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17 Easy Steps To Throw A Green Birthday Party For Your Kid

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Children’s birthday parties are colorful, happy, full of fun, laughter, loud music and screams of joy. There are gifts given, return gifts received, and prizes won. Then there is candy, popcorn, decoration and, of course, balloons.

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Balloons are very attractive to a child. They fly high in the sky, look like they are going up to heaven, but all they do is bring momentary joy and land in oceans, ending up killing turtles, dolphins, other marine life. They pollute our lands and choke birds and stray animals. Is our momentary happiness at the cost of another life, real happiness?

Despite knowing that balloons are non-biodegradable and non-recyclable, parents 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, and are wrapped in glossy paper, wasting another valuable resource, i.e., paper. Even if paper can be recycled—not all will be, nor all can be. As for the glitter and graffiti, they go straight into our landfills and oceans.

Parents must celebrate their child’s special day 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 our toys, clothes, our room and not to break things in our homes etc. Similarly, we, the children, must be taught not to destroy our environment bit by bit.

If each parent were to plant and nurture ten trees each year on their child’s birthday, we would be able to reduce our climate crisis to a great extent. Nurturing is very important, anyone can plant a seed, but to ensure that a sapling grows into a tree is the kind of love we need. This way, the children, too, will learn to give back to Mother Nature, and protect and preserve her.

We have to live and share our planet with all the other species. This planet is our only home. There is #NoPlanetB. Each one of us has to live on this planet and be responsible for it.

Children are like soft clay and can be easily moulded into responsible human beings. Kids feel a sense of power when they are given a responsibility to protect something. We should encourage them to protect our animals, marine life and our planet. Sustainability is not just awareness; it is a lifestyle, a mindset, a consumer behavior.

Here are a few simple steps to celebrate birthdays that would, in turn, help celebrate our planet:

  1. Send handmade invites or e-invites.
  2. No balloons.
  3. Reusable or biodegradable crockery and cutlery. You can choose steel, leaf, clay, bamboo, etc.
  4. No thermocol 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, and plants.
  9. Make hand-painted posters or ask children to paint small paper/old cardboard cutouts 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 watercolours, no glitter.
  11. Face painting can be done using simple watercolours, 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 gift-wrapping, neither for the ones you give nor for the return gifts.
  14. Gift responsible return gifts such as 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 notebook set made from newspaper/recycled paper etc.
  15. Gift a small potted plant, which the child can nurture. The child can play a parent to the plant.
  16. Paper candy bags with non plastic wrapped candy.
  17. Use the leftover food the next day or give it to a homeless shelter or the poor people.

Parents in a locality can also create a crockery bank with steel plates, glasses, spoons, and 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 with 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: our planet, our lifelong friend.

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  1. Aditya Mukarji

    very informative

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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