With so much fanfare going on about Earth Day I can’t help but reminisce about my child hood days. Growing up, Earth Day was every day; we were taught to give back to Mother Earth what she so graciously gives us on a daily basis. Everything came from the earth, so we knew we had to treat Mother Earth with some reverence. We had an innate ability in giving back to the earth without even thinking about it, it was an endless efficient circle of reusability. During my last visit home I watched a young boy take rinds from the food that the mother was preparing in the kitchen to feed the animals that were in the courtyard, and it hit me; gosh these healthy chickens, goats etc running around strive on nothing but the leftovers from the kitchen, the natural grass. Even their waste is naturally going back to the very earth as organic manure.
As Parents, we face many issues, however diet and health remains a fundamental issue for us that needs to be elevated on our list of priorities. After all, feeding our kids is the first, most basic thing we do to nourish their bodies and their minds. Recent research from world renowned Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia confirmed what many parents instinctively know – an organic diet is better for children. The study showed how pesticides used on conventional products show up in children’s blood. Although the long term effects of these pesticides are unknown, who want to take a chance with their child’s health?
Processed foods contain sugars, salt, additives, and preservatives in an effort to extend the shelf life of products. That’s great for the big food conglomerates but it is horrible of the consumers that purchase these products. Beyond the excess sodium, the massive amounts of high fructose corn syrup, and the dehydrating sodium that fills these foods, the chemical additives are unnecessary evils that serve our bodies no purpose. Why would you ever put anything into your body or your child’s body that doesn’t serve a positive purpose?
Earth Day also reminds us that when we embrace green living we are proactively doing our part to take care of the planet. There are so many people who are living testaments to this fact. Someone who immediately comes to mind is Laura Turner Seydel.
Last week Yummy Spoonfuls had the honor to participate in an Eco Trunk Show at the home of Seydel, Chairperson of the Captain Planet Foundation. Laura’s home – known as EcoManor. EcoManor (http://www.ecomanor.com) is the first Gold Certified LEED Home (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) in the Southeast. Serving as an educational tool, EcoManor has reached builders, architects, designers, landscapers, vendors, educators and homeowners to promote green living, conservation, and improved residential building practices.
Laura has been a long term advocate for the environment. She has founded, co-founded and holds various leadership roles in environmental organizations locally and nationally. She acts as Chairperson of the Captain Planet Foundation, an organization that focuses on educating children about the environment. “The Captain Planet Foundation has impacted over 625,000 youth around the world from a wide variety of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds.”
Being part of the Eco Trunk Show, touring EcoManor meeting Laura was an amazing way to kick off the upcoming Earth Day festivities! One thing we must always remember is that Earth Day is every day. No matter how small we think our contribution is, every small act counts.
Yummy Spoonfuls wants to share some ideas on how to kick off your Earth Day and start making some simple changes you and your family can slowly implement and continue throughout the year.
1. Learn more about the environment – Visit one of the many websites and read up on current issues. Planetgreen.com is a great place to begin. Decide which issues you are most concerned about; maybe you can join a local group to help protect the environment in your area.
2. Recycle – Start a recycle area in your garage, and get the kids to help with the project. It is simple; just get 3 large containers and label them accordingly. Your kids could create the artwork to label them.
3. Reuse – Invest in a couple of cloth bags to take with you shopping instead of using plastic bags
4. Make your plastic bottled water a reusable container
5. Switch to high efficiency light bulbs
6. Plant a tree to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions
7. Support local farms and food producers, start visiting your local farmers’ market for fresh, ripe veggies this summer or start your own garden. It is amazing what $10 in seeds can do for your family.
8. Get creative in the kitchen and plan a special Earth Day feast using local organic products.
And remember Every day is Earth Day. Anything you do to help our environment is a great thing to do on Earth Day and every day. Involve your kids in the process and don’t restrict yourself to just one day a year; put it into practice – every day!