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Earth Hour — Good Parenting

Dear Dr. Debbie,

My ten-year-old came home from a Girl Scout event worried about the planet.

I think we do an okay job with recycling, conserving water, and minimizing the use of cars, but she’s asking what else she, and we as a family, can be doing. I hope this isn’t a passing passion because she’s approaching an age at which other children I’ve known would rather oppose than champion their family’s values. It would be pretty cool if planet-saving becomes the thing we do together through her teen years. Do I have the right idea about letting her lead us in adopting some new standards and behaviors at her age?

Tree Hugger From Way Back


Age ten is a perfect age for your daughter to get serious about taking care of her home planet. There’s also no better time than NOW for her and her peers to take earth stewardship seriously. She may have some environmental idols she admires, either from personal interactions (such as a scout leader) or from afar. Introduce her to Rachel Carson  who led the way to legislation against the dangerous pesticide DDT. More immediately, she can follow the exciting progress in the Maryland legislature for a ban on Styrofoam.

You can encourage her to do some internet research to find actions she and her family can take. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration offers 10 ways a family can reduce its carbon footprint. For recycling in Anne Arundel County, be sure everyone understands the new rules about plastic bags. They are no longer accepted for recycling pick up, however they can be deposited at many grocery stores.

A fun way to bring the environment and energy conservation to the attention of the whole family, and perhaps your community, would be for your daughter to organize an Earth Hour observation. The last Saturday of March from 8:30 – 9:30 pm is designated as a time to turn off all the lights. Large scale participation reduces light pollution, if only for an hour, and the reward is a better view of the stars and planets! A bit of everyone’s electric energy costs are saved, possibly leading to new habits of energy conservation.

The World Wildlife Fund  coordinates Earth Hour with partners around the world. Begun in Sydney, Australia in 2007, the simple act of turning out the lights has resulted in wider awareness of environmental issues and a wide range of successful actions being taken. Chesapeake Children’s Museum will be holding an Earth Hour event in Annapolis beginning at 8 pm. Special guests at CCM include NASA scientists as well as an astronomer from the past, Benjamin Banneker (William Ridgely).

Children should definitely be respected as stakeholders in the planet’s future. Here are some inspiring achievements and ongoing projects of members of your daughter’s generation.

Although written nearly 60 years ago, Rachel Carlson’s eloquent words in Silent Spring are truer than ever today:  “We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.”

Support your daughter’s pursuit, and honor her rightful lead, on this most worthy path.

Dr. Debbie

Chesapeake Children’s Museum is celebrating Earth Hour as part of Maryland Day Weekend. Over 40 events are free or $1 per person at participating sites in Anne Arundel County from Friday-Sunday, March 29-31, 2019.


Click here for more parenting advice by Debbie Wood.

What do you think? Email your comments or questions to Dr. Debbie at editor[at]chesapeakefamily.com.


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