Monday, April 12, 2010

2 Weeks left to Earth Day: Week 15: Green Spring Clean

There’s no denying, spring is definitely in the air!  One of the things I dislike about being in Florida is that the seasons are not as evident there, though there are subtle indicators if you are keenly aware.  But here in Montreal, the first rush of warmth brings every living thing to life, bursting forth from the earth and from homes with an urgency borne of lengthy dormancy.

I remember my mother beginning her spring-cleaning saga; she would wash all the curtains, sheets and covers, hanging them out to billow in the wind like colorful flags heralding the incoming season with joyful zest.  In Morocco the women would drag all the rugs up onto the rooftops to be beaten thoroughly until every dust mote had departed on the wind; floors would be washed and spring and summer clothes retrieved from chests to be laid out in lively piles for the sun to extract every hint of mildew. 

As far as I can remember my mother used mostly vinegar, baking soda and borax in her cleaning extravaganzas; I do remember Vim, a kind of corrosive cleaner she employed for stubborn stains.  In Morocco the standard cleaner was bleach, which while not ideal, seems mild compared to the plethora of products lining today’s supermarket shelves!
Fabric softeners, household cleaning products, shampoos and anti-bacterials are having some disturbing effects on the environment with serious consequences not only for wetland and ocean biodiversity, but threatening human wellbeing too. Studies continue to demonstrate the negative impacts resulting from the use of such products and we would be prudent to pay attention and change our household cleaning strategies.  As I always say, we’re all interconnected and this Earth is like an insulated space ship whose precious living systems are slowly deteriorating to the point of no return.  If we are to survive as a species, we must listen to the canary that is no longer singing, and the butterflies, the bees, the frogs and the fish that are quite simply just dying off.

So, lets educate kids about the effects of household products and inspire them to take action, to teach their parents and families how to make good, ecologically friendly cleaning products that will cost less and ultimately make everyone feel better!

Lesson Plans
 1.  Where does our water go?  Many children (and adults for that matter), don’t really understand the flow of water once it leaves our homes.  This Water Science for Schools webpage has some of the answers. 
2.  Teach children what is meant by “Nonpoint-source pollution”.  This means that the solution cannot be traced back to a single origin or source such as stormwater runoff, water runoff from urban areas and failed septic systems.  Here is a Lesson Plan for Grades 4-8, called Down by the River and here is another Website that could be helpful.  
3.  May,  is Wetlands month is the USA and the EPA  has some suggestions for learning about wetlands near you.  Explore the nearest wetlands with your students and learn how they impact your lives.  Remember that wetlands play many different Roles – share some of  these with your students.  Who Polluted the River is another Lesson Plan you can use.
4.  What can you do?  Here are some of the Do's and Don'ts around the home!  Demonstrate to students how easy it is to make eco-friendly cleaning products with simple ingredients found in most homes. 
Here are a list of some that will get your started:

Well, the interconnections are becoming more and more obvious, as Studies  continue to demonstrate.  
What goes into the ground, seeps into the water tables and subsequently affects all life.
Green Action of the Week!
 Invite kids to show their parents how to make one “eco-friendly” cleaning product!  If everyone began to do this, the waterways of the world would soon be clean again.  Show them how Dr. John Todd's  Green Eco-Machine uses plants and natural systems to clean water!

Story Earth Day Story   What Can I Do?

We're almost to Earth Day!  I hope spring has sprung in your neck of the woods, (that is if spring is in your hemisphere!) I am beginning a new CD tomorrow, if you would like to be a part of this project I'd be grateful for your help - visit the Kickstarter page to find out how!
Have a great week!
In gratitude for life, and this magical Earth!

Photo of the house on the St. Lawrence River, by Philipp Hienstorfer

No comments:

Post a Comment