By Ali Hamilton
With reports from National Geographic detailing that the impacts of climate change are worse than expected, it’s more important than ever to find long-term solutions. This is a challenge for us all, right now, but it will ultimately fall upon the shoulders of today’s youth to really carry out the changes and ideas brought about in modern-day society. Not only does teaching the next generation about global sustainability help increase the positive effects of globalisation on their young minds, but it is also one of the most effective ways to reduce harmful damage to the planet long after even they are gone.
Reintroducing Children to the Importance of Nature
With modern-day children being so connected to the digital world, they often lose touch with nature and all that it symbolises and means to humans. The majority of kids today spend a lot of time in front of a screen, whether it’s a television, smartphone, tablet or computer. This inherently means that they’re more disconnected from nature than previous generations, and it only looks to be getting worse. Finding and creating solutions in sustainability begins by reintroducing the next generation to nature and its importance. This can include visits to the zoo, camping trips, volunteer activites in gardens or even animal trivia games. Once they are reconnected with nature and understand how to be respectful of the planet, they’ll be able to gain a better understanding of what the Earth needs to survive.
Sparking an Interest in Conservation
As more children understand the effect that they and their peers have on nature and the planet as a whole, they’ll be able to develop an understanding of cause and effect in daily life. Teaching them about natural resources that we take for granted is a great place to start. Begin by addressing pressing issues, such as the plastic bottle crisis or climate change. Incorporating these lessons into daily life is easy, as most families can weave these themes in and out of a conversation. For example, nearly 80% of water bottles are not recycled, which results in 38 billion water bottles sent to landfills each year where they take 700 years to begin to decompose. If these types of statistics are taught to eco-conscious children, you’ll be able to start a dialogue about what they think could be a proper solution. They might suggest a solution such as equipping a home with a water filter instead of purchasing plastic bottles, which is a great place to start. These small, actionable changes are what will make all of the difference in years to come.
Taking Advantage of Natural Curiosity
The great thing about teaching the next generation about the importance of sustainability is that, if you start young, you can take advantage of their natural curiosity and interests, and use their endless questions to influence change. Educating them about their surroundings only requires an open mind, a passion for the cause, and a dedication to change the world one step, and child, at a time.
Find resources for teaching about sustainability by using the search function. Ali Hamilton is a freelance writer