April 22—Earth Day—falls on a Monday this year.
Mondays are great days for starting something new or for renewing commitments to living green and clean. For high school students and their parents, it is also a chance to connect on something other than school. Get outside, get your hands dirty, and get back to basics.
How will you celebrate this Earth Day?
We have six great ideas for you.
1. Plant a Tree
Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one tree. You could plant a whole garden.
There are a host of flowers, fruits, and vegetables that love our Texas climate. Let the Farmer’s Almanac direct you toward what particular vegetables love your Texas town.
If you only have a tiny bit of space, you should check out square foot gardening. Or consider setting up a lovely window box or container on your patio.
The point is to help return the Earth to its greenest by growing some plants. Gardening is also very relaxing and slowing down can help teens cope with the busy times of life.
2. Take a Walk
Specifically, consider walking to school or to work on Earth Day. Cars are one of the world’s most significant pollutants.
If you can’t walk, cycle. If you can’t cycle, take public transportation or carpool. There are plenty of ways to acknowledge that vehicles contribute to the problem.
When you’re done with your day’s commitments, choose to take a walk. Going outside and appreciating the weather, the plants and animals, and your surroundings—whether you’re in an urban, suburban, or rural area—will give you some perspective about the Earth’s beauty.
Bonus points if you bring binoculars or stargaze after sunset.
A walk also gives you and your teen an opportunity to talk in a different environment. Leave the college questions at home though.
3. Register for a 5k
A great way to maximize your commitment to walking is to sign up for a 5k.
One mile takes 2,000 steps, so for those of you checking your Fitbit, you’ll get about 6,000 steps out of the 3.1 miles.
It’s easy to find DFW Races. In fact, it’s hard not to find them. There are dozens of races held every weekend, many of them to support excellent causes.
If you’ve never participated in a 5k, you’re in for a treat. The festive atmosphere, your encouraging fellow participants, and the adrenaline rush you’ll feel after completion all make the registration worthwhile. It’s a perfect opportunity to spend time with friends and family doing a physical activity that supports the Earth and other worthy causes.
(Usually, the more participants you register at once, the more likely the ticket price will be reduced. So get a bunch of friends to go with you!)
4. Go Paperless
Every year, Americans use an average of 700 pounds of paper products per person. Not all of that makes its way to the recycle bin either.
Most of the time, there’s no good reason to use that much paper.
- Reduce your mail. Opt out of junk mail and ask for your financial statements to be delivered digitally.
- Digitize your documents. Scan and save important papers and recycle the rest.
- Subscribe online. Nearly all newspapers and magazines have an online option, and it’s usually less expensive.
- Purge the junk drawer. All those receipts, to-do-lists, recipes, and paper odds and ends aren’t doing you any good.
Try to spend this Earth Day using no paper at all. It’ll reveal many ways that you can avoid paper use in the course of your ordinary Monday.
Teaching your teen to live a less cluttered lifestyle is a great gift that can lead to lower stress levels throughout life.
5. Switch to Reusables
Here are five easy things to stop wasting.
- Paper cups. Get yourself a durable coffee cup.
- Plastic water bottles. Get yourself a glass water bottle.
- Plastic grocery bags. Get yourself canvas grocery bags.
- Paper towels. Get yourself fabric kitchen towels.
- Paper napkins. Get yourself cloth napkins. They look nice too!
Not only do reusables save the Earth, but they also save you money—sometimes to the tune of hundreds of dollars a year. Just think of it as college savings.
6. Attend Earth Day Exhibits
Check out some of these fantastic local Earth Day exhibits to learn about how you can adopt green technology in your everyday life.
Eventbrite has a long list of events you can search. So does CBS local.
There’s the EarthX Advocacy weekend full of events. There are exhibits hosted by cities for residents to learn how to use less water or recycle electronics. There’s information about electric cars, a ton of 5k options, and even goat yoga.
You don’t want to miss the goat yoga, do you?
This Earth Day, spend some time examining your lifestyle to consider how you can use less paper, rely less on transportation, get outside more, and reduce waste.
You’ll also find ways to de-stress, connect, and leave a better world for your teen to enjoy. That’s something to celebrate.