All around the world, people are gearing up for Earth Day. Started in 1970, this designated day of April 22 has become an annual reminder of our responsibility to be good stewards of the Earth. You can contribute to a healthier Earth in multiple ways: plant a garden, pick up trash, purchase biodegradable products, and commit to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Tree of Life
Planting trees is one of the easiest and most sustainable ways to positively affect the environment. We need trees now more than ever! Communities across the state have been devastated with the loss of tens of millions of ash trees since the emerald ash borer was first discovered in metro Detroit in 2002. Trees are our lifeline to cleaner air and a healthier environment.
Here’s how trees make a difference:
- Trees improve air quality by producing oxygen. They also store carbon, offsetting harmful byproducts of fossil-fuel burning.
- They moderate the effects of sun and wind, and they clean the air by trapping dust, pollen and other pollutants.
- Planted in the right places around buildings, trees can significantly reduce air-conditioning costs. This means less Freon, an inflammable and odorless chemical emitted from air conditioners. It is considered to have damaging effects to the ozone layer.
- Trees increase property value.
- Trees generate jobs and contribute raw materials for buildings, newspapers, books, etc. They are renewable, biodegradable and recyclable.
- They provide shelter and food for wildlife such as birds, squirrels and bugs.
- Trees make people feel good. Workers are more productive when they see trees along their commute routes and from their office windows.
- Landscapes that include trees help relax us, lower heart rates and reduce stress.
Volunteer to Help
The city of Detroit has been especially hard-hit with tree loss, stemming back to the days when Dutch elm disease ravaged whole city blocks. Efforts are underway to reforest neighborhoods throughout the city with a variety of new trees. You can jump on board and volunteer for upcoming tree plantings through Greening of Detroit, a nonprofit organization committed to guiding and inspiring the reforestation of Detroit.
“The Greening of Detroit works to grow a ‘greener’ Detroit through planting and educational programs and environmental leadership. This is a landmark year for us as we set out to plant 7,000 trees through the city with the help 10,000 volunteers,” said Rebecca Salminen Witt, president of The Greening of Detroit. “The Greening’s plantings have been specifically designed to address stormwater runoff, soil contamination, air quality and deforestation due to the emerald ash borer.”
What are you planning to do for Earth Day? How are you making the Earth a healthier place to live, work and play?
Photo by Alex Indigo
Each One Plant One
There's a popular saying which goes, 'Each one plant one'. This saying essentially urges all human beings to plant at least one tree in their lifetime. If every human being planted a tree, and if our planet had as many trees as it had people, the environment wouldn't be quite as unstable as it is today. The hole in the ozone layer wouldn't be quite as big or threatening, and the globe wouldn't be warming up as quickly as it is.
The importance of respecting your environment and Mother Nature can never be underestimated. While everyone grumbles about pollution, not many of us really do anything about it. "What can we do?" you say. The answer is: plenty. Here's what you can do for starters:
You're in a car, munching on a packet of chips. The instant you chomp down the last wafer, you roll down your window and chuck the packet out of the window. Bad. Very, very bad. Golden rule no. 1: Don't ever throw anything out of the window of your car. Only if you follow this rule, can you set an example for your children. If you have something to discard, simply keep it in your car, and throw it in your garbage bin when you reach home. Take pride in your country! Someone once said "People get the government they deserve." Well, what does that say about us?
Yes, it's true. Paper is made from trees. So don't, don't waste paper. DON'T! We're not asking you to abstain from using paper. Feel free to use as much as you want, as long as you USE it, and not just waste it.
Instead of giving your younger children a drawing book, wherein they scribble their way through 10 pages in 10 minutes, give them a sheet of paper instead, so they keep scribbling away on that one sheet. (The same rule applies to you!)
Use both sides of the paper when printing, unless you are taking 20 printouts and you cannot be bothered to keep changing the side. But if it is just a couple of pages, use BOTH sides.
Similarly, use both sides of a writing pad, notepad or letterhead.
Remember that every piece of paper can be recycled, no matter how small. So recycle paper.
Separate your garbage
Separate your dry garbage from kitchen waste. Give your dry garbage for free to the neighbourhood raddiwallah when he comes to purchase your old newspapers. Did you know that because most people don't separate their garbage, slum children rummage through piles and piles of slime, trying to salvage whatever they can so they can sell it and buy themselves a meal? In the process not only do they get various skin infections, but they also often cut themselves on broken glass pieces and rusted nails, and are constantly ridden with diseases.
Do your bit for charity
Do you do your bit for charity? There's no compulsion, and if you're still in the process of making a life for yourself, coughing up extra cash so someone else can have a chance at making their lives, may not be a very appealing option. However, you don't have to donate money if you'd rather not. There are various other options:
- Give old clothes to a government hospital or to a charity institute (not to beggars on the street.)
- Ask your child to hand over the toys he does not play with any longer, and the clothes he doesn't wear. (Of course, you can have the final say and put those expensive, new, M&S trousers that fit perfectly, back in his closet!) Explain to him that these clothes and toys will be sent to a charity home. This way your child will learn the lesson of giving.
- Every once in a while, give your newspapers to a newspaper collecting drive.
- Educate someone. Does the washer woman have a son or daughter who could use some help in school? Help the child with school work. If you don't have the time, encourage your children to teach them. In this manner, you would also be inculcating a sense of social service in your children.
- Or simply, do a great service to your planet, and plant a tree.
Back to Previous Page More on Raising Children Index
Email this Article to a Friend