Earth Day 2016 – What You Can Do With Seniors to Make a Difference

More of us ‘youngsters’ are beginning to understand how our lifestyles can harm or help the earth.

We want to do our part to treat it with kindness now to protect it for our children and grandchildren.

Does your senior loved one remember when we all thought it was a good idea to recycle our soda cans and pop bottles?

We could even make a few cents at the recycling center.

The push is on to reduce-reuse-recycle.

Reusing is not a new idea for our senior loved ones, who will remind us that they never threw away something that could be re-purposed by themselves or someone they knew.

Hand me downs and re-using clothes, furniture and other household items was a way of life for our senior loved ones.

It is only lately that our overconsumption and throw away mentality has led to the need to recognize Earth Day and increase awareness about ways we can all make improvements to reduce waste and other behaviors that can harm our environment.

History of Earth Day

Earth Day is 46 years old this year and has been gaining momentum as a movement in the past several years.

Beginning in 1970, when we started to be more concerned about many environmental issues, the notion of celebrating the earth on a dedicated day — Earth Day — began.

Engagement in these activities led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

Today, over one billion people in 19 countries participate in Earth Day activities, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

Supporters remind us all that Earth Day should be every day in order to improve our environment for generations to come.

This year we celebrate on Friday, April 22.

The celebration this Earth Day is fueled by recent agreements for potential future global change that occurred at the Paris Climate Summit.

The goal this year working toward 2020 and the 50th anniversary of Earth Day is to plant 7.8 million trees to help reduce pollution, increase biodiversity to avoid the loss of species, and help our cities move toward reduction of the use of fossil fuel and become 100% renewable.

That is a lofty goal which our senior loved ones and families can help achieve by advocating change in their cities as well as making personal changes.

Activities For and With Senior Loved Ones

We can all learn how to reduce our consumption, recycle our household items and packaging and reuse as much as we can or share our excess with others instead of adding it to the landfill.

Things you can do with your senior this Earth Day:

  1. Attend a local Earth Day event to learn more about what is happening in your community.
  2. Plant a tree! In your yard or your family’s or friend’s yard, in your neighborhood, at your church, at a city park, at a playground or some location in your community that needs a tree!
  3. Downsize your senior’s belongings and donate to a local charity so that they can be reused.
  4. Re-purpose an item to find another use for it before you trash it!
  5. Begin a recycling plan in your senior’s home – create storage bins for newspapers, phone books, magazines, soda cans, aluminum cans, plastic containers, glass bottles, batteries, etc. Most cities will accept these and other items for recycling. Find a location nearby.
  6. If your city doesn’t accept recyclables, advocate for this service to help reduce the need to fill landfills and better use our resources.
  7. Plant seeds in your garden!
  8. Help pick up litter or support others who can do it. Cleaning a roadway, public park or shoreline will help the earth.
  9. Donate to a charity that helps protect the environment.
  10. Check you senior’s house for leaky faucets and pipes and repair the leak to save water (and maybe save them some money).
  11. Replace standard light bulbs with LEDs that use much less energy to run and last a lot longer.
  12. Check the tires on the car to be sure they are properly inflated to reduce wasted gas.
  13. Use reusable grocery bags when you go to the supermarket.
  14. Watch a PBS documentary to learn more about The National Park Service together with other family members, including teens and grandkids.

Creating Memories While Doing Good

This is just a ripple in the water of things we and our senior loved ones can do to celebrate Earth Day this year and every day of the upcoming year.

We know you can think of even more things you can do together to make your lives more renewable for the benefit of the earth.

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that these activities can also be enjoyable activities that allow us to spend time and create new memories with senior loved ones and family members.

It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little.

Do what you can. ~ Sydney Smith