Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Raising "Green" Kids

We teach many things to our children with hopes that they will grow to be responsible adults and help to make the world a better place. In addition to “the talk” about the golden rule, and saying no to drugs, parents today also need to focus on making their children aware of environmental concerns and how they can reduce waste and energy consumption. If we teach our children to become good stewards of the environment at an early age, they will be more aware of their actions and how they can make changes to create positive results in the world.

Young children love to help and to “do good.” This is a great time to teach them about recycling and how this can help companies cut back on energy use and the resulting benefit to the environment and air we breathe. According to the EPA, the amount of waste produced annually in the U.S. has tripled since 1960. As a result, some schools have involved kids in collecting and weighing all of the trash from “brown bag” lunches. The kids are then encouraged to reduce the amount of waste they bring in. This reduction impacts shopping habits and creates an awareness of packaging waste.

In addition to “reduce” there are also the “reuse” and “recycle” choices. Help your children brainstorm how they might reuse empty jars, paper, packaging materials, etc. Simple things like saving used paper to use it as scratch paper or printing on the back of used paper are things we all can do. When packing lunches for school, you can opt for using reusable plastic containers instead of sandwich bags and include cloth napkins instead of paper.

There are many children’s books that approach the subject of being “green” in a fun and understandable way. You might also try some family activities like growing a garden and composting the scraps from your yard and kitchen. Although being “green” takes effort for us as adults, children who are taught this from an early age will accept it as a part of their responsibility.

What other things have you tried at your house to make your children more environmentally conscious?

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