Our children are (or soon) will be responsible for the future of our planet. Sudies have shown that an early connection to nature leads children to be better stewards of the environment.
With so much talk about global warming, ecological footprint and the necessity to reduce our impact on the environment; our children are more likely to understand these concerns and theirs roles in preserving our environment.
As parents we can help develop this eco-conscious mindset in our children. We can lead by example, promote recycling, buy recycled products and get involved in neighborhood beatification and/or clean-up project. Most of all we can spend more time outside with our children to teach them about nature, including identifying indigenous animals and plants.
Here is a short list of a few things we can easily do to help them learn.
- Packaging – Help kids understand how much waste can be packaging. An easy example being the cost of production and disposal of small juice boxes versus buying a large bottle.
- Recycled – Complete the “cycle” by purchasing items made from recycled materials and using them in your daily activities.
Refillable – Buy refillable “products” such as pens and mechanical pencils. Some dish soaps, laundry detergent and cleaning products come as refills.
- Plastic and paper bags – Yes, these often get recycled but their production using a large amount of resources. Use tote bags. A large selection has appear on the market with a number of cities going to a no bag policy.
- Bamboo – Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on Earth. It can be harvested and without damaging or depleting it. Bamboo is naturally pests resistant and grows without needing any chemicals making the perfect “organic” crop. You can find anything from clothing to kitchenware made out of bamboo.
- Exchange toys – Organize toy exchanges with friends and family. Swap boxes or bags toys instead of buying new ones. Make your boy is involved in choosing which he agrees to trade.
- Lunches – Waste free school lunches. Use a cloth napkin, metal forks and spoons, reusable sandwich and drink containers. On average a single child will generate 67lbs of waste a year by packing a “disposable lunch”
- Litter awareness – Raise litter awareness by taking a trash bag on hikes and walks to accommodate your own trash as well as any you find.
Reduce – Recycle – Reuse
Make your voice be heard. You can do this in several ways. Join an environmental group, organize a cleanup day, write to your leaders, and choose “green” products while shopping; you will be sending a clear message to your store’s management, product manufacturer and others that you care about your ecological footprint.
Although most green products will costs you a few dollars extra; keep in mind that by making these choices your impact on our planet’s future is endless. And if everyone were to adopt just a few green choices what a “revolution” we could create. Leaving a better Earth for our children as well as a raising generation committed to carrying on with this eco-challenge.
If you wish to take this a step further there are a number of resources out there to help you find more ways to ‘green’ up your act. Anything from documentaries, books, blogs, websites and environmental groups.
One of my favorite’s is “Get out” written by Judy Molland published by Free Spirit Publishing. It is short, simple, concise and full of easy ways for kids (and grown-ups) to build a greener future.
In closing , I challenge you to calculate your Carbon Footprint as a benchmark for your current and future efforts. Take it again on an regular basis to monitor your progress.
Carbon footprint calculators: www.earthlab.com/carbonprofile & www.zerofootprintoffsets.com