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It’s officially spring, and Earth Day is fast-approaching. It’s the time of year that reminds us of the joys of being outdoors. It also reminds us that there’s no better time than now to assess how we’re treating our planet and self-reflect on how to be better global citizens. We all know the gist of being green, like using reusable grocery bags, recycling our plastics and driving our cars less. Instead, we compiled some new tips to be more proactive in adopting a greener lifestyle and advocating for the environment.

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Involve children.

It’s never too early to start teaching our youth good habits. Forming those habits will help them understand the importance of protecting the environment. They’re next in line to inherit this world, so adopting green habits early will set them on the right path. If you’re enjoying the weekend with your children or babysitting your niece or nephew, use this season as an opportunity to get them outside. 

Engage in fun outdoor activities like playing sports in the park, hitting some trails on foot or bike, and paddling across a lake. (We have several recommended parks and outdoor spots in the Mid-South to explore.) Make it a game by collecting trash on trails or in bodies of water and see who can pick up the most. Children in the early childhood stages enjoy nature scavenger hunts and talking about the different colors and textures of leaves, grass, flowers and bark. 

Teach them how nature works by letting them plant flowers, trees, produce and herbs in your garden or in some pots. They’ll grow more appreciative of foliage and vegetation as they watch them bloom and even cook them in their next meal.

Join a cleanup.

Make your neighborhood more livable and beautiful by joining a cleanup event. Our friends at Clean Memphis organize volunteer opportunities in Memphis each month to pick up trash in parks and neighborhoods. Bring your children on the next cleanup and they’ll think twice about dropping that gum wrapper on the ground. When you’ve finished a cleanup, talk about the items that were found and identify what can be recycled and what can’t.

Take a quiz.

We may think we know everything about our environment from reading about it in the news and living in it every day, but there’s so much more that most of us don’t realize when it comes to biodiversity, clean energy and endangered species. Test your climate literacy through this selection of Earth Day quizzes and start educating yourself today.

Contact your local officials.

There are several environmental issues and opportunities that your local government has the power to address. Drive change on a cause that’s important to you, whether it’s improving recycling systems or eliminating environmental racism, and contact them to push for legislation. You can also volunteer for or donate money to several organizations, like the Environmental Defense Fund or the Natural Resources Defense Council, that are fighting for government officials to pass laws for a cleaner planet.

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Earth Day is the perfect time to assess our efforts in serving the planet and evaluate what we can do better in our everyday lives. We hope you join us in taking these extra steps, so we can all enjoy springtime in fresh air.