There are gifts given, return gifts received, prizes won. Then there is candy, popcorn, decoration and of course balloons....

Balloons are so attractive to a child. They fly high in the sky, look like they are going to heaven...but all they do is give a momentary happiness and land in oceans killing turtles, dolphins, and other marine life. Pollute our land and choke birds and stray animals. “Is our momentary happiness at the cost of another life, real happiness?”

Parents despite knowing that balloons are non-biodegradable, non-recyclable continue to use them. Candy is wrapped in non-recyclable plastic. Most gifts are made of horrible toxic plastic ultimately generating tonnes of non-degradable waste. Gifts are wrapped in glossy paper, wasting another valuable resource --paper. Even if paper can be recycled -- not all will be nor can all be. Glitter and graffiti goes straight into our landfills and oceans. 

Parents must celebrate their children’s special day of joy with responsibility towards the environment to ensure that their children have a future to look forward to. Parents teach us to eat, to walk and talk. We are taught to take care of their toys,clothes, room and not to break things in their homes. Similarly, we, the children must be taught not to break things in our environment. 
If each parent was to plant and nurture 10 trees each year on their child’s birthday, we would be able to reduce our climate crisis to a great extent....nuturing is very important. Anyone can plant, but to ensure a sapling grows into a tree is the love we need. Children will learn to give back to Mother Nature, protect and preserve her.

We have to live and share our planet with all other species. This planet is our only home. There is #NoPlanetB. Each one of us has to live on this planet with responsibility.
Children are like soft clay, can be easily moulded into responsible human beings. Kids feel powerful when they are given a responsibility to protect something. Encourage them to protect our animals, marine life and our planet.
Sustainability is not just an awareness, it is a lifestyle, a mindset, a consumer behaviour.

GREEN BIRTHDAY PARTIES

Children can happily help save our planet by hosting green birthday parties....and it is very easy to do.

  1. Send handmade invites or e-invites.
  2. No Balloons.
  3. Reusable or biodegradable crockery and cutlery. Choice of steel, leaf , clay, bamboo etc. 
  4. No thermo coal or Styrofoam products to be used.
  5. Glasses for drinks must be reusable.
  6. Bamboo or paper straws- that too only if needed.
  7. Use reusable cloth table covers and napkins. Wash them and keep for next year.
  8. Decor can be done using paper streamers, cloth buntings, flowers, plants. 
  9. Make hand-painted posters or ask children to paint small paper/ old cardboard cut outs for decor.
  10. Activity table does not need to have plastic items to decorate, beading etc. Rather it can have clay to mould items and paint with simple water colours – no glitter.
  11. Face fainting using simple water colours -not metallic colour.
  12. No plastic party whistles or horns. Use wooden / metal whistles which can be reused for other parties, year after year.
  13. Don’t waste paper on packing gifts – neither ones to give neither the return favours.
  14. Gift responsible return gifts– Reusable alternatives for plastics which can be used by school going children , like Steel water bottles, bamboo toothbrushes, their own set of bamboo or steel cutlery and straws, Pencil and note book set made from newspaper/ recycled paper etc.
  15. Gift a small potted plant, which the child can nurture. Child can role play a parent to the plant.
  16. Paper Candy bags with non plastic wrapped candy. 
  17. Use leftover food next day or gift it to a homeless shelter or to the poor people.

Parents in a locality can also create a crockery bank with steel plates, glasses, spoons; a bank of wooden / metallic/ cloth/ paper decorations and other party items. These can be borrowed for use, by all in the locality. People can add other special items to their own parties. This will help green celebrations. Segregation of waste at parties is also important, after the party send dry waste for recycling and wet waste for composting.

Birthday parties are filled with fun and friendship. So let’s encourage all the children to make a new friend – Make our Planet our Friend.... our lifelong friend.

By
ADITYA MUKARJI 
Volunteer Chintan Environmental Research and Action group
15 year old Student, Eco-warrior
#RefuseIfYouCannotReuse

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