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Earth Day Inspiration: Three Ways to Get Involved

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With a little thought and planning, your Earth Day 2017 celebration can have a lasting, positive impact. Read on to discover a full array of things you and your family can do, make, and learn together to help care for our Earth.

 

Three Simple Ways to get involved

Attend an Earth Day 2017 Teach-In

The first Earth Day, in 1970, was organized around a coordinated series of public discussions and informative talks held in communities across the nation. With this year’s focus on education and climate literacy, Earth Day returns to its “roots” by encouraging and supporting Teach-Ins across the globe on April 22. With more than 100,000 events being organized this year, check your community’s events calendar, or visit www.earthday.org, to find an event near you.

Create a Family “Waste Not” Challenge

As a family, you can challenge yourselves to be less wasteful when it comes to food, water, clothing, energy, and other resources. To make it fun, devise a system—such as pebbles in a jar—that records simple actions like turning off unneeded lights, finishing leftovers, or finding a use for something that might otherwise be tossed. Set a weekly (or monthly) goal, and when time’s up count your pebbles. When you reach your goal, celebrate your victory together!

Plant a Tree

Last year, Earth Day organizers launched an initiative to plant one tree per every person on the planet by the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020—that’s 7.8 billion new trees! You and your family can get involved by planting a tree, yourselves. If gardening is just not your thing, or if planting a tree on your own is not feasible, there are other ways you can get involved, too: help a local school or organization plan a tree-planting event in your community or raise funds to support reforestation. Then, register or pledge trees to Earth Day Network’s campaign here.

 Reclaimed Paper Crafts

 

Being crafty & green is less about what you make and more about what you use to make it! Before you head to the garbage can, look at what you’re about to toss and see if you can come up with another way to use it. Let your concern for the environment lead you to look for clever and creative ways to reduce and reuse trash to make something truly special. Glossy, colorful catalogs and magazines lend themselves to lovely, eco-friendly paper crafts, like our “Roller Coasters” featured below—and you can feel great knowing there’s one less thing heading for the landfill. Just remember to recycle any paper you have left over!

 

Horizontal-Roller-Costers
Vertical-Roller-Costers

earth day 2017 step 1

Step 1: Cut 2-inch-wide strips from scrap catalogue or magazine pages (the longer the strip, the better). Fold the strip in half lengthwise twice. Repeat to make several folded strips.

earth day 2017 step 2

Step 2: Tightly roll the first strip of paper. When the first strip is rolled, tape the second strip to the end of the first and continue rolling tightly. Continue adding strips until the circle is wide enough for a soda can to sit on. Use double-stick tape as you roll to help secure the strips. Decorate the outer edge with ribbon and double-stick tape.

earth day 2017 step 3

Step 3: Trace the shape of the coaster onto a cereal box, and cut out the shape. Attach the cardboard with double-stick tape to one side of the coaster to be the bottom.

Excerpted from Earth Smart Crafts by Carrie Anton. American Girl Publishing, 2009. All rights reserved.Girls helping the earth

 

Mikaila U. was just four years old when she began learning about bees to overcome her fear of being stung. What she learned about pollination, bees’ role in the ecosystem, and bee population decline inspired her to take action, which she described in the September/October 2016 issue of American Girl magazine:

 

“I learned how important these insects are to our world [and that] bees are struggling to survive. Many are dying. I wanted to help. I thought, What if I make lemonade, sell it, and raise money to help bees? I talked to my Great-Grannie Helen. She gave me her recipe for flaxseed lemonade. It came from a cookbook from 1940.

“I added a twist to her old recipe: honey. That way, I could sell the lemonade and donate some of the money to groups that are helping to save bees. I could also support local beekeepers by using their honey in my product. And I would be educating others on the importance of bees and helping to save them.

“At first, I sold lemonade at a stand at a kids’ business event. But I wanted to help bees all year long. [My family and I] talked to a pizza place near where I live. They said if we put the lemonade in 12-ounce bottles, they would sell it. Now more than 30 grocery stores sell it, too. This year we sold about 140,000 bottles.”

Mikaila continues to educate and inspire others by sharing her experiences and all she learns via talks, workshops, social media, and her blog. She says simply, “I love helping to save bees. It’s the sweetest feeling ever.”

Lemonade stand

To learn about other ways girls are leveraging their energy, smarts, talents, and creativity to help the earth—and for more uplifting stories and exciting ideas—check out American Girl magazine!

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