Saturday, April 22, will mark the forty-seventh annual Earth Day celebrations. Initially started in the United States, events are now held in over 193 countries to support environmental protection.1,2 Not surprisingly, this year an unprecedented number of scientists and science supporters will be marching in Washington, D.C. in an effort to educate and remind our leadership of the current and predicted changes due to climate change. Organizations and individuals will be planting trees, teaching about recycling and other worthy initiatives to help protect and heal our planet.
The need to protect our planet is beyond what we can do in a day. Environmental education and restoration needs to be part of our daily life—growing more of our own local food, reducing our plastic use, removing the millions of pounds of trash from our oceans, moving more towards clean energy use, the list is long. It can seem daunting at times and yet as we near 7.5 billion people globally3, every little bit each one of us does makes a difference.
Perhaps of equal concern is something many of us never thought we would need to address—our disconnection with nature. Never before have we had so many people, especially youth, out of touch with our natural environment. The health ramifications of this are very significant. The greater issue long-term is how will today’s youth, many of whom are living almost twenty–four-seven in climate controlled environments and buried in technology for work, school and play know the environment around them is changing? Will they care?
Earth Day 2017 falls on a Saturday this year. This creates a perfect opportunity to invite a child to engage in nature. The longer you can keep them outside this Saturday, the better for most kids. Looking for ideas? It can be as simple as planting seeds in a clay pot while explaining the joy of delayed gratification, the wonder of watching something grow and how this is where are food really comes from. Maybe you would rather take a hike? The United States National Park Service offers free admission for Earth Week4. Richard Louv’s book, Vitamin N5 , has chapters of ideas of how to engage in nature for people of all ages. Go camping, swimming in the ocean, fishing at a lake, play flashlight tag, picnic in a park-there are a lot of fun things to do. Allowing a child the opportunity to discover the awesomeness in nature just might be the best gift you can give them and the earth.
As promised, today’s tip is for those of us who may not have a pumpkin patch nearby, have no time to carve a pumpkin or may be saying, “I’ve carved enough pumpkins in my life!” Well, this post will share some other non-plastic, quick purchase ways to decorate for Halloween.
Make a ghost:
Simple-grab a sheet, draw a face, put some stuffing in the head, tie a string around the neck and hang it on your porch or a tree.
Feeling a little more motivated? Make a field of ghosts.
Take a piece of wood or cut it into a shape. Paint it in Halloween style and stick it in the ground or on top of a piece of hay.
Make your own out of clay or buy one made of clay. You can still add a light inside and reuse it for years to come without adding plastic to our environment.
Gourds make great Halloween decorations! Buy them plain or already decorated.
Share your ideas to unplastic Halloween below!
The National Retail Federation estimated that in 2015, more than 157 million Americans planned to celebrate Halloween. Total spending in 2015 was estimated to be $6.9 billion, with the average American celebrating spending $74 on decorations, candy, costumes and more. Estimates for 2016 spending is 8.4 billion dollars. That’s a lot of stuff. If you go into any retail store, you will quickly see a lot of those sales items are made from plastic.
Helping to clean up our environment can seem overwhelming. However, when each of us pitches in, even a little it can add up to a BIG difference. Let’s take a look, for example, at what the trick-or-treaters will use to collect their goods.
I don’t know about you, but when we were kids we used pillowcases and so did most of our friends. What about a small basket?
If every child used a non-plastic collection device, just think how many plastic pumpkin buckets could be avoided. If we don’t buy them, guess what? Retailers won’t order them. Just think of the millions of plastic treat collection containers that could be eliminated! An added benefit-you can save a few dollars using something you already own. A win-win.
What tips do you have to unplastic Halloween? Please share in the comments below.
Okay, so now we know two REALLY scary things about Halloween, right? Ready to make them a little less scary, more fun, and healthy? Let's start with idea number one; make a scarecrow as a Halloween decoration rather than store bought plastic decorations.
Kids LOVE to make scarecrows! It is pretty easy to do, gets them outside and keeps them entertained for quite a while. Gather some old clothing-theirs, yours, other family members. Do you have some old hats or caps you could use? A pillowcase or swath of cloth, like burlap to make a head? Maybe you would rather use a pumpkin or gourd for a head? if you have access to straw, great, if not newspaper or anything else you can come up with for stuffing will work. You can be as creative as your mind and resources allow. The best part about scarecrows is that they not only make great Halloween decorations, they also serve as harvest accents right through Thanksgiving.
Looking for more inspiration or more detailed instructions? Google “How To Make A Scarecrow”, there are plenty of great examples.
What ideas do you have to unplastic this Halloween? Have you decorated without plastic? We would love to see what you come up with!