30 Earth Lover Ideas for Children
The Kids Are Doing It For Themselves
What grown-ups do today will have a huge difference on the future of the planet that our youngest citizens grow up in.
At Stib, we believe Children are a Force For Good & have a lot to teach adults. The most important tool they have is THEIR Voice. That’s why we’ve pulled together a list of 30 world-changing actions that don’t need a grown up….
At Stib, we know being an Earth Lover can seem like you have to follow a lot of RULES and lists. NOBODY is perfect. Some days you’ll be the best Earth Lover ever and we know some days you won’t.
But that’s OK.
Because the important thing is TO LOVE where you live and make looking after our planet something you FEEL GOOD about doing every day. We PROMISE, it’s meant to be FUN, so join us and let’s prove that children really can change the world.
#1.SAY NO TO PLASTIC STRAWS
You’re out in a café or a restaurant and ask for a drink - it arrives with a big straw in it. STOP!! Do you feel brave enough to say “NO THANK YOU. I am giving up straws. This is a good thing to do for two reasons. First, it means you aren’t using a straw that can end up in the sea and second, it says to all the grown-ups around you that you are an EARTH LOVER and a WORLD CHANGER and it helps them to think again about all the straws we use. Plastic straws are so bad for our wildlife and you can’t recycle them, but we throw away 500,000,000 every day!
#2.USE YOUR VOICE
People who sell toys want to make you buy them. They care what you think. If you see toys with too much plastic and too much packaging then write to the people that made them (the manufacturer) or tell the shop that is selling it, that you don’t buy toys that aren’t good for the planet. The more children say “NO THANK YOU - we don’t want toys that damage our environment”, the more toys will get better.
#3.PLAN YOUR PARTY
We all know what children’s parties are like. They are BUSY and LOUD and it’s easy to forget about the planet when we are planning them. You have probably heard people talk about SINGLE USE PLASTIC; that’s stuff we only use ONCE and then throw away. The problem is, it takes 1,000s of years to break down and often ends up polluting our oceans. CAN YOU TALK TO YOUR GROWN UPS and send your invitations by PaperlessPost or Greenvelope? Can you serve your food on biodegradable plates, or bring some from home? Can you make some of your own decorations that you can use each year? Like material bunting made from old clothing, paper chains and pompoms? Why not decorate rolls of parcel paper as table cloths? If you’d like balloons and all the usual party bits, then take a look here for alternatives that aren’t so harmful to the environment - https://www.littlecherry.co.uk. We know everyone LOVES a goody bag, but often they are jammed with little plastic toys that don’t get played with much; don’t forget your are an Earth Lover when you are planning your party - here are some ideas to help you - www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/environmentally-sound-party-favors-goodie-bag-ideas.
Finally, it’s VERY exciting bringing all your gifts home at the end of the party, but do try and remember to recycle everything afterwards in all the rush!
#4. STOP USING GLITTER
We know. Everyone loves a bit of glitter. This might be a bit OUCH to give up, but bear with us. Did you know that glitter is actually made up of tiny, tiny bits of plastic known as microplastics. They're so tiny that they can pass into our water and end up in the oceans, lakes, and rivers, where fish can eat them and it can cause havoc to the marine environment and take years and years and years to break down, like all the other plastic causing damage to the ocean.
#5. COLOUR ON BOTH SIDES OF THE PAPER
So. Trees are great because they suck up lots of what is called CO2. If there is too much CO2 our world gets warmer; trees help keep our climate balanced and healthy. We chop down trees to make all sorts of things; paper is a big one of these. If we can use less paper, we don’t need to chop down so many trees. We all love a big, empty colouring page, but turn it over and fill as much as you can before starting on a new sheet. Or try recycling paper such as envelopes or letters which come through the mail.
#6. DON’T ALWAYS BUY NEW
Take a look at ALL the STUFF you are surrounded by. How much do you really need? Do you really need to have NEW every time? Can you ask a parent to take you to a charity shop (even better if you can also take some donations in) and see what toys or clothes are there? The good news is by spending your money in a charity shop, you are giving to some great causes, supporting people in need as well as helping the environment by cutting down on all the stuff factories around the world keep on making.
