Raising an eco-conscious generation
Each generation has its responsibility to pass along lessons of the world to the future generation. As parents, it is our responsibility to strive every day to make the world a greener place for not only ourselves, but also for our children. What better lesson could we pass onto them than the importance of preserving the earth and its most precious resources for their future as well as the futures of many others yet to come?
To help you raise green kids, here are some eco-friendly tips for families:
My son is 18 months old. He loves bath time. He could play with the water gushing from the faucet into the tub for hours. When we turn off the water once his infant tub is full, he cries. But we tell him that we can't use any more water. That we must conserve the water so we can share it with everyone else in the world. Is it possible (or fair) that our not-yet two-year-old must comprehend the crucial lesson of water conservation? Perhaps not, but we're planting a seed.
When your child has colored all over a piece of paper, does he toss it aside and reach for a new piece? Show your child that there is a brand new clean sheet — right on the other side of the piece he just finished drawing on. Something as simple as this can help your child understand the importance of minimizing waste.
Set up color-coded recycling bins in your home for paper, plastics, aluminum, and glass. Teach your children what type of trash goes into each container and let them help you sort your recycling and take it to a recycling center in your area. By seeing the impact of what he is doing, your child is more likely to get involved.
If you take your child to a park or through a nature preserve for a hike, explain the importance of being kind to our planet so she can ensure that parks and preserves will be around to enjoy for years to come. If you take him to the zoo or read a book about dinosaurs, explain the meanings of words like endangered and extinct. Incorporate lessons about the preservation of our natural surroundings, resources and wildlife into everyday conversation.Check with your local zoo, botanical garden or department of parks and recreation to see if they have events or programs to help educate your child on the importance of eco-consciousness. Get your child involved with an environmental activist group or a youth-specific organization that gives back to the community.Today's youth-focused cartoons and television programs are riddled with lessons on conservation, earth awareness, and recycling, but the television can't be the only place our children are getting this message. It needs to come from the parent in the way of leading by example. Be sure you do your part — and not just when your child is watching. Organize a carpool, turn the lights off when you leave the room, and pack reusable containers/lunchboxes for on-to-go meals instead of using and tossing a new bag each time.