For most of the country, April is when trees and flowers start to bloom again. We here in Florida don’t see the earth renew itself each year like families up north, but we do enjoy nature’s bounties in other ways. Clearwater Beach and the Hillsborough River are just two of the many natural beauties the bay area has to offer.

President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage for your children and your children’s children.” Teddy truly understood that nature is not a place but our home and it should be preserved and protected for future generations. Many see this idea of preservation as the catalyst of the green movement. To help celebrate the 44th anniversary of Earth Day here are some simple, no nonsense ways your family can help the environment.

1.    Remove your home address from junk mail lists by visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website. According to a Wall Street Journal article from 2011, the US Postal Service estimates that junk mail accounts for almost half of all delivered in 2010. Visit www.consumer.ftc.gov.
2.    Disconnect all chargers and electronics from outlets when not in use. According to the US Department of Energy, products that are switched off consume 75% of all electricity used to power electronics.
3.    Replace your disposable cup with a stainless steel, BPA-free beverage container. Not only will you be sparing yourself from whatever harmful byproducts are in disposable cups, but you’ll be removing hundreds of pounds of trash over a lifetime from landfills.
4.    Print and photocopy only when absolutely necessary. Decrease the amount of paper your family uses by reusing those that have writing on one side only.

These are all things that can be done with your kids. Getting your kids involved in reducing your family’s impact will not only lighten the load on you but teach them the importance of our natural surroundings.

Tampa Bay Parenting has a first ever Plant a Veggie Contest right now. Visit TBParenting.com/mosaic and submit a picture of your family working on or planting veggies in the garden. The photo with the most votes will be selected the Grand Prize winner. Official rules posted online.