By Kara Reynolds | Guest Writer
Whether you have kids of your own or are just around kids often, you have the ability to teach them about what it means to be environmentally conscious. Every day is a new day to make the earth a better place to live in, and instilling eco-friendly habits and practices in the younger generations ensures that the planet will be in good hands in the future.
If you want to help the environment now for a sustainable future, then here are some ways we can teach future generations about sustainable living and the importance of being stewards of the earth!
Implement the Three Rs Daily
You’ve probably heard about the Three Rs multiple times — reduce, reuse and recycle. Although the words are often thrown around in the media, they are words to live by and ones that you can teach to future generations. Plus, they all start with “r,” so they’re easier to remember for the younger kids!
Discuss how the kids can reduce, reuse and recycle items in their daily lives. When they brush their teeth, they can shut off the water and only use it to rinse. Encourage kids to choose items that can be reused, like a cloth towel over a paper one. Also, help them go through their trash or discuss things they often throw away. Are any of those recyclable? If so, teach them about how they can recycle their products to help the environment.
Lead By Example
One of the best ways we can teach future generations about sustainable living is by leading by example. Many adults tend to tell kids, “Do as I say, not as I do.” However, is that really helpful in this scenario of teaching about eco-friendliness? If you’re not living sustainably, then the kids in your life won’t either.
Model behaviours and practices that you want to instill in future generations. For example, instead of passing by a piece of trash while you go for a walk, pick it up and put it in the proper receptacle.
What better way to teach the future about environmental-friendliness than to simply educate them about environmental topics? Some topics are a bit heavy to talk about with younger ones, but you can still teach them about climate change and pollution in fun ways that engage them.
Instead of focusing on the gloom and doom of the earth if they don’t live sustainably, focus on how their quality of life can be improved if they care for the environment. Use stories and be honest with them, and openly answer any questions they have about sustainability.
Support Local Businesses
When you support local businesses, you’re supporting the local economy, which is a significant part of sustainable living. Encourage the children in your life to support local businesses as often as they can instead of relying on larger chain stores.
Ask your local schools to host guest speakers from local businesses. The speakers can tell kids about the importance of shopping locally. They’ll likely tell their parents about the guest speaker, which could encourage the practice in multiple homes in your community.
Create a Volunteer Program for Kids
Get all of the kids in your community together for a volunteer program that benefits the environment. Reach out to kids of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers. Bringing the community together for an environmental cause teaches future generations about the importance of sustainable living.
When kids do things rather than just hear about them, they’re more likely to understand the concept better. You can create environmental volunteer activities such as cleaning up litter, holding a recycling drive or planting native plants throughout the community. It’s a fun way for kids to learn about eco-friendly practices!
Get Them Out in Nature
Children love animals. Animals bring about a curiosity in children, and often, kids learn the names of animals before many other words. Plan a field trip to a local, sustainable farm or zoo or even to a nearby forest and explain to them the importance of protecting animals. You can also teach them about endangered species in your region and how they can respect the environment for the animals.
Taking kids out into the wild allows them to explore the ecosystem. They’ll likely ask you tons of questions about the things they see. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to explain how they can preserve ecosystems by their actions, such as not littering and leaving plants and animals alone.
The Earth Depends on Current and Future Generations
For people to have the same opportunities you do now, and it’s essential that you spread awareness about sustainable living. There are so many activities and practices that older and younger generations can participate in now to have a better environment to live in for the future.
About the Author
Kara Reynolds is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Momish Magazine. Mom, stepmom, and wife – Kara wants to normalize big blended families. She enjoys Pilates, peanut butter, and pinot grigio – but not at the same time.