If you're a teenager, your generation will be the next world leaders, and your enthusiasm and energy will make a real difference in preserving Mother Earth. Now is the time to take on the responsibility that accompanies your environmental ideals. Environmentally friendly habits that begin in your teen years can become patterns that will last for a lifetime.
Host a “Green” Prom or Dance
Prom is a rite of passage for many teenagers, and it presents an opportunity to put together a memorable prom that emphasizes environmentally friendly ideas (see reference 1). Teens can host a green prom by offering discounts to those wearing previously owned dresses or those made from organic materials. Instead of purchasing new paper decorations, teens could use recycled materials or utilize found materials in their school to create decorations, such as cutting out cardboard flowers from cafeteria supply boxes. Teens could also use organic beauty products, from hair to skin to makeup for a more environmentally friendly look.
Changing Up School Supplies
From writing papers to taking notes, teens use a lot of paper and other school supplies in their daily school lives. This presents an opportunity to help Mother Earth by purchasing paper products made from recycled materials, and recycling used paper instead of throwing it away (see references 5 and 6). Using nontoxic printer inks and markers also can reduce a teen’s environmental impact. Teens can take advantage of opportunities to go paperless in class by turning in papers electronically or receiving report cards and progress updates via email.
Start a Recycling Ambassador Program
Clubs and volunteer activities are ways for teens to develop leadership skills and expand their knowledge. Helping Mother Earth is no exception. By participating in a Recycling Ambassador Program, teens can implement and monitor a school-wide recycling program, lead educational sessions on what can and cannot be recycled (see reference 5 and 2). The Recycling Ambassadors also can participate in community outreach projects, such as organizing school and/or neighborhood trash pick-up days.
Use a License to Drive, Green-Style
The teenage years mark a time to hit the open road. But a vehicle can add harmful greenhouse gas emissions into the air. Teens can save Mother Earth by taking steps to keep driving at a minimum and reducing gasoline consumption whenever possible. From starting a school carpool to using a bicycle or public transportation whenever possible, teens can reduce their overall car emissions. Also, practicing proper car maintenance can help teens save Mother Earth. From maintaining a clean air filter to keeping tires inflated, teens can take these steps to reduce emissions.
- ABC News: Project Green Prom: Marin County Teens Going Green for Prom
- Earth Day Network: The Green Teen Driver
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Office Supplies
- The Guardian: Come On Gang, Let's Save the World!
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Environmental Protection Begins With You: A Guide to Environmental Community Service
Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.
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