Two years ago I committed to “give” every day for one year. I did this to teach my 3 year old son the importance of giving and to inspire people to give more in their lives.
Two years later and only a few new posts after completing our 365give journey my husband and I have adopted two more children. Every moment of my day is now dedicated to giving back to my family.
This week VancouverMom wrote an article that has inspired me to find the time to write again. Along with Earth Day fast approaching- April 22, 2013 – this post is all about giving back to our planet. VancouverMom in partnership with SPUD.ca is looking for Vancouver’s Greenest Family. When you have a large family ( we are 7 plus 2 dogs) you have to consider the carbon footprint you make every day. We make choices in our family on a day to day basis to make a positive impact on the environment. After completing 365 “gives” I came to realization that many of our daily gives were giving back to the planet. We have started to teach our 2 year old many of these green lessons and our 1 year old will soon follow.
365give Top 10 Ways to Give Back to the Planet.
Just follow the link for a full post on each daily give and you too can change the world one day at a time.
Walk, walk and walk some more. We committed to being a one car family a long time ago. The one car we do have is an eco-friendly car (a 7 seater at that!) and we walk, bus and bike our way around our neighbourhood, to work and to school. This give will help you discover your carbon footprint by using alternative methods of transportation. We saved .52 tons of CO2 by just walking to complete our daily activities instead of driving. What about you?
My Bag and Me is still one of my son’s favourite stories and is fast becoming his younger brothers. This story is about a boy that brings a shopping bag to the grocery store and how it helps the planet one bag at a time. During our year of giving we brought bags with us shopping to Whole Foods. With every bag we bring and fill with groceries Whole Foods donates 10 cents to a local charity. We calculated a donation of over $50.00 that year and we helped the planet one bag at a time. Giving at it’s best!
I have 3 boys and I can only imagine the number of running shoes we will go through in the coming years. Not only have I kept my oldest son’s shoes to reuse for his younger brothers but when they are truly worn out including my own and my husbands we bring them to a Nike Store. Nike’s Reuse a Shoe Program turns old shoes into playing courts for kids to use again and again.
This green give featured a book called How to Reduce your Carbon Footprint: - 365 ways to save energy. I soon realized we were doing many of them. Find the Top 5 every day things my family has implemented including composting, recycling, reusing, energy conservation and more.
I wish I lived somewhere that I could hang my laundry to dry outside but Vancouver happens to be a very wet place most of the year and my area of town does not allow laundry lines in your yard. I researched what my best alternative may be to do our families laundry as eco-friendly as possible. First step cold water washing and second the Laundry Ball. When you do up to 8 or 10 loads of laundry a week like we do this gadget really makes a difference. Read on how you can do your laundry with a little less guilt.
I have a dirty secret. I like to garbage pick. I don’t mean dumpster diving for food but finding items for free that others have discarded and turning them into something usable. I shop almost exclusively at second hand stores for my children or on the Craigslist. I believe there is so much “stuff” already out there for kids that there is no need to by new all the time. But my true passion is finding an item that someone may have left outside their home with a sign “free” on it. I pick it up and restore it. I have done it again and again with furniture and toys. Just a little elbow grease and maybe a paint job and you have a brand new item. Take a look at the before and after pictures of a toy cabinet I still use to this day. You know the saying “someone else’s garbage is another’s treasure.”
This recipe is simple. It’s called grow your own food. You can do it in pots, in your garden, in your window sill – where every you can in your home. If you need the official recipe follow this give to see the impact growing your own food makes on the environment. If you can teach a child this environmentally friendly practice you will have made an impact on them for their life.
When you get on a roll to give every day you discover ways that can give not only once but twice in one act. Donating your bottles that can receive a deposit back is one simple and effective way to give. It gives to the planet by recycling and gives to charity by donating them. In one year alone we recycled over $150 worth of bottles, juice boxes, milk cartons and donated the money to charity. Take a look around your neighbourhood and see if their is a charity drop box you can give to.
If you have children in your life there are never enough activities to keep them busy on a rainy day. This idea came to us when I came across the site Be Straw Free. Did you know that over 500 million disposable straws are used every day? Enough to fill 46,400 large school buses a year. My son and I came up with a great way to use straws to create fun art projects. Take a look and see what other ideas you could come up with to reuse straws for creative good.
This is an easy and fun way to teach your children – even at the ripe old age of three – the connection between our planet and keeping it clean. We are in full blossom in Vancouver right now so it’s time to get out and walk with your child. Stop and smell the flowers. While you are there pick up some garbage in your community at the same time. Smelling cherry blossoms and picking up someone’s stray plastic bag will remind you it’s worth keeping our planet clean and healthy.
