Raising Eco-Friendly Kids

For the ecologically-conscious citizen, it’s important to do good things to provide for a clean future for our kids. Yet it’s also important to make sure that our kids appreciate and preserve that clean future, and it takes education to make that happen.

What’s great about environmental education for kids is that it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You can take your kids through everything from dinosaurs through fossils and fossil fuels, then into mining and the economics of reducing your use of electricity. Show your kids the family electric bill and explain the impact of even a small reduction in consumption. Motivate them to participate by giving them some of the savings to spend on themselves.

The result is a learning experience that pays real rewards to the kids and lets them see tangible results far sooner than what you’d see from an improvement in air quality or a reduction in groundwater pollution.

So what about those lessons? What kinds of things should we be talking about with our kids to get them to be wise about the environment?

The Science

The first thing kids need is age-appropriate education about the science behind environmental problems. There are plenty of online resources you can find. Show them photos of fossil fuel combustion, emphasizing the contents of the black smoke being produced. Then show them how London and other cities were enveloped in soot and ash in the early years of the Industrial Revolution.

Once they’ve established how destructive fossil fuels are, show them how Orange County solar companies are generating clean energy without the side effects of years gone by. They’ll understand quickly why it’s important to go green.

The Mindset

Reducing our carbon footprint is best done when we condition ourselves to think green all the time, instead of trying to memorize a long list of environmental steps. That’s why understanding the science of the environment first is so important.

Let your kids see the decisions you make, and give them a window into the decision-making process. Don’t just say, “Let’s go for a walk.” Tell them that you’re choosing to get away from technology for an hour or so and get some fresh air. That will demonstrate that you aren’t just exercising but that you’re also unplugging and, consequently, reducing your energy use. Once they put down their devices and join you, they’ll see benefits for their minds and their environment.

The Strategies

So now the stage is set. Your kids will know why the environment matters and how their actions affect it, and they’ll be in the proper frame of thought to act accordingly. Now it’s time to help them put themselves to work as green consumers.

Work with them on the ways that they consume. It may not seem like younger kids would be doing a lot, but you’ll soon see otherwise. Help them calculate the amount of water used in taking a shower instead of a bath. Determine the electricity that’s consumed by just one light bulb left on all day while they’re at school. Carry that into the impact on your power bill. Use thermometers to register high and low temperatures in a given room of the house with blinds open one day and closed the next.

You get the idea. Make it relevant to their lives and make it real, and soon they’ll internalize things that may have taken you years to latch onto.

Most people cite their kids as one of their main motivations for going green, but we’re falling short if we don’t also educate them to do likewise for their own kids. It’s only in this way that we can preserve our world perpetually.

Comments

  1. Great post! It’s very important to raise eco-friendly kids these days especially with global warming. We can’t reverse what’s been done to the Earth but we CAN raise our children to be more cautious of the environment than their elders were. ~J~

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