Earth Day. There are so many reasons why from the fact that it makes me personally stop and think about the planet and my impact, to how many other people actually get outside and unplug on this day. This year in preparation for Earth Day I thought about how my family could have a direct impact on this day and also consider our trails with our daily habits.
Hike to Your Hike
Did you know 30% of the greenhouse gases released in the US are from cars? Is there a way you can hike to a hike in your area? Instead of going for the epic journey, think about walking or riding a bike to a trail or park near your house where you can enjoy some green grass and open space.
Carpool or Public Transportation
Sure it may take some extra time and be a “hassle” but for just one day make the extra effort to be one less car on the road. Just imagine if everyone in Hike it Baby did this for just one day!
Pick a Trail that Needs Some Love
While you may have your favorite trails, you probably also have trails that you think are kind of dirty and run down. How about heading to that trail for the day with a trashbag and some rubber gloves. Picking up trash whether you have a baby on your back or a toddler waddling around has an impact on your little person. Start ingraining the “take care of your trails” mentality as early as you can.
Get a Friend Out
We all have that friend who has a million excuses as to why he or she can’t hike. Too busy, too far to go, too much effort. Make it easy on them. Don’t give them an option. Pack his/her lunch, set the meeting place and go. Even better if you pick your friend up so there will be no escaping your outdoor adventure.
Find a New Trail
Pick a trail you have never been to before to explore. It’s too easy to get in the habit of the same old trails. Ask your friends and your Hike it Baby group for suggestions. You might find there are some awesome spaces in your neighborhood you have never even thought to explore.
Not Really a Trail
There’s a big old graveyard near my sister’s house that we have spent a lot of time walking around in. It’s not your typical trail adventure, but it’s a lot of green space and car free, so safe for toddlers. Look for spaces beyond your typical park or trail.
Volunteer to Do Manual Labor
Last year I planned a Hike it Baby hike on a park clean up day. We went to Forest Park and pulled ivy with babies on our backs for a few hours. It was a blast and super bonding. While it may seem like you won’t be helpful in a big public organized park clean up if you have a baby in tow, there are a million and one tasks that need to be done from handing out water to digging ditches. You can find something in between.
Park and Play
Appreciating the earth doesn’t mean you have to go be a recluse deep in the woods. Go to a local park. This might be what you do every day already, but on this day do it a little differently. Walk there instead of driving. Pack your kiddos snacks in reusable bags. Go the extra step and make conscious decisions about your outside time on Earth Day.
Think about the last snacks you packed for your little one. How many new Ziplock bags did you use for cheddar bunnies? How about the PB&J? Was it wrapped in plastic? Everyday 20 million plastic sandwich bags go into the landfill. Have you ever tried reusable bags? Get a few and we guarantee you will get hooked. It’s just as easy as a plastic bag and your kiddos will love unzipping and finding the treats in inside.
Go Reusable All Around
Did you know Americans consume over 400 million cups of coffee a day? When was the last time you bought a bottle of water? Maybe you did both of these after a hike when you stopped at a coffee shop the other day? Skip it for a day. Or ask for a reusable cup over a throw away. Think you can do this for a month? Check out Carry Your Cup.
How many toys do you have in your car to keep your little one entertained? Where did those toys come from and how were they made.
We love Green Toys on trail because they are hearty enough to handle a toddler bashing, but at also made from recycled BPA free plastic. Try leading a B.Y.O.T. (Bring Your Own Toy) hike on Earth Day. It’s a fun way to get a lot of people out. Check out Green Toys “Unplugg” campaign for Earth Day and #pledgetoplay from March 19 – April 22. This means take at least one conscious hour a day to unplug and play with your kiddos every day.
Make a Difference With Your Heart
Think about how you can make an environmental difference in your life in a simple way. Now do you think you can do that for 30 days? What about if you commit to doing that thing, whatever it is. Maybe you will walk once a week when you normally drive. Maybe you will donate some time every weekend for a month to a park or trail you love.
Shanti Hodges is the founder of Hike it Baby. For the month of April she is traveling around the Western US with her son Mason, attempting to hike 30 hikes in 30 days. Follow her adventures on instagram and Facebook @shantisos and @hikeitbaby
Thank you to our partners who help us love the planet more with their thoughtful products! Did you know the Onya Nexstep fabric is made with recycled plastic bottle nylon? Also this month get 30% off from Lunchskins for Earth Day. Code: HIB30 is good on their website from March 25-April 25.