Friday, April 13, 2007

Enjoy summer while saving the earth

Faye Corcuerra, like many other moms, are scouting around for events, workshops and other activities their children can engage in during this long hot summer.

Why not save the earth? Let me count the ways:
  • Plant a tree. In five years, you could enjoy their fruits or flowers (e.g. ylang-ylang) and, everyday, the refreshing shade and fresh oxygen they provide.
  • Grow your own veggies, herbs and flowers in discarded cans, milk and cereal cartoons or plastic bags; just be sure that they could hold one quart of moist soil and you poke holes at the bottom so water could drain out.
  • Recycle all kinds of paper—boxes, writing papers, bags, newspapers and others except those shiny or plastic laminated papers. You may also collect bottles, aluminum cans, copper wires and others. When you gather enough sell them to a recycling center.
  • Adopt a piece of the earth. Divide your yard into the number of people in your household and assign responsibility for taking care of their piece of real estate to each member of your family. It is daunting to be assigned to sweep the whole yard every morning; it is easier to take care of a small piece. Take pictures of the before and after of your adopted land and appreciate what you have done.
  • Learn and enjoy riding a bike, scooter or skates. Encourage each other to walk instead of using your car to go somewhere near.
  • Go leak hunting. Celebrate Easter this whole summer but instead of eggs, go find leaks in your water and electric system. If you have air conditioning, look for air leaks around windows and doors. Unplug any electrical thingamajig that is not being used and turn off lights when not needed. Read near a window or in your yard. Parents could teach the kids how to read the water and electric meters.
  • Take the number of times each of you open the refrigerator and impose penalties for those who open the door more than 3 times a day. You will not only save energy, you will also deter unnecessary snacking.
  • Talk about global warming and how to protect the rainforests, barrier reefs, etc. Surf the internet for materials and prepare a slide or video presentation; use as discussion theme during family gathering and bonding time. The kids could learn not only about caring for the environment but also about preparing and making presentations, emceeing, planning a program and others. Parents can act as mentors and coach.
  • Organize a litter drive in and around your house. Let the kids make attractive garbage cans or baskets or bags from recyclable materials and put them in strategic locations in your house. Encourage everybody to put trash in the garbage bag. The cleanest room or adopted piece of earth gets a prize.
  • Build a bath, feeder and nest for birds. Soon enough you will enjoy the company of birds and be treated to their musical interlude. For the bath use ceramic or plastic bowl that can hold 2 inches of water and hang it up high. For the nest, use carton and dried grass of leaves. String several unsalted peanuts still in their shells or orange peel and hang them from up high and birds will feed on them soon. Tip: birds also love peanut butter.
  • Take a bag wherever you go. When you swim in the beach or pool, climb a mountain, or simply go walking, take along a garbage bag and pick up the trash that you see lying around. No wonder Mt. Pulag is clean and neat, all our local guides and sherpas toted a bag with them and picked up any kind of litter they found along the way (probably carelessly thrown by uncaring climbers).
  • Find a new home for your old things. Summer is a good time as any to clean and clear your closets, drawers, dressers and those boxes under the bed. One man's garbage is another man's treasure. If there are things in your house that you have not used in the past two or three months and will not use anytime soon or don't want anymore—board games, clothes, school materials, shoes, sandals, sports things, ornaments, personal accessories, textbooks, toys and many, many others—collect them and donate them to the Red Cross, public library, public hospital or have a garage sale.
  • Precycle it! Don't buy anything that you will not use within a week. Don't buy anything in styrofoam or plastic. Bring your own basket or bag when you shop at the wet market or grocery. When you buy halo-halo, bring your own glass or jug. Reuse aluminum foil, paper and plastic bags, some food containers and many others.
There, that will keep your whole family busy the whole summer, do some bonding, fatten your family kitty while saving the earth.

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