Thursday, March 24, 2011

Earth Hour is March 26th - How to Get Your Kids Involved

Earth Hour 2011 happens this weekend - Saturday March 26th at 8:30pm in each time zone.  This is a great time to talk with your kids and get them actively thinking about ways they can help improve the future of our planet.

Earth Hour is driven by the global community’s will to protect the planet we share.  Its exponential growth – from a one-city initiative in 2007 to a global movement spanning 128 countries in 2010 – demonstrates the growing desire for a cleaner, healthier world that is gathering momentum by the hour. Earth Hour marks a moment of global contemplation to go beyond the hour; a collective commitment by individuals throughout the world to affect the ongoing change they want to see in it.


Switch off your lights for Earth Hour at 8:30pm, Saturday 26 March 2011 and celebrate your commitment to the planet along with the people of the world.  You can sign up and sShare stories of your actions that benefit the planet on and sustain your actions beyond the hour at

In an effort to extend the message to young children and their caregivers, the Earth Hour organization has appointed the globally loved animated character Pocoyo as the first Global Kids’ Ambassador of Earth Hour, Beyond the Hour.  Pocoyo reaches out to millions of preschool-aged fans across the globe, fostering “Learning through Laughter,” to inform children about environmental issues.

You can find a fun activity book, promo, screensavers and wallpaper at

You can also support the initiative by throwing an Earth Hour Party Celebration to help spread the word on saving our environment.  Here are some easy tips for the perfect party:

·       Make invitations out of recycled paper or send an email invite.
·       Use organic and locally sustained food.
·       Serve finger foods to skip using plates and utensils, and use cloth napkins that can be washed and used again.
·       Make dishes that don’t require the oven or electricity to prepare.
·       Be creative with food, licorice ends can be cut off to make edible straws for the kids.
·       Family craft project - decorate canvas shopping totes with eco-friendly paint, old buttons, etc.
·       Have a nighttime, outdoor, eco friendly scavenger hunt by flashlight - hunt for garden tools, seeds, egg cartons, etc. Once the items are found, explain how they are used for recycling and to save our environment.
·       Have a recycled book exchange for the kids and adults, instead of favors.
·       Have fun and remember to have enough candles and flashlights for everyone to see!

There are also many, many ongoing activities you can do with your kids to go BEYOND EARTH HOUR:

Turn off lights and appliances at the wall when not in use:  Explain to children that lights, TV’s and computers use energy, and that it is in short supply!  This is an easy way to reduce wasted energy and carbon. If you switch off just one appliance at the wall you could save 99 pounds of greenhouse gas!  Ask your child if he can imagine what 99 pounds might look like, and show him/her some examples – like twenty 5 pound bags of potatoes!

Stop using plastic containers: 
Explain to your child that every bottle they throw in the trash sits in a big pile at the local dump.  Have your child help you pick out fun, brightly colored refillable or reusable containers.

Make recycling fun!  Make recycling fun by inventing games such as tossing non-breakable recyclable items into trashcans at a short distance!  Use recyclable materials in craft projects, for example use cardboard to make masks, or paper to make airplanes!   Create art projects such as paper mache and mosaics. And donate discarded items to charity!

Have a candlelight family and grab a blanket if it’s cold! Once a week, have a candlelight family hour and tell stories or play games instead of watching TV.  And if it’s cold, wear an extra layer of clothes or snuggle up under a blanket to read books.

Use the sunlight to warm up a room: 
The house pet knows this and you kids will enjoy it too.  Open blinds and drapes on a sunny but chilly day and enjoy the glorious warmth that pours in through the windows!

Close drapes and blinds when it’s too hot! In the summer heat, turn down or off the air-conditioner to save energy by teaching children how they can keep from getting hot and sticky by closing the drapes and blinds to keep the room cool.   They will enjoy their playtime better and parents will save money too!

Watch your water use:  Only 3% of the world’s water is fresh water, and of that, two-thirds is frozen in glaciers and polar ice-caps! Teach kids water-wise habits at home at a young age.   Turn off the water while brushing teeth, take shorter showers, and no water-hose fights in hot weather!

Throw a green birthday party: 
Kids parties generate a lot of trash. Email invitations; choose reusable kid-friendly cups and plates; and create a craft activity for kids to take something home instead of wasteful goody bags.

Walk more:  Walk to pre-school with your kids!  It’s fun to spend the extra time with your children, great exercise and you save on gas too.

Take public transport when you can:  Buses and trains ease congestion, reduce emissions, and allow you to relax with your kids.  Relax and read a book together instead of driving the car!

Car pool: 
Double the efficiency of your car by carpooling to pre-school!

Buy earth-friendly back-to-school products:  It’s always fun shopping for supplies. Choose recycled pencils and notebooks, PVC-free shoes, hemp backpacks, organic cotton clothes, or re-used clothing where possible.

Take a reusable cloth bag when you go shopping – decorate bags with your kids! 
Did you know that American use 380 billion plastic bags every year? In addition to being manufactured from non-renewable fossil fuels, plastic bags degrade extremely slowly.  Buy a canvas bag, and decorate it with recycled items!
Buy local, seasonal produce:  Take the kids for a fun morning out and buy produce at your local Farmer’s Market!   Explain how far much of the food you buy has travelled before it reaches your table. Food produced locally costs less to process and transport, and it’s fresher and better for you.

Cut down on meat:  Try to eat a little bit less meat by having the children help you to make one extra vegetarian meal each week.  It takes only about 723 gallons of water to produce 2.2 pounds of wheat, but 3250 gallons of water to produce 2.2 pounds of beef.

Plant natives in the garden:  Enjoy some fresh air with the children in the garden and plant native plants!  Kids might like to have their own miniature size garden box to tend! Use native plants, they require less water, care and maintenance. Plus, you will be creating the ideal conditions to attract native species to your backyard or balcony by creating a habitat for them.

Start a compost:  What kid isn’t fascinated with worms? Create a worm composter!  Almost 75 per cent of household waste is compostable. Composting not only saves landfill space, but recycles material and saves money on fertilizers.  Worms to speed up the process.  Ask the children to fill the composter with food scraps and in a few months, they will see how the “garbage” becomes rich dirt they can help you spread around to make the garden grow.

Grown your own fruit and vegetables:  Watching things grow is exciting!  Reduce your footprint and have your kids help you grow their own veggies. Let them choose seeds, plant and tend them together.  Fresh veggies are good for you and for the earth. No packaging and no food miles!

Install a rainwater tank: 
See how much rain you can catch!  Secure your own water supply and collect water for use in the garden. Rainwater is free, so parents, that means a reduction in bills too!

Share your tips with friends!  Have a weekly contest with friends to see who did the most to help save the planet!

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