April 21, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Eileen Clarke on PBS’ Earth Day specials

PBS Kids Share the Earth Day
(PBS, April 21, check local listings)

As adults, we can get so wrapped up in our day-to-day lives, our to-do lists, our phone calls, our e-mails, that we forget to just be. And be grateful for the simple things, like the sun on our faces or the wind at our backs. Or running water every time we turn on the tap. Kids, if taught early about the environment, can be our gentle (or not-so-gentle ) reminders. ”You’re supposed to turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth,” my 6-year-old son will tell me.

So to commemorate Earth Day and get those little minds thinking about how they can give Mother Nature a hand, PBS Kids is offering a special two-hour block of programming.

On It’s a Big Big World, it’s time for spring cleaning, and Snook the sloth discovers that all the inhabitants of the World Tree (two marmosets, a turtle, a red-eyed tree frog, an anteater, and a monkey) are throwing their trash on top of each other. Eventually they learn about recycling as a way to reduce the about of refuse they produce. In another segment, Winslow the marmoset is trying to take a nap under a big sunflower, but gets annoyed when he thinks someone is moving the plant. In the end, he learns about the power of the sun and its effect on plant and animal life.

The environmental theme continues in shows like Clifford the Big Red Dog, Dragon Tales, Maya & Miguel, Arthur, and Postcards From Buster, as well as music videos from the kids’ rock band Milkshake.

Perhaps after viewing some of PBS’ lineup, little ones will be inspired to clean up the earth, or at least show an appreciation for it — my son promptly went outside and drew a rainbow.

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