Posted by on September 7, 2018

A big part of the argument behind environmental conservatism is that we want to ensure that our children inherit a healthy planet. So if we are going to do it for the children, we need to teach them how to continue protecting the earth as they grow. If you want to raise eco-conscious children, it’s simple– you just have to lead by example.

Your children want to do everything you do. If you show them that adults take action to be kind to the environment, they will want to take action as well. It’s also important to talk to them about why we want to protect the earth and the possible consequences that await us if humans continue producing more waste and pollution than the planet can handle.

Here are some tips on raising environmentally conscious kids.

Shop at Farmers Markets

In her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, author Barbara Kingsolver makes an argument on the best way to eat green– that is, how to choose a means of food production that is good for the environment. Her husband Steven points outthat “17 percent of our nation’s energy use is for agriculture, a close second to our vehicular use.” By buying from local farmers, ranchers, and other food producers, we reduce the amount of oil that is used to ship and store food grown hundred of thousands of miles away from where you live. Furthermore, local farmers tend to use less harmful pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizersthat pollute water systems and disrupt ecosystems. Buying from the farmers market teaches your children where food comes from and who exactly grows it. They end up with a healthier attitude towards food and your whole family slashes their carbon footprint. As pointed out in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:

“If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oilevery week.”

Teach Them How to Use Public Transportation

Americans love their cars, but that love has definitely come at the expense of Mother Earth. However, more urban areas are trying to reduce traffic and improve air quality in the city by ramping up their public transportation system. A big reason people don’t hop on is fear of the unknown– we grew up in cars and the idea of getting loss on a bus route isn’t exactly pleasant. By teaching your children how exactly to use public transportation, you are preventing that anxiety from forming and teaching them an environmentally conscious skill they can use in cities all over the world long into their adulthood. If you live in a rural area or your city doesn’t have an efficient public transportation, show your children how to use it in other areas when visiting a nearby city or vacationing in another area.

Be Green at Home

Home is where the heart is. It’s also the best place to teach your children the basics of living green. By making eco-conscious choices around the house, your kids learn that these things are normal. When they are finally adults, making the best choice for the environment will be second nature to them.

Use these tips on living green in your home:

  • Purchase energy-efficient appliances for kitchen, bathrooms, and other rooms of the house.
  • Install permeable pavers that prevent flooding and keep runoff from leaking into the water system.
  • Eliminate single-use products and replace them with reusable options as you work towards creating a plastic-free lifestyle.
  • Install motion detectors on lights that shut them off if a room has been empty for a set amount of time as a way to save electricity.
  • Plant a rain garden that catches runoff and prevents it from entering the sewers while providing fresh oxygen for the atmosphere.

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Raising environmentally aware children is as simple as leading by example. Shop at farmers markets to save oil while teaching your children about where healthy food truly comes from. Teach your kids how to use public transportation so they know how to use this eco-friendly mode of transportation. Finally, make green choices at home so doing the right thing becomes the natural thing for your children.

 

Amanda Henderson – amanda@safechildren.info

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