Esko teacher, Ashland-raised activist release 'Zero Waste Kids'
The Cloquet Public Library will host a March 4 event for the hands-on activity guide.
ESKO — If you wanna learn how to craft a bee hotel, make napkins out of T-shirts or construct earth-friendly confetti, you’re in luck.
Esko zero-waster April Hepokoski and environmental activist and Ashland native Rob Greenfield have teamed up with a host of writers on “Zero Waste Kids: Hands-On Projects and Activities to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle,” released Tuesday, Feb. 15.
It’s an illustrated, solutions-based guide for readers who’d like to start living more sustainably.
The pair are hosting a book-signing and Q&A from 5:30-8 p.m. March 4 at the Cloquet Public Library, 320 14th St. Cloquet. Register at https://bit.ly/3oS6tiS ; it’s free.
“This book would’ve been helpful for me as an adult starting on my zero-waste journey,” Hepokoski said.
The Esko woman started reducing her waste about seven years ago. Today, she brings her own containers to the grocery store meat department, she shops with cloth bags and she regularly fits a month’s worth of trash into a Mason jar.
She also manages the Zero Waste Duluth Facebook page .
After her pivot to living more sustainably, Hepokoski began shifting her nature-based day job running The Little Barnyard Preschool .
Her experience incorporating these principles with her kiddos came in handy in her crafting 13 of 35 activities in “Zero Waste Kids,” she said. (See her “recipe” for natural-dye play dough.)
A way to start inviting children into this can be as simple as explaining that after snack time, leftovers go into a bucket for the farm animals, or, using reusable cups, plates and silverware — and involving kids in the hand-washing of the items, she said.
“It’s one small step at a time, finding a way to have fun with it,” Hepokoski said.
Other how-to guides from the book:
- Make your own recycled paper
- DIY wax food wraps
- Build a papier-mâché piñata
- Go “plogging”
- Learn what “plogging” is
Hepokoski and Rob Greenfield also collaborated on a University of Minnesota Duluth presentation on sustainability in 2019.
Greenfield is known for his environmental activism and demonstrations.
He wore every piece of garbage he accumulated for one month around the streets of New York City. He survived a year on food he grew or foraged, and he rode his bike across the U.S., eating well, and mostly, from grocery-store dumpsters.
This all stemmed from Greenfield educating himself on environmental issues and slowly shedding his car, his credit cards and most of his belongings. (He notoriously keeps his possessions to a scant 111 items .)
“A lot of people would feel overwhelmed or disempowered when they found out their actions had a negative impact. I felt very empowered to hear that solutions exist, and that I could change my life,” Greenfield said in a 2019 News Tribune story.
Other contributors to “Zero Waste Kids” are science advocate and environmental writer Zion Lights, author Michelle Cassar and illustrator Alissa Imre Geis, among others.
All sales for the book go to environmental nonprofit organizations.
Greenfield’s next book, “Be the Change: Rob Greenfield’s Call to Kids ― Making a Difference in a Messed-Up World” is set for an April release.
“Zero Waste Kids: Hands-On Projects and Activities to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” can be purchased at the March 4 event; and at Zenith Bookstore .
If you go
What: “Zero Waste Kids: Hands-On Projects and Activities to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” book signing
When: 5:30-8 p.m. March 4
Where: Cloquet Public Library, 320 14th St. Cloquet
Cost: Free; register at https://bit.ly/3oS6tiS