great way to teach children about ecosystems and food webs, as well as dispose organic waste without putting it in a landfill. Save up some salad scraps, eggshells, newspapers, and grass clippings (remember, no meat or dairy), then start a compost pile in your backyard. If your children like worms or you don't want to compost outside, consider vermicomposting, where red wiggler worms eat your kitchen waste.
• Spring cleaning. Have the kids help you clean out your home and donate/recycle as appropriate. There are plenty of thrift stores that would love the clothes your kids have outgrown. You can bring paint thinner, motor oil, and cleaning chemicals to a local hazardous waste collection. EcoBuilding Bargains, the Center for EcoTechnology's store in Springfield, might be willing to take that table or hutch you don't really have space for. Donating and recycling these things keeps them out of a landfill, and keeps them from harming the environment.
• Upcycle by doing some craft projects. There are so many activities you can do and crafts you can make with things like empty jars, cereal boxes, and discarded paper; for older kids, things like turning a light globe into a birdfeeder can be a really rewarding experience.
• Visit us at an Earth Month event. The Center for EcoTechnology's outreach team is out in Western Massachusetts communities constantly, and we'd be happy to chat with you about saving energy and reducing waste! Check our Events page (cetonline.org/events) page to find out where we'll be in your community.
Happy Earth Day from all of us here at the Center for EcoTechnology!
Look out for this column every two weeks, and send your Go Green questions to GoGreen@cetonline.org.