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This year, Earth Day is on April 22nd and the theme is “Invest in our Planet”.
During the day, wherever possible, we take extra time to reflect on how our actions impact the environment, what we can do to reduce that impact, and what we can change to make a positive impact.
It can be daunting for an individual or small group to feel as though they have to take a global issue on their shoulder. But, even though you can see the immediate impact, each and everybody’s small adjustments make a huge difference in our journey towards a more sustainable future.
Here are 9 simple things you can do with your students to make a difference:
Help clean up trash
Organize a class trip to a nearby park or beach and pick up the trash. Some pieces could be upcycled into an art project or taken to a local recycling center!
Turn off lights and devices at the wall
When you’re not in the room or using the lights, be sure to turn them off. The same goes for any devices you have turned on at the wall – it’s estimated that leaving appliances in sleep or standby mode can contribute up to 1 ton of greenhouse gases per household to the environment (or course, it also saves money too).
Walk or cycle where possible
If you live close enough to be able to walk or cycle to school, it’s an awesome (and healthy) way to reduce your carbon footprint! If your school hasn’t already, try organise a walking school bus or cycling crew.
Add plants inside
Not only can indoor plants improve the air quality, they have also been shown to improve concentration, productivity and memory – all of which are beneficial for the classroom, not to mention beautiful!
Level-up your garden
Getting down and hands dirty is an awesome, fun, and engaging way to educate students. Start a school veggie crop or nursery, add new plants around the field; or plant trees and garden features that will benefit the wildlife, such as plants for pollinators, ponds, bird boxes, bug hotels and so on.
Creating a compost bin will go hand in hand with your veggie garden! Simply pop in any lunch leftovers and then use this compost on your garden as a natural fertilizer. Or you could create a worm farm instead.
Reduce meat consumption
Try adding in vegetarian or plant-based foods into your school’s weekly meal schedule. There are lots of creative ways to do this, a simple search online for easy vegetarian meals will bring up plenty of options.
Start a recycling club
There are many communities out there that are committed to repurposing or upcycling unwanted items. Get those creative juices flowing and turn your old curtains into cushion covers; an old pair of jeans into a denim tote bag; or give those old chest of drawers a fresh lick of paint.
Save more water
This is a simple but effective one! Turning off running taps saves more water than you think. Next time you’re brushing your teeth or washing your hands, don’t leave the tap running and only turn it on when you need it.
As mentioned, you don’t have to completely change your habits overnight, but it’s the little switches you start making now that will add up to big results. Plus, if you start making basic changes with your students, they might just take those new behaviours home, encouraging further impact on surrounding family members. So go on, pick something that is achievable and sustainable for you to do. Together we can make a difference.
Happy Earth Day #InvestInOurPlanet!