We always say that kids are our future. But looking at the global environmental crisis the world is facing today, we also wonder, what kind of future will our children have? How are they going to fight this crisis in future? And what could be the possible solution for this problem?
Well, the solution is quite simple if you are determined enough to take a small step today and include environment themed topics in your child’s home-study agenda.
By teaching your child to be environmentally aware at a young age, you are actually going to build lifelong habits that could potentially make a dramatic difference in their life as well as in the future of the Earth. It will allow your child to explore the environmental issues and take action to improve the environment. Besides, the child will also develop a deeper understanding of their environment and develop skills to make responsible decisions.
Today some of the world’s foremost environmental activists are young children like Greta Thunberg. They have encouraged large corporations and international organizations to take notice and make changes. This change has to begin at home! You can follow these simple tips to teach environment themed lessons to your kids at home and make a difference.
Localize the topic: The best way to promote environment concern to your child is to find a topic that is important locally.
For example- Instead of showing your child the image of a polar bear standing on a melting ice-block or the picture of California & Australia wild fires, show them the picture of Mumbai floods or of the Mangrove swamps getting cut down, show them the poor condition of river Ganga or talk about the Uttarakhand forest fires. Bring a local environmental issue and see how your child will respond with much more interest than in a lesson about an environment issue far away. Think global but act local!
Make it interactive: Give your child hands on activities which will make them aware of the cause and sensitize them towards the sustainability of our environment. For example-
- You can challenge your child to come up with a creative and alternative use of something considered as trash like the toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes, plastic bottles, jam jars, etc. Ask them how we could reuse these and many more things available at home to prevent them from going as waste in the environment. You can also make them go crafty to create home decor items, toys or accessories using this trash.
- Make them design an all natural bird feeder to hang outside your house or building to feed the birds and let them observe the beautiful creation of nature. Again localize, tell them how house sparrows are disappearing in India because of mobile radiations.
- Make a window garden and let them observe as the seeds grows or simply re-grow the vegetables from the parts that are normally thrown away like the stump of lettuce, roots of an onion, stems of basil & mint or even a pineapple just by cutting off an inch or two from the base and placing it in water. This will not only work as a fun learning experiment for your child and help them explore why this is important to the sustainability of our environment but it will also offer an accessible, cost effective, sustainable and delicious food for your family.
Share examples on people: Replace the bedtime fairytale stories at times with the stories about people who are doing great things for our natural heritage. Show the pictures of people involved in environmental issues, whether they are those affected by the issue or those working on a solution to the problem. This will inspire, empower and motivate your child to work for a better cause.
Lead by example: A picture is worth a thousand words and an action is worth millions! Your kids always imitate you. So take this opportunity to inspire them and imbibe appropriate behavior in them by setting simple examples from your day to day activities like picking the trash, finishing the food in your plate and not wasting it, closing the water taps while shaving or brushing your teeth, using a bucket of water instead of a shower to take bath, reusing and recycling paper, switching to eco-friendly products, turning off electrical appliances when not in use and most importantly by respecting the nature as you respect the humans. These little things matter a lot and will develop environmental awareness in your child.
Environment is crucial for the survival of all living beings and the world as we know it. As human beings we have had the largest role in the damage to our Mother Earth, hence we have the largest responsibility in restoring our world. And we can see that the process of restoring our world has already begun as people are becoming aware about humanity’s impact on the environment. The global pandemic has been an eye opener for all of us, as we witnessed a positive impact of the lockdown on our environment and a lot of people today are addressing the issue, taking small positive initiatives and are intent on switching to a more sustainable lifestyle for a better tomorrow.
As with everything else, children are our best hope for a brighter future. Thus, there is a dire need of instilling environment education values in our young children so that they can learn to be responsible and spread this knowledge to blossom the sensitive need of the environment to the whole mankind. And as parents our role is very crucial in this particular regard. So while teaching your child try to keep the environment themed lesson related to what’s on your child’s minds, don’t make it an abstract concept and remember to sensitize your child by making them understand that ‘this is not my garbage or an issue created by me but this is my planet’ and I will take necessary steps to save it.
Always remember that it’s never too late for a good change. Change of any magnitude often starts with a small, seemingly insignificant step but the collective implications of these small steps are immediate and tangible. The on-going COVID-19 pandemic crisis is a great example of how people around the world can join forces to fight a disaster together.
A little bit about the author:
Miss Nikeeta is a middle school Math & Physics faculty at JBCN International School, Borivali. Along with being a passionate teacher and educator she is also an amateur artist and a nature lover who spends most of her time in gardening, exploring nature, star gazing, photography and displaying her photographs in an artful and creative manner. She enjoys challenging herself with new adventures and tasks as she believes that it fosters her creative spirit and takes her mind and body to new and exciting heights.