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"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

 

Teaching children to be eco-friendly

 
The future of the world rests in our children's hands.  We can only hope that they grow up to be eco-friendly.  The ultimate decision rests with them.  But we can start them on the path to living an eco-friendly lifestyle while they are still young.  Eco-friendly children are more likely to grow up to be eco-friendly adults.
 
Here are some ways you can teach your children to be eco-friendly.  Some are activities you may do with your children.  Some are ways to give your children knowledge about the environment and the impact humans have on it.  Some are direct.  Some are less direct.  But they all have one thing in common -- they will all give your children a better sense of the world we live in and how to keep it green.
 
1.  Decorate a recycling box with your children.  Get an old empty box and make it as colourful as possible.  Use pictures of nature and animals.  Then remind them to place papers and bottles in the box.
 
2.  Have fun with your children in the garden.  Plant vegetables and other small plants.  Explain how the garden grows.  Harvest the vegetables with your children and see their look of wonderment when they realised they had a hand in growing them.  (Make sure you only plant plants that are not classed as weeds in your local area.)
 
3.  Take your children to a national park.  Even better, see if there are children-friendly activities in the park. 
 
4.  Explain things.  So often we tell our children not to do things or to do things, but we never explain why.  This means that when our children get older they may stop doing as we have suggested as they think it is of little or no use.  Instead of saying "Don't remove that log", say "Don't remove that log because many different animals may use their log as their home.  Taking that log would be like someone taking your home away."  The message is far more likely to sink in.
 
5.  Ask your children to find new ways of using rubbish.  It may be difficult for them at first, and they may need your help.  But once they have seen the interesting and different ways that rubbish may be used, they will be eager to think of their own ideas.  Children have a lot more imagination than we give them credit for.
 
6.  Use products in your home that are eco-friendly.  Take your children grocery shopping and tell them why you are picking certain products.  For example, "We get this detergent because it's kinder to the planet".  Ask for your children's help in finding the eco-friendly products on the shelves.
 
7.  Buy books and toys that celebrate our wildlife or that impart good messages.  Try to create your own book with your children. 
 
These are just a sample of the ways that children can be taught to be eco-friendly.  Try thinking of some more of your own.  The world will thank you for it in the future.
 
 
Liz Palmer is an Australian writer, who has published articles and short stories in a number of publications.  She also creates Personalised Information Products -- booklets where YOU choose the information YOU want included.  Liz has a website at http://members.austarmetro.com.au/~palmer19 or you can contact her at palmer19@austarmetro.com.au 

 

 

 

 

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