Our environmentally friendly practices don’t stop here. There are many daily “gives” including water conservation, eating organic foods, saving electricity and more that we do every day. (Day 7, Day 10, Day 25, Day 159, Day 204, Day 222 and more) 365give was a great project for our family to inspire us to give in so many ways and giving back to our planet was one of our favourites. No matter how busy your family is teaching our children the value of being environmentally friendly has to be a priority.
A special thanks to VancouverMom for inspiring me to write about giving back to our planet and reminding our family of how we do give every day.
If you have any ideas you practice in your family please share them with us so we to can bring them into our daily lives.
I beleive it is the the next generation that will make a huge positive impact on our planet. Children are being taught at home and in school from an early age how they can treat the planet with respect and kindness. I personally started teaching my son at the age of 2 and now at the age of 4 he can tell you 10 ways to help protect our earth and practices them in his daily life.
What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to get the next generation involved with their Top 12 Ways to save the planet every day. The children of the world can teach us wonderful things if we take the time to listen.
Top 12 Way To Help the Planet by the elementary children of Eagle Habour Montessori School.
- Re-use materials as much as possible.
- Don’t waste food. Don’t buy so many groceries.
- Stop littering to protect the environment- oceans, plants, animals.
- Stop polluting.
- Conserve water-turn taps off/use less water/don’t have so many baths.
- Save electricity- turn off tvs/computers/lights
- Take care of plants and animals-limit trees chopped down and use both sides of the paper!
- Don’t need so many toys! Make our own toys.
- Don’t make so many plastic bag factories. If you drop plastic bags in the ocean, turtles might think they’re jellyfish and eat them.
- Use cars less. Walk instead of driving.
- Re-use ziplock bags.
- Don’t make so many factories.
Not every give has to be for a not for a not for profit organization, person in need, or animal suffering. Giving can be as simple as passing on an item you no longer need to someone who will truly appreciate it. It becomes the double give – reusing to help the planet and giving to a person that will be in full appreciation of what you are passing along.
Day 357: Give 357 Guest Give by Nicola Inwood
Books can be a great give every single time.
My boyfriend is a publisher. Bless his heart, and I feel blessed for more than the fact that he is a publisher, I have an endless supply of books that are at my finger tips. As an avid reader (thanks Dad) and lover of stories and peoples perspectives, I have to say I feel like I am the luckiest woman in the world having access to so many different titles, authors and interesting topics.
The Eco-Friendly Home
A few years ago I was researching and reading about building a healthy home. I have 4 books in my library about environmental living, tips and tricks for changing how you live in your space to make it healthier, better for the environment and most of all inexpensive ways that you can accomplish this goal. I read through them and implemented many of the suggested strategies and held onto the books in case I needed to refer to the information again.
In my fall clean up, I had put aside a number of books that I was going to donate to the local library, a regular trip that I like to make as the local libraries where I live in Mexico have few English books on their shelves. The books on building a healthy home were added to the pile as I felt that I had benefited as much as I could from them. They were destined for public consumption and was going to be part of my monthly gives.
The Opportunity to Give
But sometimes giving opportunities present themselves and one did this week that made me smile. When you put out the intention of giving, and think that we have the perfect give, a better one comes up and this week, the books went to another home, not the library.
I have a natural health clinic that I use here in Mexico. It is a group of passionate and compassionate doctors and nurses that combine mainstream and alternative medical practices in their treatments. I have been going to the clinic for years as I use acupuncture as a maintenance program for my overall general health. This group of doctors provide great services to the public but are also very active as volunteers to provide services and educate the community on alternative health care options in the 21st century.
One of my doctors at the clinic had mentioned that they had bought a new house and was excited about building their organic garden, seeking out alternative building practices and was wanted to use as many environmental practices in the cleaning and maintenance of the home as she could. As a young doctor it was great to see her enthusiasm.
My give of the day presented itself. The healthy home books had found its new owner/reader!
At my next appt I gave my doctor her new books. Though the books are in English (she speaks about 4 languages) she was so happy to have the new books to help her on her mission. I was thrilled to pass the books forward and put them directly into the hands that could use them the most.
In your fall clean up, put out the intention to donate or give away items that you no longer use and you will be surprised how quickly the gives just…present themselves. The other books did go to the library, but I was thrilled to give this series a new home with a woman who creates health everyday in her community.
Time Commitment: 5 minutes