#7. MAKE SURE YOU LEARN WHERE TO PUT RECYCLING AND TO ALWAYS PUT YOUR RUBBISH IN THE BIN
Did you know a new survey has found that children know more about recycling than their parents do and that 60% of waste that ends up in the bin can be recycled? If you aren’t sure why recycling is a good idea, then have a look at this - https://easyscienceforkids.com/facts-about-recycling-for-kids-video. It’s so important to look at everything we throw away and see if it can be used again. Normally, paper, cans, some plastics and glass CAN be, so help make sure your family doesn’t throw anything away that can be recycled.
#8. SET UP A SWAP SHOP
We all have lots of things that we don’t play with, or wear. But maybe your friends would use them. Maybe they have things you’d like, that they don’t want anymore. Rather than buy, buy, buy, why not swap things with friends instead.
#9. TURN OFF THE TAP WHEN YOU ARE BRUSHING YOUR TEETH
We are very lucky to live where we have clean water but many people don’t have clean water and there are fears that the UK could be facing a real water crisis in as little as 25 years! Water doesn’t just come out of our taps; lots has to happen to get it ready for humans to drink and that takes a lot of energy and causes a lot of pollution. Think of water as a really special thing; feel happy when you use it, but be careful not to waste it. If you see other people wasting water too - you can always remind them - remember YOUR VOICE IS POWERFUL.
#10. COMPOST THE FOOD YOU DON’T EAT
“Eat your apple”, “Sandwiches first”, “Look at this pizza, it’s only had one bite out of it!” Sound familiar? It maybe doesn’t make sense why grown ups care so much, but not only do they want you to grow up healthy, but they also know just how much effort goes into getting the food on our plates. Someone plants it, grows it, then picks it, packs it, puts it in a shop, it’s then bought and cooked. That’s a LOT of energy to get it onto our plates. Rather than just throw away the food you don’t eat, did you know you can COMPOST IT - it all mushes down and becomes lovely rich soil which plants love. So don’t just chuck it all in the bin, get making some foody earth - http://www.ecofriendlykids.co.uk/composting.html
#11 GET CREATIVE WITH THE RECYCLING
OK, so now you’re a SWITCHED ON Earth Lover and you know that you need to recycle things. But next time you can’t think of something to do, why not USE THAT BIG PILE of waste to make something amazing. Have a look at what some people have made and get creating! Here’s a few of our favourite crafty websites:
#12. MAKE A BUG HOUSE
BUGS. You might think YUCK, but insects and bugs are the superheroes of what we call our ECO SYSTEM. They need safe and warm places to stay. They aren’t that worried about how it looks, but building them little piles of logs, twigs and leafs makes them REALLY happy. And you get to enjoy the fresh air in the process!
#13. BE ONE OF 3 BILLION
Ask a grown up if you can have a look at Earth Day on the internet (www.earthday.org) which believes that small changes by lots of us all add up. It wants us all to add our ‘acts of green’ to the list by telling them what we are doing, so that on the next Earth Day, which is April 22nd 2020, they all add up to 3 billion acts! You can be on that list too!
#14. MAKE THINGS TO SELL AND GIVE THE MONEY TO EARTH LOVING CHARITIES
Can you draw cards? Make cakes? Or jewellery? Can you do 100 keep-ie ups in a row? Do a sponsored silence (nah….we can’t either) or some other kind of fundraiser and ask your family and friends to support you? There are a lot of charities out there doing amazing things to help our planet. Get a grown up to sit with you and look at www.charitycommission.co.uk - whether it’s otters, tigers, the seaside, wild birds, rivers or penguins you want to support - you can raise money using your own creative talents.
#15 MAKE A PLASTIC BAG DEAL
Did you know that shops now charge people for using plastic bags. It’s the SINGLE USE thing again. Just one shopping trip and that BAG sits around for 1,000s of years. SO….everyone is trying to remember to TAKE THEIR OWN BAGS WITH THEM WHEN THEY SHOP. Grown ups are often very busy and they can forget, so why not help remind them? How about this? Every time your grown ups have to BUY A BAG in a shop, they have to pay you 10p a bag….and you get to spend it on what you like. It might be that they start remembering their bags after all.
#16. CUT DOWN ON THE WASHING
Every time your grown-ups wash your clothes we use up energy and water. Can you get changed out of your school clothes when you get home and try and wear things more than once?
#17. MAKE A HEDGEHOG TUNNEL
This is a definite ASK YOUR GROWN-UPs, but did you know it helps hedgehogs with their night time (NOCTURNAL) wandering if you make a small hole in your garden fence that they can pass through!
