Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
One big concern that parents often have about going green is how they can get their kids involved and help them to develop their own affinity for protecting our one home. In a society where where the cultural norm is to consume as much as you can as fast as you can with little regard for the consequences, it is vital that parents start to cultivate some green values within the next generation.
What we need are kids who can step up to be leaders and pioneers. Kids who will realize the importance of community and that it extends beyond themselves to everyone around them and all the organisms on this planet. It is all connected. So how do we teach kids to value green causes?
1. Model green values for them. I think most parents would agree that it is better to teach by example. If we want our kids to value green causes then they must see us actively seeking ways to protect our health and the health of the planet.
2. Help them recycle. Set up colorful recycling bins and label them – glass, aluminum, tin, cardboard, paperboard, etc. Make sure everyone in the family knows that nothing goes into the garbage if it can be recycled. Beyond that, engage your kids in a discussion at the grocery store about only buying products that can be recycled and skipping the ones that cannot. For older kids, encourage them to find out how they can recycle their old cell phones, mp3 players, and other techno gadgets.
3. Volunteer your family to participate in community clean up events at state parks and nearby waterways. It is a great way to spend time together, meet new people with green values, and do something valuable for the environment.
4. Provide green entertainment. There are numerous eco board games on the market that promote environmental awareness and conservation. What family doesn’t like playing games together? There are also some really good green movies you can watch together like March of the Penguins, Fergully, and The 11th Hour. Kids also enjoy trips to local zoos, conservatories, and wildlife preserves. Opportunities abound to have fun AND educate about the importance of environmental protection.
5. Spend time outdoors. There is a popular saying that you will not protect what you do not love. With nature deficit disorder afflicting many these days it is important that we spend time with our families outside and help them grow to love nature and the outdoors. Take walks, ride your bikes together, go camping, identify birds and bug species, look for edible plants and flowers…help them to understand why YOU love nature so much and why we have to protect it.
Here is to helping your children to grow up GREEN!
You can read more from Tiffany at her blog, the Natural Family Living Guide, where she writes about green family living, parenting, natural health, safe children’s products, and homeschooling. Subscribe to her blog here.
Original post written for 5 Minutes for Going Green.