Human beings rely on our planet for food, shelter, and to help us lead a healthy lifestyle. We must take care of our environment so that it can protect and provide for us, and for all future generations. This may sound like a big job, but did you know that there are plenty of things that we can do right now to help make our Earth a more sustainable and thriving place to live? Here’s how kids can make small changes towards sustainability with some quick and easy tips.
What is sustainability?
Humans need a lot of our planet’s resources to survive. We require fresh air, water, food, and shelter to live fulfilling lives. We harvest crops, raise animals for meat and milk, and clear forests to make space and create materials for houses. All of these activities can strain the environment if they are done too quickly and use up too many resources if we aren’t careful.
“Sustainable living” is just a lifestyle that offers ways to reduce harm to our environment. Even small changes can have a big impact over time if we all work together to protect our planet.
The founding principles – reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Humans produce an average of 3.5 million tons of solid waste per day, and a lot of that garbage is single-use plastic that can’t be recycled. Reducing the amount of household trash that gets sent to the curb every week is a great start.
Find out if there’s a recycling program in your community. Some areas offer curbside pickup of household garbage and recycling, but others may provide a distribution center. Find out what sort of materials are accepted in your area, separate recyclable goods from your household trash, and see how much waste you can reduce!
Sometimes sustainability is a simple as using your imagination
New toys and games are always fun and exciting, but the best thing you can do for the environment as a kid is simple – play with what you already have! Instead of heading to the store for something new, take another look in your closet or toybox. There may be forgotten treasurers just waiting for some imagination to bring them to life again. Not only do you save a trip to the store (saving gas and lowering harmful carbon emissions), but you’ll have just as much fun finding a way to make something old new once again.
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It’s not trash – it’s art!
If you love making art, did you know there are thousands of artists all over the world making beautiful creations with recycled materials? And you can too!
Bottle caps, toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes, or tomato sauce jars can all be used as materials for your next masterpiece. Check out all of our fun activities at lottiedolls.com and challenge yourself to complete them using only materials from things you find around your house (with your parents’ permission, of course).
Sustainability is a lunchtime affair
Making healthy choices at lunchtime can mean making healthy choices for the planet, too. A lot of our food is pre-packaged and designed to be thrown away. If you want to add some sustainability to your lunches, here are a few tips:
If you have access to fresh clean water, try a reusable water bottle. You can fill it up as needed instead of sending hundreds of plastic bottles into the oceans each year. If you must use plastic bottles, recycle them whenever possible.
Skip the plastic bags and try reusable containers. They come in all shapes, sizes, and materials – and they’re often quicker and easier to pack than individual plastic bags.
Make your own compost pile. If you have a garden or yard, see if you can start composting your leftovers. Old food can give much-needed nutrients back to the soil, and make your flowers thrive!
Plant a garden. If you love the taste of fresh fruits and vegetables, plant a garden! You’ll probably need a little help from your family for this one, but there are tons of resources online that can help you get started. A thriving garden can be educational and fun for the whole family – and it’s super sustainable too.
Splish splash, sustainability in the bath
We all know baths are a great way to get clean and have fun – but they use a ton of water. Instead of filling the tub all the way, see if a half-full bath is enough. You’ll save half the water, and you’ll have just as much fun!
If you take showers, try setting a timer and challenging yourself to get clean as quickly as possible. When you’re brushing your teeth, make sure to turn the faucet off and don’t leave the water running while you scrub those pearly whites. You can save thousands of gallons of water a year by making these few slight changes.
Get the whole family involved!
While kids can make a lot of small changes on their own, here are some things that grown-ups can also try that will benefit the whole family.
Replace plastic toothbrushes with those made from more sustainable materials, like bamboo.
Instead of using paper towels to clean up spills, consider using washable cloths instead.
Try your hand at cooking some meat-free meals, or select meat that was raised on sustainable farms.
Shop locally whenever possible to reduce carbon emissions caused by long-distance shipping.
Buy used clothing and toys, and donate what you don’t need to local organizations that could use them instead of throwing them away.
Walk, bike, or take public transportation when traveling for fun or work. Or, carpool with a friend!
Sustainability doesn’t have to be complicated, and the whole family can make small changes towards a healthier environment. Remember, we must all work together to preserve this beautiful planet we call home.