“Happy Earth Day!” That’s what my eldest son woke singing this morning. Soon, our youngest son Jack, was also singing this song.
All week our 5-year-old has been coming home from school with stories about what’s good for the earth and artwork featuring globes.. wear something blue, green, or turquoise. As he says: “Like how we wear orange on Koningsdag or red on Canada Day to show we love our countries. This week we wear blue and green to show we love our earth.”
Yes – ‘our earth’. Just like he refers to school as ‘our school’. Not ‘the earth’ or ‘the school’. These are big evolutions in language from where he was just a year ago and the terrible toddler years of ‘mine, mine, mine’.
The big and the small things matter
Today is indeed International Earth Day. ‘What’ you say? True story. Since 1970 people in various parts of the world have leveraged this day to raise awareness about OUR environmental issues. This doesn’t mean just recycling campaigns, signing a climate change treaty, hosting a United Nations Earth Summit, or having marches for science, as is happening around the world today.
At a much simpler level, we can all experience Earth Day. We did this today by leaving the car parked and walking everywhere we needed to go. We left the lights off and operated mostly just by daylight. Instead of streaming background music through our iPhones we listened to the wind blowing through trees. Then we laid down in the grass looking up at the sky and answered what felt like more than 50 ‘why? why? why?’ questions about the things we could, see, smell, touch and hear.
Slowing down. Spending time together. Using our senses. Learning. And having lots of laughs. So I guess it’s not just Earth Day, it is indeed Happy Earth Day!
And there is more
Now, this isn’t just about slowing down and learning. It is about health. As the City of Vancouver – Greenest City newsletter said this week: “Why should you care about Earth Day and getting outside to play? Because kids who don’t get outside, who aren’t stimulated by their environment, won’t grow up with any motivation to protect our planet. And kids who don’t connect to their inner nature through creative play won’t be as resilient as generations before them.”
- Why Our Kids Need Play Now More Then Ever: by Sarah Goodyear
- Benefits – National Wildlife Federation This website has links to scientific studies that prove the many benefits of spending time in nature, including better eyesight and better standardized test scores!
So – for Earth Day (and really all days) let’s get outside, play, and plant those seeds for you and your child to live a happy and healthy life. Thank you for the inspiration, Ella and Jack!