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Newsletter: April 2014

Now Serving: 7 tips for a healthier planet

hands holding globeGet your family excited about caring for the planet this month!

Earth Day falls on April 22nd, but you can have a meaningful discussion with your loved ones about it any time. If needed, this website offers some background about the history of Earth Day, and reasons why taking care of our environment is so important.

Finally, empower your loved ones by sharing with them these surprisingly easy ways to make a difference in your home and neighborhood. Then invite them to research their own ideas and add to the list!

One less meat-based dinner a week can nourish the planet and your diet. Think of it this way: 2,500 gallons of water are used to produce one pound of beef. And for each hamburger that comes from animals raised on rainforest land, approximately 55 square feet of forest have been destroyed. So by eliminating meat one day a week, you’re also saving trees. Nice work. Check out our vegetarian recipes and Meatless Monday for more ideas and inspiration!

This one’s real easy. Did you know that during an average year, the average American uses 2,200 paper napkins—approximately six per day? If everyone in the country eliminated just one paper napkin per day, more than a billion paper napkins could be saved from landfills each year.
This goes for paper towels, too.

According to the Institute of Food Research, the majority of produce in your grocery store loses nearly 45% of its nutritional value by the time you buy it. When you purchase produce from a nearby farm, chances are it was picked less than 24 hours earlier and had to travel less than 100 miles to get from the farm to you. This means you’re getting nearly all of the original nutrients and helping to reduce greenhouse gasses from transportation, which contributes to climate change. While buying from a farm isn’t always possible, when you get the chance, doing so can make a big difference!

By composting kitchen scraps and yard trimmings, you cut down on the amount of food you waste and reduce your contribution to landfills. By composting regularly, you can reduce the volume of garbage you generate by as much as 25 percent! Learn more about how to start composting here.

Here’s one even the littlest members of the family can handle—as soon as they can reach. Try to turn off incandescent bulbs when you leave a room. Experts recommend turning of off Fluorescent bulbs, which are sensitive to how many times you switch them on and off, when you leave a room for 15 minutes or more. This helps save both energy and money. And when brushing your teeth, try to turn off the water for the two minutes or so it takes to brush; you can help save up to four gallons of water if you do this regularly.

If you can’t get to the farm stand, why not start your own garden of fruits and vegetables? Most kids love getting their hands dirty and will be excited to help, and then eat the foods they have grown! The simple act of planting a tree also reaps many benefits. Trees are good for the air and land and they can provide shade for your house, which can help you save on cooling costs. You can make the act meaningful for your family by starting an annual ritual of planting a tree in honor or in memory of someone. Or if you want to start smaller, just plant some herbs you can watch grow on the windowsill.

There are plenty of other easy Earth-day inspired ways your family can contribute to a healthier planet beyond your backyard. Take walks or bike rides together instead of driving places. Volunteer together to help clean or preserve local parks. Learn about recycling together by calling your local recycling center and taking a tour, if they offer them. The best part about these activities is not only that they’re good for the planet, but by doing them together, they’re good for the family, too.

A portion of these tips were culled from 50 ways to help the planet.

Please spread the word about these ideas by sharing this email! We’d also love to hear about what you and your family already do to help the environment- so please share on our Facebook page!

 

Foodbean burger

 

Beanie Burger

In honor of Earth Day, why not try this delicious and easy-to-make vegetarian beanie burger recipe from our friends at Chop Chop Magazine.

Funflowers in coffee cans

 

Kitchen Art

After sorting through your kitchen recyclables, you don’t have to send items straight to the recycling center. Turn that “junk” into art or helpful household items! What kids create is up to their imaginations: milk jugs can become watering cans or planters; egg cartons can turn into bugs and flying mobiles; coffee cans transform into flowerpots. Search the web and Pinterest for lots of ideas.

Conversationgirls in woods

This month we’re digging deep with questions about the environment.

Age 2-7

What’s your favorite activity to do outside?

If you were a bug, what kind of bug would you be? Why?

Describe your mood right now in weather terms. Are you feeling stormy? Sunny? Some-thing else?

 

Age 8-13

Dr. Seuss writes in The Lorax, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” What do you think he meant by that?

Do you like to spend your time outside or inside more? Why?

If you were a millionaire and could give to one charity to help the environment, which charity would you help? Why?

 

Age 14-100

What’s your first and/or favorite nature-related memory?

What does the phrase “global warming” mean to you?

John Muir said, “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” How do you connect with nature? Do you have a special place you tend to visit?

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