Earth Day Again? 12 Easy Ways for Busy Families to Go Green

Who has time for Earth Day? You do. Here's how.

Posted Apr 22, 2012

Make Every Day Earth Day!

Here's how to make every day Earth Day!

No Time for Earth Day? 12 Easy Ways for Busy Families to Go Green

In theory, it’s such a great idea, isn’t it: Loving the Earth, recycling, reusing, planting trees, growing our own food, respecting the environment, using the right light bulbs, teaching our children and grandchildren all the ways to save the Earth. Like so many great ideas, doing all kinds of cool, Earth-saving things on Earth Day seems like the best idea ever in, say, October, when it’s far enough away to seem possible.

But here we are in April and while, like you, I meant to get all those energy-saving light bulbs, solar panels, water-saving devices and to plant that year-round, grow-your-own vegetable-herb garden of Eden, well, it didn’t happen.

In the name of busy women everywhere who would love to save the Earth but just don’t have time, I offer this list of tips, resources and ideas all in one place. If you want to do something on Earth Day, here’s a one-stop-shopping list of lots of great ideas.

What is Earth Day, anyway?

Instead of giving up on going green, here are 12 reasonable, possible, doable tips, ideas and resources you can use with your family to help save the environment and its inhabitants. We can’t all have a compost station out back and only eat what we grow or kill ourselves. But we actually do lots of small things, make small changes in our daily habits that will make a big difference in the external environment—and set a good example for our kids and grandchildren about how to be good stewards of our Earth.

How to go green

Make it a family project: Like with any life change, we need to rally our troops. For example, when we’re trying to quit a bad habit or start a new good one, experts tell us to share the news so everyone around us is supportive and doesn’t derail our efforts. Going green is the same, only it’s a goal we set for the whole family, not just for mom! Get everyone involved and invested. Make it a game, create a competition, have rewards, set goals, tie it to family time. Do whatever you need to make it fun. Maybe every person in the family picks one way to go green, or maybe the whole family works on one project together.

Start simple with 50 simple things:

First, check out John Javna and his daughter, Sophie’s bestseller The New 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth. It’s a revised version of Javna’s self-published best-selling book that gave us all specific, concrete and easy ways for families to help the environment. Here’s a great piece in the Huffington Post by the Javna family explaining their organization, EarthWorks, and their highly readable website:, which is full of excellent tips and big ideas on how we can all do even more – and why we must.

He offers realistic options that aren’t overwhelming. His philosophy: "Pick something you really care about that's going to make a lot of sense," he said. "Look for things that don't totally disrupt your life, that are going to have long-term consequences."

Find more great tips and resources: No Time for Earth Day? 12 Easy Tips for Busy Families Trying to Go Green

About the Author

Pam Cytrynbaum

Pamela Cytrynbaum teaches at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

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