#18. COLLECT RAINWATER
Another water one - but honestly, looking after WATER is a BIG part of being an Earth Lover. Can you leave a big pot outside to collect rainwater and use it when you don’t need water from the tap; like watering plants, washing paint brushes, or having a water fight.
#19. DON’T STEP ON SLUGS OR SPIDERS
We know they look a bit gross but they are also an important part of the eco-system superhero team. The world needs slugs and snails to do their amazing eco warrior work, so keep them safe and sound when you see them.
#20. FEED THE BIRDS
Especially when it’s cold, try and remember to leave some food out for the birds (although not if you have a cat around, who might fancy chasing them). They use their beaks to peck the ground and eat berries from the trees, so in winter when the trees are bear and the ground is all frosty they find it much harder to get food and are very grateful to Earth Loving children who can leave some bird seed out for them.
#21. USE A RECYCLABLE BOTTLE FOR YOUR DRINKS AND SAY NO TO SINGLE USE PLASTIC BOTTLES
It might not be so easy for you to know straight away, but have a good look at the things you drink from. Can you use them over and over again, or do you have a drink and then put it into recycling? Guess what we are going to say? You are being a truly brilliant Earth Lover if you can SAY NO THANK YOU to cups, cartons and bottles that are only used once. Try carrying around a reusable water bottle with you instead.
#22. WALK WHERE YOU CAN
Can you ask your grown ups if some days you can walk to school rather than take the car? Or cycle. If you can’t do that, are there any friends you can lift share with, so that less cars make the journey each day?
#23. BE BATTERY SWITCHED ON
Lots of toys need batteries, which they use to give them power, so that they work. Some batteries are SINGLE USE, once they stop working you just throw them away - but the problem is they cause lots of pollution too. You can buy what’s called REUSABLE BATTERIES, which you can use again and again, so why not ask them to your birthday or Christmas wishlist?
#24. BE A LIGHTS OUT HERO
Better check you aren’t plunging your Granny into darkness when she’s enjoying reading a good book, but if….you’re sure nobody is in the room and the LIGHTS ARE ON, then SWITCH THEM OFF and remind people in your family to do the same. All that energy to make the lights turn on, also makes pollution, so the less we use the better for the planet.
#25. DON’T PRINT IF YOU DON’T NEED TO
It’s true that its quite a joy to discover you can press a button on a computer and see what’s on your screen popping out of a printer. BUT….it’s more paper again, so save asking grown ups to print things for you as a bit of a treat and the trees of the world will thank you.
#26 TURN OFF TVS & IPADS WHEN NOT IN USE
The grown ups in your world will probably spend a lot of time saying ‘OK. Off. Screens. Now’. But remember….when you put the screens down, also turn them OFF - as, much like the lights that get left on, they are busy using up energy that could be saved.
#27 DONATE YOUR OLD TOYS
Here is an easy one. The amazing organisation Poverty Child makes it easy to donate your old toys. Pack up your old toys in a box, go to their website https://povertychild.org/ and book a ParcelForce delivery and they cover the cost of the postage.
#28 AND THEN…..GO ON A HOUSEHOLD TREASURE HUNT
Every house has so many things tucked in drawers that could make a real difference in people's lives. It’s really important to check with your grown ups that they really aren’t using them anymore, but can you go on a treasure hunt and find:
Reading Glasses that aren’t being used anymore: https://www.visionaidoverseas.org/recycling
Old mobile phones: https://www.recycle4charity.co.uk/MobilePhones
Ink Cartridges, that have run out of ink in your printer: https://www.recycle4charity.co.uk/InkjetCartridges
Shoes that don’t fit: https://www.nike.com/gb/help/a/recycle-shoes
#29 TRY AND FIX THINGS THAT BREAK
It’s not always easy, but you will hear a lot of people say ‘we live in a throw away society’. What they mean is that sometimes we are in a hurry, so if things get broken we just stop playing with them, throw them away or buy new ones. This isn’t good news for our planet, as the more we throw away, the more we want new, the more that hangs out for 1,000s of years and the more energy and water gets used up and pollution goes into the air. If something gets broken, can you fix it?
#30. USE THAT VOICE
We know, we’ve said it already, but never forget, this is your world and telling people how important our planet is and sharing all the ways we can look after it is REALLY IMPORTANT. Write letters to people in Government and your local MP (Member of Parliament), to newspapers, to companies that you don’t think are being very environmental, talk to your grown-ups about what you can do as a family, and ask your friends to become Earth Lovers too.