As a parent, you’d probably do just about anything to keep your children safe, healthy, and happy. You also probably spend a lot of time thinking about their future. But many parents fail to discuss the importance of protecting our planet with their kids.

Sustainability should be something both you and your kids understand. It’s more than just a buzzword. The more your kids realize how their actions can affect the planet’s sustainability, the better. If you’re not sure of what sustainability really is when it comes to the environment, or what you can do to lead a more sustainable life, do your research! You can even work in some of your newfound knowledge into conversations at the dinner table.

Sustainability really made an impact in 1970 with the introduction of the Clean Air Act and Earth Day. But, it’s even more important to focus on today. Large cities have started to boost their sustainability initiatives by implementing city-wide recycling programs, developing bike-to-work programs, and more.

Unfortunately, it still isn’t enough. Sea levels are rising, the Earth is hotter than ever before, and we’re depleting our natural resources at an alarming rate. In your child’s lifetime, there could be serious environmental consequences to the actions you take right now. It’s important to educate your children about protecting the planet, as well as putting knowledge into practice.

Environmental Education and the Future

Environmental education should be an interactive experience.

Your goal as a parent shouldn’t be to scare your kids into helping the planet, but it’s important for children to know that what they do matters. Educating them on things like climate change, clean water, and protecting wildlife at an early age can leave a lasting impact. It can change the way they look at the environment for the rest of their lives.

Environmental education should be an interactive experience. It’s not enough to just have your kids read about it from a few pages of a book. Instead, tell them about some of the problems the planet is facing, and reassure them by telling them what you all can do to make a difference. There are even kid-friendly apps you can use to teach them about sustainability, as well as environmental summer camps all across the country that can help to get your kids excited about protecting the planet.

If your child’s school doesn’t have any environmental education programs in place, don’t be afraid to talk to the administration about it or volunteer to set one up yourself! Teaching young kids how to recycle, upcycle, and produce less waste is an essential component of a cleaner and more sustainable future. The earlier children are able to learn about the importance of keeping the Earth clean, the more of an impact they can have on putting that education into action.

Protecting the Planet Starts at Home

Speaking of taking action, one of the best ways you can educate your children on how to care for the planet is to lead by example. Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do in your own home and with your own family that can protect the Earth. In doing so, you’ll create learning opportunities for your kids, and they will be able to grow up knowing how to do their part.

One of the easiest ways to get started, especially with young kids, is to practice recycling. Set up a recycling center in your home for paper, plastic, and aluminum. Encourage your children to put the proper materials in their bins. Make an adventure out of it when you go to your local recycling center.

It’s a great opportunity to teach your kids about what you can and can’t recycle, so make sure you know the ins and outs as well. For example, did you know you can’t recycle styrofoam? The same goes for shredded paper unless you use a professional service to dispose of it properly. Educate yourself on recycling before you introduce it to your kids.

You can create energy-saving habits in your home by doing things like turning off the light when you leave a room, installing energy-efficient appliances, and adjusting your thermostat and water heater. Make sure everyone unplugs electrical devices when they aren’t in use to avoid wasting energy when they’re in “standby” mode. Doing these things doesn’t have to feel like work or some kind of lesson for your child. Turn energy-saving ideas into family challenges or games to get everyone on board and interested.

Don’t be afraid to look to technology for help. Because of the urgency and importance of protecting the environment, many tech companies have jumped at the chance to make homes and businesses better for the planet. Things like low-flow faucets, low-flush toilets, and even smart lighting systems are great ways to use tech in your home to save water and energy.

While joining or promoting environmental advocacy groups can help your kids to see the importance of protecting the planet, you don’t necessarily have to go that route. Protecting the environment for your kids doesn’t have to be an overwhelming job. With just a few simple lifestyle changes and a willingness to educate your kids about the problems the planet is facing, you can start making a difference now. The best part? You can have peace of mind in knowing your kids will take what they learn and use it to create a more sustainable future.

Frankie Wallace

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