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Going Green with your 4-H Club this Earth Day

Can one club really make a difference? The answer to that question is YES! With more and more evidence being discovered every day about our impact on the environment, there is growing public pressure on industry and government leaders to support and create more green alternatives.

4-H clubs around the world understand this responsibility, and have responded to this growing environmental challenge by introducing new environmentally conscious projects. Whether your club has mostly animal projects or mainly non-animal projects, or a combination of both, this Earth Day is the first step to affecting positive environmental change.

This year I have the honour of presenting at the Global 4-H Networking Summit in Ottawa, Ontario, where I will speak on the topic of Going green with your 4-H club. I will be sharing easy-to-use green ideas with 4-H youth, volunteer leaders and professionals from around the world. Some of the advantages of putting in place environmentally-friendly practices that I will be talking about include saving money, spreading awareness and ensuring a clean environment for future generations.

There are many ways that your club can adopt green practices this Earth Day. Starting small is a good idea so you don’t get overwhelmed by bigger projects and so is involving your community, family and friends. No matter what age you are there are countless ways to get involved with your 4-H club and make a difference this Earth Day. Here are some great ways to start!

Save the planet with your iPhone
If you are looking for a virtual way to help protect the environment look no further than the smartphone app Litterati. This app (iPhone only) helps people all over the world identify, map and collect the world’s litter. Simple to use and free, this app makes garbage clean up fun and traceable.

Plan a garbage clean up
Plan a garbage clean up in the local park or along the highway! Work with your club leader to ensure all the appropriate safety steps are in place, including wearing reflective vests, especially if you will be near traffic. Make sure to recycle any cans or bottles and wear reflective vests if you will be near traffic.

Turn off the lights
Make your 4-H club meetings green by turning off any lights that aren’t necessary at home, in the barn or wherever your club meets.

Promote the 3 R’s 
Provide recycling bins at club, district or regional events. Make sure your club only produces waste that can be reused and actively reduce garbage headed to the landfills. Click here to discover some fun games for youth to promote the 3 R’s!

My favourite green activity is composting. Providing information and educational meetings on composting can help build understanding and acceptance of this green activity. Many clubs have gardening projects available and integrate composting as a key objective. Bringing compost bins to club events, meetings or fairs can help build up your compost bin. If you want to speed up your compost or live in the city, look into worm composting. If worms give you the heeby jeebies, try a Bokashi Composter. They’re available for sale online or at your local hardware store.

Explore tools that are green
Ecosia, an alternative search engine plants trees with its ad revenue. According to Ecosia, eighty per cent of the profit they make from ads goes to planting trees across the globe with a total over 6 million trees planted already.

Buy nothing
Join a buy nohing group on Facebook in your area. In these groups, you buy nothing, give freely and share the bounty by posting anything you’d like to give away, lend or share among your friends or neighbours. 

Not only should we practice these ideas on Earth Day, but every day! Are you going green with your 4-H club? Tag @4HCanada on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts.