Even though it’s not that obvious in many people’s opinion, climate change, pollution and cleanliness in general are very big issues for our planet. It’s a slow process, but the devastating effects are visible if you search for statistics (on an alarming rate for the past few years) and Earth is definitely degrading because all the junk we, humans, produce and the poor choices we make in our everyday lives regarding our trash.
This is why it’s important to teach our children form an early age how to take care of the environment and why they have to keep it clean. It’s a hard job as there is no proper mass education in this area in most countries, but as soon as you become aware of it yourself and you can easily help your children understand and pick on the healthy habits by your personal example. Children have in ease in learning new things as their brains are very flexible and real sponges of information. You can create fun ways to show them what and how to do what they are supposed to do for keeping their environment clean and save on little things to make an impact on a large scale. Someone wise once said that we didn’t inherit the world we life in from our ancestors, but we borrowed it from our children.
It’s true, in order to teach your little ones something new, you have to know it yourself and it all begin when you start caring. If you don’t know much about this issue, you can do some research, because there are many studies that show the effects of everything we do or throw away on the climate change. There are a lot of tips and tricks you can find all over the internet and it’s not mandatory to change your lifestyle on 180 degrees. You can take baby steps if you haven’t started yet.
As mentioned, awareness is the first, but very important step in making any change for that matter. Research can help, but free observation is the most effective one. You can see the effects of exhaust gases, the CO2 footprint, the mountains of waste and rubbish next to every big city in your everyday life, in the air you breathe.
Every decision you make now, will affect future generations one way or another. As a parent, you have a very high impact on your children especially when they are young, because they learn from you, they see you as a role model, as their hero. In their eyes you are unbeatable and the only person that holds the key to absolute truth and justice, so why not use this in the advantage of the planet.
You can start with little things as showing them people on the street that have healthy behaviours concerning this as an example, explain to them why it’s not ok to throw rubbish on the street. Explain to them so they can understand how recycling works and how to live a sustainable life. They will be responsible for the future of the planet and this is why it’s important to raise their awareness on this essential issue. More time outside will help as well, because children nowadays tend to disconnect more and more from nature and all that it involves and to rely on technology to have fun and get entertained.
Respect is a sensitive issue even for adults, because may have gotten lost on the way and don’t even respect themselves anymore. And this is the first thing when it comes to this, because otherwise nothing will be effective in this field. Teach them that they are allowed to think high of themselves, but at the same time be modest and honest. Developing their self confidence at a young age and showing them understanding will turn them into responsible young adults with healthy thoughts and behaviours.
Then there is respect for other people, which comes from compassion and empathy. Bullying is more and more common in schools and on the playgrounds everywhere. The children and people in general should be respectful of others (not necessarily humans, but animals too). For example, teach them to thank the people that work in sanitation because they keep the streets cleaner for your kids to play on.
What are the 3 Rs? It’s very simple, it comes from reduce, reuse, recycle. To be more specific, reduce the amount of rubbish you produce, reuse the things that are still useful instead of throwing them away and recycle everything you can. You can introduce them little by little doing simple things. Instead of buying new toys, teach them to exchange the ones they have with their friends. Reduce the number of disposable objects you use and replace them with something that you can wash. Switch off the light when you are not using it and do the same with the running water. Tell them to reuse the paper they drew on, turn it on the other side. Also, you can show them they can donate whatever they are not using anymore. Buy them reusable bottles, lunch boxes and napkins for their school lunch. Recycling, as mentioned above, is one of the most important things you can do to save the environment. Sort your trash, put it in the appropriate bins, pay attention to the labels (some of the things you use are not recyclable) and try to find the places you can take your sorted rubbish.
Sustainable living is another level of eco friendliness, but it’s doable. You can start by showing your children how to grow their own crops, buy them solar powered toys as much as possible (or a solar powered charger for the batteries). You can have fun while taking care of the vegetables and cooking together your own products from your own garden. Reduce the carbon footprint by riding the bicycle from one place to another (like taking them to school for example). This way, not only you save the planet, but you save some money as well.