Earth Day is approaching, but how much do we really know about this important day? The idea originated with a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson. After the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA and inspired by the student anti-war movement of the time, Nelson helped create a movement to fight for a cleaner environment, more environmentally conscious community. More about the history of Earth Day can be learned here:

I moved to New York City from Portland, Oregon, a very environmentally conscious community, where mixed recycling, composting and cycling are the established norm. People go out of their way to make certain a plastic bottle or a piece of paper makes it into a recycle bin. When walking around New York City, “environmentally conscious” is one of the last things that come to mind.  But, if the children of Portland can be environmentally conscious, so can we!

One very simple way we can all respect nature is to recycle and to properly dispose of garbage (use a trash can). Check out the NYCWasteLess website to learn more about reducing NYC’s carbon footprint through recycling.

Another simple thing we can do is stop creating garbage through the use of disposable containers and items. I know we all live fast-paced lives here in the city, but if we simply walk around with a canteen or a reusable water bottle, we save from having to dispose of it later on. We like to eat out at restaurants and often times have leftovers to take home. An easy solution is to bring your own reusable container for your leftovers.  Now you have less to throw away.

There’s no better day than Earth Day to talk to kids about recycling! Think a child can’t make a difference? Not so. Little things – like using a colorful cloth bag, or tossing potato peels and eggshells into a homeade compost bin can help the environment. Here is a list of ways to reuse materials to make new crafts from the Kaboose website.

Have fun with the whole family while teaching the kids to be green. Let everyday be Earth Day!

Michael Santillan, Teacher at Early Learning Foundations
Michael has more than eight years of experience teaching early childhood education, with a Bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies from Portland State University, and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Music Education from the Teachers College at Columbia University. Mike also has a soft spot for hummingbirds.