1970 was the very first Earth Day. This time marked the beginning of the of the modern environmental movement. Forty-four years later things have changed, some for the better and some for the worse. Have we solved our environmental woes? Have we set up a sustainable future for our children? There is still so much left to do. And it is the children of this generation, our children, who will be left, out of sheer necessity, with the task of “doing”. Will they be ready? How can we help them?
Children of my generation had little exposure to environmental challenges, for the most part. I clearly remember the time when litter became a popular issue. Litter! I can actually remember holding a candy wrapper and thinking to tuck it in my pocket because I didn’t want to be a “litter bug.”
The messages our children are facing are far greater. They are learning about global warming, water scarcity, acid rain, to name a few; issues so disturbing that many adults tune out, unable to face the truth, and unwilling to be part of the solution. While that may work for now, the choice to tune out will not last forever.
Our children need to be exposed to a sound, thoughtful, inspiring environmental education. They need to see “greener” living being modeled. They need to feel excited about future advancements.
As parents we are reminded every day of how amazing children really are. What we might forget is that they will not be children forever. They will be the future leaders and innovators. It is our job to help them grow into the best versions of themselves. From an environmental standpoint, how should we do this?
When children are part of the conversation, when they take part in making good choices in their homes, when they are exposed to knowledge about alternatives, they become empowered, they become part of the solution. And they LOVE it. It is that feeling that will lead them on to face challenges in a positive and creative way.
As the adults in their lives we definitely do not need to know everything about each specific challenge or technology, problem or advancement. We just need to be there planting seeds with them; seeds of thoughtfulness, seeds of desire to live a simpler, cleaner life, seeds of creativity, seeds of love for this planet. Those seeds will grow in unbelievable ways and allow our children to be responsible citizens of the world they are inheriting.