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How to go beyond Earth Hour

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

10 Ways to help save the planet

Though you should already be turning off your lights and electronics when you aren’t using them, you and your family have a chance to join the global movement to protect the Earth by turning off your lights for Earth Hour this Saturday at 8:30 p.m. (all time zones). Even better, Earth Hour wants to get your kids excited about saving the planet and has appointed Pocoyo, a cute animated character, as the first Global Kids Ambassador of Earth Hour to help kids and their parents go Beyond the Hour. Here’s more on Beyond the Hour and 10 ways to help kids become more environmentally aware.

Happy recyling family

What is Earth Hour?

If you're new to the green movement and haven't heard of Earth Hour, it's a global event that started in Sydney, Australia, in 2007 as a way to make a difference in protecting the planet, even if it's just for an hour. Occurring the last Saturday of March every year, Earth Hour has grown to encompass 128 countries, including the US. In 2010, more than 90 million Americans participated in Earth Hour; national landmarks that participated include Mount Rushmore, the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge and Niagara Falls. This year Caesars Palace and the Flamingo Casino in Las Vegas, and Times Square in New York will also be turning off their lights.

Beyond the hour

Being eco-friendly for one hour isn't enough to save our planet, though, so Earth Hour has started an online/viral initiative to encourage people to commit to being green in their everyday activities. It's never too early to become more eco-minded, and Beyond the Hour is focusing on ways to help children join the Earth-loving green movement. Pocoyo, the newly appointed Kids' Ambassador, will be reaching out to millions of preschool-age fans across the globe, fostering "Learning through Laughter" to make kids more environmentally aware.

A Pocoyo activity book, promo, screensavers and wallpaper can be found here.

10 Ways parents can teach their kids to be green

Make being green a fun endeavor for your children and just watch them become eco-friendly adults.

1Mom and kids recyclingTurn off lights and appliances when not in use

Explain to children that lights, TVs and computers use energy, and that it is not limitless.

2Make recycling fun

Invent games such as tossing non-breakable recyclable items into trashcans at a short distance. Use recyclable materials in craft and art projects.

3Have a candlelight family hour

Once a week, have a candlelight family hour and tell stories or play games instead of watching TV.

4Watch your water use

Turn off the water while brushing teeth, take shorter showers -- and no water-hose fights in hot weather.

5Throw a green birthday party

Email invitations; choose reusable kid-friendly cups and plates; and create a craft activity for kids to take something home instead of wasteful goody bags.

6Carpool

Double the efficiency of your car by carpooling to pre-school.

7

Buy Earth-friendly back-to-school products

Choose recycled pencils and notebooks, PVC-free shoes, hemp backpacks, and organic cotton clothes or re-used clothing when possible.

8

Family composting

Take a reusable cloth bag when you go shopping – decorate bags with your kid.

Americans use 380 billion plastic bags every year. In addition to being manufactured from fossil fuels, plastic bags degrade slowly. Buy a canvas bag and decorate it with recycled items.

9Start a compost

Create a worm composter. Almost 75 per cent of household waste is compostable. Have children fill the composter with food scraps and they will see how "garbage" becomes rich dirt they can help you use in the garden.

10Share your tips with friends

Have a weekly contest with friends to see who did the most to help save the planet.

For more eco-friendly tips and information on Earth Hour, visit www.earthhour.org.

Composting 101

How to make compost

This how-to video by the nonprofit group Kitchen Gardeners International gives you step-by-step instructions for successful organic composting.

More ways to grow a green family

10 Ways to green your family meals
10 Eco-friendly ways to green your home and family
Greening the next generation

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