For many years we’ve been on the losing end of climate change. An unexpected byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020, our planet has seen some improvements it hasn’t seen in decades. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee the gains made will continue as stay-at-home orders around the world are eased. To protect the earth, it’s important to focus on the environment more than once a year, and get the next generation involved in saving the planet. With more family time now, it’s an ideal time to follow these five ways to get kids to care about the environment
Plant a Garden. Clearing space, tending the soil and planting herbs, fruits and vegetables or flowers helps kids understand the lifecycle of things. You can teach children that when you properly care for things they grow and flourish. Kids will get to see how a seed matures into either something to eat or something beautiful to look at.
Go to the (Food) Source. Ask a kid today where food comes from and you’re likely to hear “Whole Foods.” It’s important for kids to make the connection between what they see in the grocery store aisle and where food originates. Go fruit picking at an orchard and let your child see where apples come from, visit a farm so they can see how milk comes from a cow, take a tour of a creamery and learn how that same milk can transform into cheese.
Save the Trees. Trees are necessary for a healthy planet. Trees convert carbon dioxide to oxygen, but there aren’t enough trees right now to keep up with rising carbon emissions. Teaching children the importance of trees can help them understand how everything on Earth is connected and the importance of taking care of our precious natural resources. The nonprofit Forest Founders reinforces this relationship. Monthly subscriptions are designed to offset a family’s carbon footprint by planting trees. Parents can use this as a launching pad to explain how certain human activities aren’t as environmentally friendly so we need to offset a negative with a positive
Get Outside. Caring about the planet and respecting the environment begins with a love of the outdoors. Encourage kids to play outside and plan family activities like a bike ride or a hike. While you’re out, draw attention to the beauty-blue skies, autumn leaves, a bubbling brook. Teach kids about the different plants, trees and animals they see.
Volunteer. Environmental volunteer opportunities are plentiful. Help out by cleaning up a hiking trail, sprucing up a park or building a community garden. Children will closely see the effects of not taking care of the Earth and also learn the importance of giving back.
We have a unique opportunity right now to turn the clock back and improve the planet. While it’s important that adults take notice, it’s equally important that we instill the importance of a healthy planet in the next generation. Showing kids where food comes from, instilling a love of the outdoors, teaching the importance of trees, planting a garden, and volunteering to clean-up the environment are simple ways families can teach their kids to take care of the earth for themselves and future generations.