Children are like saplings. They need nurturing and mentoring. As parents, we believe that a good education and deep roots of learning provide a strong foundation for our children. Similarly, good habits will make their foundation stronger. In other words, good education and good habits complement each other. By doing so we will ensure that healthy minds will thrive in a healthy and clean environment.
All the necessary elements in our lives – the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink – is a gift of nature. But most of us are so busy chasing our goals and fulfilling our dreams that we forget about Mother Nature and loss of biodiversity. So, it’s time to stop and take notice of the risk that the climate is at. And how we can protect the climate that makes our planet habitable from further damage?
Children are our future and teaching eco–friendly living would ensure that our children will not be robbed of a livable world.
The sixth Global Environment Outlook assessment report emphasizes on the deteriorating condition of the Earth and stresses upon “urgent action at an unprecedented scale necessary to arrest and reverse this situation” and rightly so. Highlighting the crisis, Joyce Msuya, acting executive director of U.N. Environment, was quoted as saying: “The Earth’s ailments are treatable, but not for a lot longer if people don’t make fundamental changes in what they consume, how they create energy, dispose of waste, and generally decrease the human footprint that is degrading air, water, and land.”
These facts are alarming. Indeed it is. It’s a grave situation and appropriate action is needed to fix the problems.
Children are citizens of the future. The statistics indicate that the world population stands at 7.8 billion and about 26% of the world is less than 15 years of age. So, imagine, what our world would be like if environmentally friendly practices become a reflex action of even 59% of children!
Today is World Environment Day. To be precise, it is on June 5, and this year’s theme is Time for Nature.
Considering the environmental issues plaguing our eco-system, it is our prime responsibility to inculcate eco-friendly habits in our children from an early age. It doesn’t have to be a separate activity. There is no better place than home to learn good habits and interspersing them with daily chores will make the learning simpler and easier.
Knowingly unknowingly we happen to take things for granted and misuse scarce resources. Therefore, it is important to teach children to be aware of their surroundings and stay connected to nature.
Some of the natural resources that are a part of our everyday life are water, electricity, food, etc. The lessons woven around them can make a big difference. Remember, you have to teach them, not preach them. As parents, you also follow them as religiously as possible and set the right example.
Humble beginnings can yield better results. Some of the eco-friendly habits you can teach are:
Water Conservation: Water is a scarce natural resource and water conservation is a must for a balanced eco-system. Therefore, it is important to teach our children to use water responsibly. For instance keeping the tap closed while brushing teeth, not leaving the tap running, and checking taps before leaving the house. Reduce unnecessary water usage by avoiding bathing tubs, splash pools, etc. Save leftover water in a glass or water bottle for later use. These small little things will create awareness and help them in being responsible as they grow up.
Save Electricity: They say small things make a bigger difference. True! Children should be explained the benefits of efficient energy use. They should learn to turn off the lights, fans, and air conditioners before they leave their classrooms/rooms/houses. Usually, people leave the gadgets plugged in. Therefore it is important to educate children on the importance of unplugging electronics such as laptops, mobile phones, etc once they are fully charged.
Avoid Food waste: You would be surprised to know that the UN estimates reveal annual global food waste at 1.3 billion tons, or around $1 trillion. So, it is important to tell them that it is not acceptable to waste food. It is’ essential to teach children to serve only what they can eat. They should learn to finish what’s on their plate. Teach them to share or donate the extra food they have.
Avoid Plastic: Plastic products dominate our surroundings. It’s a challenge in itself to teach the children to avoid plastic. The world is reeling under plastic pollution so much so that every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations creating an imbalance in the ecosystem. Show them cartoons and pictorial books to teach about it. Gift them recyclable products.
Avoid littering: Initiatives do not have to be dramatic. Set an example for your children by not littering. People throwing waste out of the car windows is a common sight. Train your children to use litter bags during outings. At home, monitor them and ensure that they throw the wrappers, etc. in the bin. Show them movies on the subject matter to enhance environmental awareness.