Kindness for the Environment
Golden Rule Challenge: Week 4
We are extremely excited to be rounding off our month-long Golden Rule Challenge with our fourth and final week. This week, our challenge sheet asks students to perform one kind act each day for the environment. We want to promote environmental kindness in order to preserve the beauty of nature, and all that the Earth does to provide for us. Being conscious of our impact on the environment is the first step towards keeping the World happy and healthy, and it can manifest in a number of simple strategies to incorporate into our daily routines. Keep reading to find out ways you and your family can help contribute to the health of our planet!
Whether you realize or not, our day-to-day activities and the products we consume leave behind traces in the environment, which is a truth that we can’t avoid. What we can do, however, is take action to limit exactly how much we impact our environment each day. This concept is commonly referred to as our “Carbon Footprint.” Just as walking in the sand leaves a footprint behind, the things we do throughout our day leave a “footprint” in our environment. How big those footprints are – or in other words, how much we impact our environment – is determined by how much energy we consume, how much food and packaging we waste, and how mindful we are of our planet.
In order to be nice to the planet and reduce our carbon footprint, it is important to pay attention to…
Whether it’s using lamps for light or sinks for water, the energy we use on a daily basis contributes to our carbon footprint. In order to keep our energy consumption down, there are a few key strategies you can employ.
To start, make sure any lights that you have turned on are shut off when you leave the room or house. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, saving that much time in energy repeatedly will add up. This also applies to any other household electronics that we use frequently, including televisions, radios, and computers. Make sure your electronic devices are powered off whenever you are not using them.
Another good tactic to limit your energy consumption is to pay attention to how much water you use. Washing your hands for at least 30 seconds is a good practice and is encouraged, but be careful not to go too much longer than that, as that starts to enter water waste territory. Additionally, don’t leave the sink running for the entire two minutes you spend each morning and night brushing your teeth. Turn the faucet on if you need to wet the brush, then turn it back off until you have to rinse. The point is, only use water when you need it, and make sure you don’t waste any by keeping the tap running when it isn’t necessary.
Reducing how much energy we use will not only help protect our environment, but will also save you money in the long run by reducing the cost of your monthly utility bills. The less energy you use, the less you pay, both monetarily and environmentally.
Food and Packaging Waste
Another great way to reduce our environmental impact is to pay attention to how much food and plastic we might – albeit unintentionally – waste on a daily basis. In terms of packaging, try to buy only the things you need, and try to limit the “impulse” purchases. The less you buy, the less waste. Though packaging waste is a problem for manufacturers to tackle, we can help in the meantime by not buying products that are too plastic-heavy.
Consider this image of the packaging waste produced from one 8-pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (a very popular Halloween candy):
Image provided by u/Pro4791, https://www.reddit.com/
Needless to say, that’s a lot of unnecessary packaging. Though we, as consumers, can’t control how much plastic and paper Reese’s uses to package their candy, we can choose not to purchase products like this.
Additionally, a lot of food gets wasted each and every day. Make sure that when you make food for you or your family, you only serve what you are able to eat. Anything left over, don’t throw out! Instead, wrap it up and save it for another meal. When you buy food from a restaurant, only order what you can eat, and again, save anything you don’t for later.
Similar to energy consumption, reducing the amount of packaging and food waste we create will not only help the planet, but save you money in the long run!
The last way to practice kindness for our planet is through being mindful of what we see and do. It goes without saying, but make sure not to litter! If you see someone else’s trash somewhere it shouldn’t be, pick it up and throw it out. Though it may be hard to get the entire World to stop littering, we can mitigate its effects by cleaning any garbage we see. Whether it’s on the beach, the side of the road, or in a store parking lot, we can do our part to take care of the Earth by cleaning up trash.
Another way to practice being mindful is by making sure that we don’t do anything that could potentially put the environment at risk. That sounds like a big responsibility, but all it really entails is using environmentally-friendly products, like reusable straws and biodegradable plastic bags (yes, those exist!). We’ve all heard stories of wildlife being endangered because of plastic waste, so let’s help out our animal friends by using sustainably sourced materials wherever we can!
Finally, we can be mindful of our carbon footprint by… Recycling! Make sure that anything that can be recycled gets thrown into the proper bin. Furthermore, don’t forget the other two “R’s,” Reduce and Reuse. Reducing ties back to our talk about lowering the amount of food and plastic waste we consume, so if you follow that you’re already one step ahead! Lastly, Reuse is simple: give recyclables a second life by using them more than once, or repurposing them. One way to start Reusing is by keeping any plastic water bottles you use, and filling them up with filtered water to drink again. Alternatively, you can collect the plastic containers you might get from take-out restaurants, and use them to store left-overs for future meals. Or, you can find plenty of D.I.Y. projects that let you repurpose would-be waste into practical household items!
In Our Classes
In our classes this week, we will be sharing these tips with our students, in order to get them to start thinking more about how we, as humans, affect the World we live in each day. We will encourage them to make change by implementing these strategies, and teaching them why it is important to take care of the environment. (Hint: just like the reason behind each of the other weeks’ focus this month, the answer is… because it’s the right thing to do!).
To wrap up our month of Kindness, let’s all show our gratitude for our planet by practicing these environmentally-friendly habits! These are all strategies that you can implement in your daily life to help maintain the environment, and keep our Earth a safe and healthy place to live! Remember: one person’s efforts alone might seem small, but if we all collectively work hard, we can truly make a change for the better in this World!
Do you practice any of these “green” habits?
What other ways can we show kindness to our planet?