What is sustainability and why is it important? How can I "teach" sustainability to my kids? How can we get closer to sustainable living at home?
These are all very good questions! It can be very difficult to understand sustainability, even for adults, let alone trying to teach our kids about it. But, we at Udoo believe that everything can be learned by playing and doing, so we wrote this guide to share our passion for the earth with you and give you some guidance towards changing your and your children's lives for a healthier planet!
SO, WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY?
Sustainability is living our lives in such a way that we can have everything we need and be happy without compromising the ability of future generations to have what they need and be happy. This means trying to reduce our impact on the environment around us today so that it can continue to provide for us tomorrow, next year, and 1000 years from now.
WHAT CAN YOU AND YOUR KIDS DO?
It's not just the oil companies and the factories that are causing pollution and climate change. The average family of four produces 2,850 kg of garbage per year and uses 550,000 L of water. Everybody has a role to play in sustainability because everybody's actions impact the global system. The goal of teaching sustainability is to get people thinking about how little changes in your everyday life can make a big difference. But before you start to make these changes, get your kids involved!
Kids are full of energy and enthusiasm, and once they are inspired to help the planet, there is no stopping them! Though you may need to remind them constantly in the beginning, you will soon find that they are the ones pushing you to live better! It is important to develop these good habits early on, and we are here to help! Below are some tips for learning about sustainability with your kids and working towards sustainable living!
1. INVOLVE THE FAMILY
Bring up the idea of sustainability at a family dinner, or a time when you are all together, and discuss ways in which the whole family can work together to save energy and live better. Ask the kids if there is anything they can see right now that could be improved, such as turning off any lights you aren't using, turning down the heat and putting on warmer clothes, or throwing scrap food in the compost rather than the garbage. Then talk about how simple it would be to do these things every day!
2. LEAD BY EXAMPLE
As a parent, your kids idolize you. They see you as a role model and want to be just like you. If you show them that it's cool to save energy and be sustainable, they will follow in your footsteps. Set up a compost bin, put up signs around the house reminding your kids to save energy, remind them at all times! You'll have to be persistent until the habits catch on!
3. MAKE IT FUN
Turn sustainability into a game! Track how much less garbage you are creating, or how many unused lights you have turned off. Make art or instruments out of recycled materials! There are endless ideas out there, so get creative and have fun!
4. MAKE IT HANDS ON
Get down and dirty with your kids. Get outside and plant some herbs or vegetables to teach your kids about the plant life cycle and let them play in the soil! Build a compost machine! Visit your local farm, bird sanctuary, recycling facility, etc.
5. INSPIRE FASCINATION
If you want your kids to really understand sustainability, you have to go deeper than doing little things at home and building up habits. When you inspire your kids, you build passion, which allows them to go beyond personal change and creates leaders of global change! Read books or watch documentaries with your kids to really help them understand what the importance is of what you are doing. Take them to science museums, or do experiments outside. Join a nature club! All things you can do to get your kid excited about sustainability on the larger scale!
6. VOLUNTEER TOGETHER
Get active in your community by joining volunteer groups with your kids. A popular idea is a community recycling network or community garden. Perhaps even organize larger events in your neighborhood such as clean-ups and clothing drives to encourage recycling and reuse of items. This will help your child build that leadership potential and they will feel proud that they are inspiring change in their community!