Children of today are used to living amidst plenty. They have more than enough of everything and are lulled into complacent living which results in much wasting of the precious resources of the earth. But the time of plentiful and abundant resources is coming to an end and it is our duty as parents to teach our children how to take good care of our environment. Children must understand that all around us people are destroying the environment at such a pace that we need to actively work to save our environment, Yes we are small – our children are even smaller – but we can help the environment. Find the answer to “How can we improve our environment?” in this article – in which passionate conservationist and crusader for the environment Charmaine Kenita explains 10 things children can do to protect the environment themselves.
About Charmaine Kenita
Charmaine Kenita is a writer, artist, doctor and collector of miniatures. She writes on subjects as varied as parenting, to decor and IoT. She is a branding expert, content curator and founder of www.outoboxcontent.com, a boutique content and social media firm. She is also a yoga practitioner, works with several NGO’s and is a believer in recycling/reuse. She is passionate about the environment and believes that everyone especially children can be the impetus for change.
10 things Children can to do save the environment
“We take for granted what we have in abundance”, goes an old saying. Take a look around and you will notice how true this is. From the food we eat which we have a surplus of, to the clothes we wear that are discarded as fast as they are bought, we’ve grown to take abundance as our birthright and often don’t realise what it does to us and our environment.
Environment is a term that covers so much. At one end of the spectrum it is the trees and the greenery, on the other it is the air and the mud. We lie in between all of this, surrounded by it. This environment is just one, the earth is singular. It cannot be replicated, replaced, inverted or started anew. We know this so well, and yet in our ignorance, in our smugness, in our complacency, we fail to notice how the little and big things we do are gradually, slowly and insidiously impacting it in a major way.
The impact on the environment hasn’t started now, but has been happening since centuries. As adults we have largely to an extent ignored the changes, or lived in a false belief that the changes are temporary. In the last four decades alone, this destruction has accelerated. Our plastic and straws are filling up our oceans choking sea life, rampant cutting of trees is causing deforestation and famines, our wildlife is being destroyed and precious resources wasted.
How have we let our earth reach this stage? What can we do about it now? What kind of interventions will slow down the process?
Given the reports, research and data that is out there, the environmental degradation in the last few years has been huge. Almost 40% of rare species of animals and plants have been almost totally wiped out, 20% of earth’s glaciers are melting away every year, 3/4th of the plastic we use is finding its way into our water and earth killing fish and animals.
For us to stop or reverse the changes at least partially, we need to begin with our actions now and mainly through our children.
Children are like a blank slate on which nothing has been written. They haven’t watched how we’ve destroyed nature by our actions in the past. They can be taught to impact the environment in a way, that is positive and with empathy. Safeguarding nature isn’t a hobby to be indulged in over the weekends. When we elders change our habits and show children through our actions, it is only then can something significant happen.
How do we make children protect their own environment?
By teaching them simple things, and handing over simple responsibilities, with a passion that only comes from something done early in their life. Habits that become their second nature ingrain in them a lifestyle change.
Here are 10 very simple habits that they can be taught to follow, both inside and outside the house
INSIDE THE HOUSE
- We are what we eat. Children have to be made aware of this when very young. Teaching them the value of food, where it comes from and how much of effort that goes into growing it will stop them from wasting it.
- Teach them the value of clothes and that it isn’t necessary to buy something new every time. With changing fashions and the amount of clothes discarded throughout the world, we need to make kids aware about the amount of work and water that goes into making a single piece of clothing
- Make them switch off plugs, lights and appliances when no one is in the room. Wastage of electricity mainly happens through these means which we don’t realise
- Printing of paper and its irresponsible use causes much wastage. Children must be taught to use only so much that is necessary
- Using air-conditioners, imported gadgets and appliances are great for convenience but increase our carbon footprint. Teaching kids to breathe fresh air, walk outside, put in physical effort helps the body stay fresh and rejuvenated and keeps them healthy
OUTSIDE THE HOUSE
- Teach them about plants, flowers and fruits, not just about what we get from them but also how they impact the delicate balance of bees, animals and life. Our cities are losing greenery at a rapid pace, and it is up to us and our kids to ensure we respect and value every kind of tree and plant if man has to survive
- Make children look after plants and animals. Watering them, feeding them manure, being gentle with insects are all ways to develop empathy in kids. Children who empathise, grow up into adults who genuinely care for a cause.
- Make them walk or cycle rather than drive. Our actions must have minimal impact on the environment and the only way this can happen is when we live and move consciously.
- Help them pick up plastic wherever they see it lying around. Keeping our environment healthy is an onus that lies with us. Storing away wrappers, plastic bags and other discards to be thrown later in the bin is practicing conscious living
- Discipline is one word we all are familiar with but rarely practice. When children are taught to be disciplined in the way they use the roads, follow traffic rules, help out others, be responsible for their environment, look after water and trees, it becomes a part of them as they grow.
Children are like raw clay. They can be shaped and formed into people who think from within outwards, putting the needs of what’s around them first before themselves. This is the only way we are going to preserve what we have. Since we have only one earth, the onus to taking care of it is with us too.