Insights » Raising a green generation

Raising a green generation

EarthChild gifConversation about the dangers facing our planet is at an all time high. For a lot of new parents, teaching their kids about making environmentally conscious choices is more of a duty than a choice. 

 

Being thoughtful, economical, less materialistic and charitable happen to also be great virtues in any society: which is another reason that instilling your family respect for these values is a worthwhile thing to do.

 

As with teaching any subject, leading by example is key. Avoid gloominess and focus on the reasons you do something rather than punishing kids for not doing them. Get your children familiar with the fundamentals of environmentalism are the three ‘R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle. 

 

Waste

 

The United Arab Emirates is a frontrunner in progressive environmental management; however the amount of waste it produces will increase by from 6.6 million tonnes to 8.4 million tonnes by according to this year. 

 

Food wastage is a big problem in most modern nations, which is why it’s beneficial to encourage your kids to think and talk about what they eat.  Respect for food, who prepares it and where it comes from is a virtue in most cultures. Explain to them the different kinds of waste that comes from our households: organic waste, and packaging such as metal, paper and plastics. 

 

Reduce the amount of packaged and disposable products you buy to demonstrate that producing less waste is a priority for you too by

 

  • Buying bulk products; 
  • Having reusable shopping bags to take to the grocery store;
  • Using reusable containers for food and lunches rather than throwaway sandwich or zip-lock bags.
  • Avoid single use, or serving items like individually wrapped products
  • Plan meals ahead of time to avoid food spoilage; make the planning a conversation about how to throw less away

 

Teach your kids about where food comes from and where food goes when we’re done with it. Teach them about what products have to be used and disposed of: this will help them understand the impact they can have by reusing and recycling certain products, and reducing the amount of unnecessary waste.

 

Nature education

 

Take trips to the beach, go on camping trips or go for a hikes or walks together. Having outdoor adventures exposes your children to the beauty of nature and reinforces their connection with the natural environment.

Make a point of teaching your children to leave no trace when they spend time outside: most importantly throwing away their litter.

 

Water and electricity 

 

Saving water and electricity are the simplest areas to make improvements- not only are they the most immediate and most measurable, they’re also the easiest to explain.

 

  • When brushing teeth, turn off the water- when taking showers, turn off the water to soap and lather hair. (Taking showers only uses 10 to 25 gallons, while a bath takes up to 70 gallons! A 5 minute long shower only uses 10 gallons.)
  • If you have plants, teach children about water-saving in gardening through your selection. Encourage them to collect “old” water from leftover water bottles, half-drank cups or boiling food, (after the water has cooled). Show them how this water can be used to water plants.
  • Talk to kids about where water comes from (desalination), water scarcity and how plants and animals survive in the desert. Visit the Sharjah Desert Park who have a great wildlife center from species native to the UAE
  • Use visuals. Stickers or post-it notes around the house to act as signals opportunities to conserve. Blue round stickers near to the bathroom sink can mean, ‘turn off the tap when you brush your teeth’, yellow stickers can be for electricity and making sure lights in rooms that aren’t used are being switched off.
  • Praise and encourage kids for being aware of their choices. Pay attention to your monthly utility bill, and for older children- encourage them to question what and why they’re doing. 

 

Making such changes can seem daunting at first, but week by week introduce things to your family life and individual circumstances. It can be challenging to communicate the benefits of such practices to kids, as it doesn’t affect them in the immediate future. The benefits of learning the respect is, however, a lifetime gift to them; children that are less materialistic, more connected to the natural environment grow up time after time to be happier, more conscious of their decisions and more grateful for a healthier world.

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