Children learn troves of life-lessons from their fathers, from the importance of hard work and honesty to the value of a dollar. As Father’s Day approaches, Earth911 wanted to take a moment to recognize all those planet-friendly values our dads imparted on us. From fixing that leaky faucet to caring for your car, here are five green lessons our dads taught us.
List and captions courtesy of Earth911
Money Doesn't Grow On Trees
Most dads are on a mission to teach their children the value of a dollar. How many times did you try to sneakily turn up the thermostat only to be told, "Money doesn't grow on trees"? All overused proverbs aside, cutting back on wasted money also cuts back on loads of other things - namely carbon impacts and household waste. For example, <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2012/02/03/reduce-food-waste-in-5-easy-steps/" target="_hplink">reducing food waste</a>, <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2012/01/27/how-to-save-energy-while-doing-laundry/" target="_hplink">saving energy</a> and <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2011/11/02/8-things-you-can-share-rent-or-borrow/" target="_hplink">sharing with your neighbors</a> are great ways to save some cash. But Mother Earth will thank you for these simple habits, too! Bring a smile to Dad's face and find out how your green routines can save a whopping <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2012/03/26/how-to-save-more-than-2000-this-year/" target="_hplink">$2,000 this year</a>. And if you're on a tight budget, try <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2012/03/07/7-ways-to-make-money-by-going-green/" target="_hplink">cashing in on your eco-friendly habits</a> to fatten your wallet and lighten your footprint. <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2010/06/28/where-your-home-is-losing-money/" target="_hplink">Find Out: Where Your Home Is Losing Money</a>
Even if your dad isn't an athlete, he probably griped a bit when you plopped down in front of the television instead of playing outside. Staying active and enjoying the great outdoors are two of the most important dad-given lessons we've learned, as getting outside is pretty much the greenest thing you can do. Enjoying the outdoors helps you remember why protecting the planet is so important, and you'll save on energy, too. Instead of setting the thermostat to the perfect temperature and turning on the lights in every room, plan some fun outdoor activities to feel at one with Mother Nature. <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2011/09/16/10-ways-to-enjoy-the-outdoors/" target="_hplink">Stuck for Ideas?: 10 Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors</a>
Care For Your Car
Dad just wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't remind you (incessantly) to change your oil, check your tire pressure and schedule your six-month service. His not-so-subtle hints are likely more about your safety than your car's, but following his advice can actually help you cut back on waste and shrink your carbon footprint. Regularly changing the oil, spark plugs and filters in your car reduces emissions and increases the longevity of your engine, which shrinks the number of automobiles entering the waste stream before their time. For even better performance, do Papa proud and check your tire pressure regularly between trips to the mechanic. Keeping your tires at the proper pressure increases your car's gas mileage. It also increases the longevity of your tires, which reduces rubber waste. Most gas stations and service centers have pressure gauges and air dispensers available. <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2012/03/22/gas-saving-tips/" target="_hplink">Dad Will Love This: Save $1,347 on Gas This Year</a>
Fix It Yourself
Even if your dad wasn't the most handy guy in the world, he probably recognized the value of trying to fix something himself before replacing it or paying a pro big bucks. Take a page from Dad's frugal book, and try fixing something before running to the mall for a new one - whether it's that clunky old toaster or a <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2011/08/10/how-to-fix-a-broken-iphone-screen/" target="_hplink">broken iPhone screen</a>. Not sure where to start? <a href="http://www.ifixit.com/" target="_hplink">iFixIt</a> is chock full of repair manuals that will make Dad proud, from fix-it guides for appliances and lawn mowers to step-by-step instructions for repairing your Macbook. And keep an eye out for finicky fixtures that could cost you big bucks if left in disrepair. For example, that leaky bathroom faucet can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water every year, and a running toilet wastes about 200 gallons a day, <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2011/04/04/how-much-your-green-habits-really-save/" target="_hplink">according to the EPA</a>. Minimize your monthly bills - and your environmental footprint - by <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2012/03/16/how-to-find-and-fix-household-leaks/" target="_hplink">fixing leaks quickly</a>. While fixing appliances and household fixtures yourself is surely admirable, any dad will tell you that it's not smart to try to fix something if you don't know what you're doing. When it comes to tricky plumbing and electrical jobs, call in a licensed professional to make sure your "improvement" project doesn't do more harm than good. <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2010/11/05/cheap-ways-to-do-a-lite-home-remodel/" target="_hplink">Do Papa Proud: Cheap Ways to Do a 'Lite' Home Remodel</a>
Root For Your Team
Remember those lazy summer days of playing catch, talking baseball or just sitting down to watch big game with Dad? He did his best to impart that tried-and-true loyalty to the home team (and tried not to get upset when you rooted for the underdog three Super Bowls ago). Professional sports carried a pretty heavy environmental footprint when Dad was a boy, but eco-concious venues, franchises and players are out to change all that. For a little inspiration, show your dad what some of his favorite <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2012/04/04/mlb-baseball-green-initiatives/" target="_hplink">MLB</a>, <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2012/02/23/meet-the-green-nba-all-star-team/" target="_hplink">NBA</a> and <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2011/09/08/greenest-players-in-the-nfl/" target="_hplink">NFL</a> franchises and players are doing to save the planet. And to green your own sports celebrations, use Earth911′s tips for eco-friendly <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2010/08/19/5-green-tips-for-your-baseball-tailgate/" target="_hplink">baseball</a> and <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2011/09/22/green-your-football-tailgate/" target="_hplink">football</a> tailgates on your next trip to the stadium. If Dad has a drawer full of old jerseys, shirts and sweatshirts that fell victim to ketchup stains and dryer shrinkage, don't throw them away! As a creative Father's Day present, <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2011/08/01/5-reuse-ideas-for-old-sports-jerseys/" target="_hplink">get crafty</a> with Pop's old jerseys and turn them into new gear to help him rep the home team (think: creative <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2011/08/01/5-reuse-ideas-for-old-sports-jerseys/3/" target="_hplink">beer cozies</a> and <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2011/08/01/5-reuse-ideas-for-old-sports-jerseys/2/" target="_hplink">one-of-a-kind wall-hangings</a> for his "man cave"). Once you're done with Dad's jerseys, take a crack at your own worn-out stash! <a href="http://earth911.com/news/2011/03/24/nrdc-epa-partner-to-form-green-sports-alliance/" target="_hplink">Pro Sports Goes Green: NRDC, EPA Partner to Form Green Sports Alliance</a>
Energy Saving Tips For Your Home
In this episode of Simply Green, Danny Seo shows you how to choose energy efficient home appliances.