Younger generations are beginning to understand the implications of climate change; they also may learn that our world offers many nonrenewable resources that cannot be replaced. Parents might help children learn to live an environmentally-friendly lifestyle; it’s never too early to begin teaching ‘green’ habits.
Use these five tips for eco-friendly kids to help grow a greener household:
- Start a recycling program at home
- Ditch the plastic
- Plant a garden filled with edibles
- Teach children about energy-efficiency
- Walk together instead of driving
Eco Fast Facts
Parents understand that children will inherit the Earth. How children learn to care for the planet could make an impact on climate change and even the world’s dependence on fossil fuels and other sources of energy.
When children understand the environmental impacts of their everyday habits and choices, they may begin to understand how even little changes can foster greater action. Simple lifestyle changes can reverberate if everyone is committed to making eco-friendly choices.
Share these climate facts from Earth.org with kids:
- The carbon dioxide in the environment is at its highest level in two million years
- More than one trillion tons of ice melts every year
- Take a heat day! In just one year (2019), more than 300 billion hours of work time was lost to hot conditions
- Some areas might be uninhabitable in another 100 years (thanks to the rising temperatures)
How Children Can Make an Impact
Everyone can make an impact and aid the change to improve the Earth and the climate. Working together could make a difference. Here’s how children can help:
Start a Recycling Program at Home
Recycling paper, cans and other materials gives them another life. This can lessen the impact on landfills and ensure that resources are just wasted. Recycling can help with the issues of climate change, too. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality explains that “…recycling uses less energy, which translates into fewer fossil fuels burned and reduced emissions of greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change.”
Let children pick out different colored containers for each material they wish to recycle. They can label and decorate each recycle bin. Parents should research where to take different materials; some areas or municipalities provide recycling pickups, but others do not provide this service.
Ditch the Plastic
Not all plastic can be recycled, and lots of plastic gets tossed in the trash. Plastic bottles take hundreds of years to decompose. Instead of plastic bags for sandwiches, encourage children to use washable silicon bags. Ditch disposable water bottles, too. Instead buy refillable and washable bottles.
Plant an Edible Garden
Gardens and all greenery help add oxygen into the air while also removing carbon dioxide. Not only will a garden help the climate, but growing edibles like fruits and vegetables also can add to the dinner table.
Find fruits and vegetables that grow well in the climate and let children help plant and tend to their garden. They will enjoy eating the foods they grow; they also might be more inclined to try new foods when they grow them.
Teach Children about Energy Efficiency
Increasing the energy efficiency of a home might include upgrading or replacing appliances with energy-efficient upgrades, but energy efficiency also can be increased by making small habits. Teach children how their daily habits can impact the home’s energy use and the carbon footprint of the family, too.
Simple changes and decreasing certain bad habits can all decrease the home’s energy use and help save money. Encourage children to:
- Turn off the water when soaping up their hands or brushing their teeth
- Turn off the lights when the leave a room
- Unplug a device when it’s finished charging
- Don’t adjust the thermostat without a parent’s permission
- Take a shower instead of a bath and keep showers shorter
Take Walks or Ride Bikes instead of Getting in the Car
Most families jump in the car to drive down the street. It’s easy and so much quicker. The standard vehicle, though, emits pollution into the air; while these emissions have decreased since the catalytic converter was introduced; standard vehicles are still air polluters.
Ditch the car and walk or bike to a destination if it isn’t far. However, parents need to be sure children stay safe during travels. Make sure everyone wears a helmet and wears reflective clothing. In addition, stick to bike paths (no busy roads!).
If parents like small towns, walking could be the best option. Again, though, parents should always make sure children stay safe. Smaller children should hold hands and everyone needs to watch for traffic and obey all pedestrian rules.
Not only is biking and walking 100 percent pollution-free, it’s also great exercise. Children need about one hour of physical activity per day; adults need to stay active, too. Help the planet and embrace healthy habits by ditching the car.
Climate change remains a concern. However, parents can help children understand how they can make a difference for a healthier planet. Children will inherit the Earth, and they can help create the changes necessary to ensure that their children can inherit the Earth, too.