Spend the Day Outdoors
This sounds like a no-brainer, right? Okay, but what can you do differently on this special day? Consider taking a break from your electronics and social media for one day and invite the rest of your family to do the same. Discuss in advance that this will be a day to connect as a family and with the natural world and its beauty. Make a plan with your children to explore a place that you have never seen before. Perhaps a natural reserve, a lake, a different beach, a hiking trail, or a new park. Make it fun! If you’re excited, your children will be excited too.
Eat the Colors of the Rainbow
The food we consume can have a big impact on the health of our planet. For one day, if possible, avoid consuming processed foods and other items that have artificial flavors and colorings. Try a new vegetable or legume — ask your children to pick a food in every color of the rainbow. Or play a guessing game of how many colors of fruits and vegetables are available where you live. How many do you like and why? After eating “colorfully,” see if you and your children can notice how your body feels.
Express Your Gratitude to the Earth
This may feel awkward, because you’re probably not used to communicating with inanimate objects such as the food you eat or a beautiful flower or tree. That’s completely normal. Expressing our gratitude not only makes us feel joyful but also has the potential to help us develop respect and care towards animals or other living beings in nature. On Earth Day, you might encourage your children to take a brief pause and say “thank you” to the fruit or veggie they are going to eat, “thank you” to a tree, or even bow to show respect and appreciation for simply existing. How about hugging that tree? Some might think it’s too earthy-crunchy, but it feels so good!”
Ditch Plastic Objects
Plastic is everywhere! And it is affecting our animals and especially our oceans. We are so accustomed to using a wide range of plastic objects that we might not even know where to start in eliminating them from our lives. On Earth Day, start with one simple action, such as having a picnic with reusable utensils. Ask your children for their ideas and suggestions on how to cut back on plastic. For example, help them to be mindful of carrying reusable bags and bottles or refusing a plastic straw at a restaurant. Make a list together as a family and then implement your ideas over time.
Read an inspirational book to your children or watch a movie together that honors the earth. Even better, celebrate with a community or do your own ritual with your loved ones such as writing a letter or a prayer in which they send good wishes to the planet. Connect with your compassionate and loving heart. Guide your children to use their imagination to visualize the planet and all living beings thriving. Finally, join a green organization or take a pledge to protect our wild animals and our natural resources. Check out the National Geographic Society or the World Wildlife Fund, where you can make a symbolic “species adoption” that contributes to their conservation efforts.
By now, you might realize that these steps are things that you and your family can do on a regular basis, some even daily. Maybe you are already do. If so, I bow to you in gratitude. The beauty is that if all of us take a pledge or make a commitment to make simple changes that can benefit the earth and its living beings, together, we can all make a difference to honor and heal our planet.