With the onslaught of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandamic during these months, many environmentalist and activists are wondering how they can still help the planet while we’re all on lockdown. Kids who have been steadily trying to learn about helping the environment and doing their part to make our planet a better place are facing many other challenges. Many kids are not in school nor do they have access to schoolwork or technology. Parents and siblings are scrambling to find lesson plans and indoor educational activities for their families. And depending on the age of your children, there just might not be enough things for kids to do at home. While most states have put in mandatory school closures, we have to applaud those school districts that have contingency plans should there ever be a school closure for weeks on end.
As someone who cares deeply for the environment and for helping kids understand the need to protect our precious eco-system, I’m here to encourage you to continue with your endeavors. Continue with your passion to do good for the planet. And continue to challenge yourself to come up with innovative ways of changing for good. Below you’ll find some ideas for projects and activities that you can do at home and on social media. While the world may seem pretty big, we are all still connected whether through natural disasters, man-made disasters, or climate change.
Some of you may be thinking – well, why should I be worried about saving a turtle or reducing my waste at a time like this? Because eventually this too will end. We will all come out of this with lessons learned, bravery developed, and humanity united. We have to think positively and do positive things right now and for the future.
How can we still help the planet:
1- Reduce your trash. At these unprecedented times, being wasteful is not the answer. Products are flying off the shelves and many major corporations are shutting down or reducing staff to prevent the spread of the illness. That means the city may end up with less sanitation workers. Trash cans might pile up and we’re left with tons of waste that might flow onto the streets. Reduce your waste by:
*** Using what you already have at home and in your pantries. There’s really no need to panic buy. You can still use what you already have.
***Break down your cardboard boxes. If you’re not already doing this, then start this new and space saving step in reducing waste.
***Cut up your plastic and non-recyclable items. I’m not promoting buying more plastic products, but plastic is inevitable in our world so if you have it, try to cut it up into smaller pieces so they’ll fit better in your trash cans. Just be sure to sort through your trash and notice the PETE symbols. Most cities will recycle PETE # 1,2,5, and 7.
2 – Reduce your food intake. Eating is one of the coping systems most people use in times of crisis, but now is not the time to binge eat either. Eat healthier foods that boost your kidneys and liver’s powers to eliminate toxins in your body. Build your immune system so that it has a chance to fight off any infection, viruses, and bacteria in your body. And eating healthier will reduce the need to buy unhealthy and packaged foods. Buy fresh food so there’s less packaging.
*** Buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Your immune system is your strongest fighter. Buy fruits that do not decompose immediately such as apples, citrus, and any fruit with a thick outer skin. Buy vegetables that contain tons of vitamins and minerals. A good reference to remember is buying fruits and vegetables with lots of colors such as apples, strawberries, kiwi, oranges, broccoli, peas, carrots, and etc.
*** Plan ahead and make a shopping list. When we are panic buying, we tend to pick up whatever is on sale or are on the shelves. Sure, that package of Oreos might make us feel better, but just don’t stock up on unhealthy items. Items we buy or binge might end up in the trash due to expiration dates and no longer satisfying.
3 – Plant a Garden. Gardening is not only beneficial to the planet, but it is also quite therapeutic. Plant some fast-growing vegetables and fruits right now and you’ll get some fresh produce in your yard in no time. Be sure to use organic soil and organic fruits and vegetables if you have access to them. Organic will reduce the toxins that emit into the air.
*** Plant fast-growing fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, cucumbers, lettuce, beans, and any type of squash. Try to buy these that are already seedlings as seeds will take much longer to mature.
4 – Support local businesses. With many closures due to government mandate, small businesses might be forced to temporarily close to prevent the spread of the virus. Small and local businesses offer products and services locally to help reduce carbon footprint. If you must buy online, then consider taking advantage of the many discounts and free shipping rates and buy what you can afford. This can help reduce carbon footprint and support businesses that sell natural and organic products. Organic products still help in reducing the carbon footprint that taxes our precious eco system.
*** Look to support brands that are also donating their products and services at this time. Food companies, local restaurants, and such must remove their in-house food so they in turn are donating their products. This helps eliminate waste since instead of throwing products in the trash, they are giving their products away.
5 – Eating Takeouts. Because of the “Shelter in Place” or the “Safer at Home” that officials has deemed necessary in many states across the US, people are still trying to access food at grocery stores, fast food restaurants, and sit-down restaurants. But restaurants across the country are mostly closed for inside dining and offering takeout or to-go orders. But most of the time these to-go orders are in the toxic Styrofoam or unrecyclable plastics and they don’t accept your own reusable containers from home due to contamination. So how can you reduce waste in that sense?
*** Call ahead the restaurant and ask what they put their food in for to-go orders. It may sound daunting, but consider the trash that piles up from takeout foods. Most fast food restaurants place their food inside paper wrappers and while they are readily recyclable in most states, some do not. Starbucks for instance, are not accepting your reusable beverage containers. So instead of having them put a lid on your cup, take the beverage and pour it in your reusable cup. This way you’re still cutting down on the plastic lids use.
For some great recycling and waste-reducing tips, check out Earth911’s excellent ideas! And for family resources, check out CDC’s recommendations (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fabout%2Fcoping.html)
Earth911 Podcast: Coronavirus, Sustainability Changes, and Earth Day Planning
Be safe and be diligent!
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