Over the last few decades, we have become much more aware of the importance of being environmentally friendly. Years of pollution, deforestation, and wasteful consumption during the 20th century had a highly damaging impact on our global community. Today, it's important for our kids to recognize why being environmentally friendly is now more crucial than ever. Schools have done a great job of encouraging these programs, and we've seen a positive shift towards “green” living, eco-friendly alternatives, and renewable, recyclable products. Still, there's a lot more work to do, and it's important to teach our children the importance of these issues at a young age.
1) Environmental awareness encourages your kids to take pride in their communities. Pollution negatively affects communities as whole. Illegal dumping, for instance, directly contaminates municipal and natural water supplies – everything from safe public beaches to drinkable tap water in our faucets is dependent on having access to clean water resources. Teaching your kids the importance of environmentally friendly behaviors helps bridge the connection between our actions and how they directly impact the world around us.
2) Recycling programs, fundraisers, and park cleanups are a great way for students to get involved. Today, all schools incorporate recycling programs and encourage individual participation on the student's part. Even very young children are taught that there are “two” different colored bins in the classroom – one for waste, and one for paper and recyclables. In addition, many older students participate in recycling drives and community cleanup initiatives because they look great on any college application, and also show the student has an active interest in bettering their community.
3) Eco-friendly initiatives promote positive health choices. Being environmentally friendly also encourages an increased awareness of our own health. More and more consumers are beginning to make the shift away from prepackaged and/or highly processed foods – now opting for pesticide-free organic varieties. How our environment impacts our personal health is another connection that can help bridge the importance of these issues to our children.
4) Drawing attention to causes greater than us as individuals encourages altruistic behavior, empathy, and consideration towards others. Being environmentally friendly is not just a choice, but a responsibility. As we said before, environmentally friendly attitudes encourage the mindset that we are part of a global community. This teaches your kids that these responsibilities are part of something greater, and we have an obligation to protect our planet.
5) Green energy has unlimited potential. Fossil fuels are becoming less and less popular – more car manufactures have begun the switch to alternative energy, like electrical vehicles. Solar panels are becoming a common sight in residential areas. Refillable water bottles are now preferred over disposable plastic. Even fast food restaurants are phasing out plastic straws! The evidence is all around us – times are changing. Getting your kids involved now may just peak their interest in a rapidly-growing job sector!
6) Our children are, quite literally, the future. When it comes down to it, we all want our kids to grow up in a world that is safe, preserved, and healthy. We've already made so much incredible progress in reducing our carbon footprint and wasteful consumption. However, it will be the future generations that continue this important work. By teaching our kids the importance of addressing these issues now, we are encouraging them to develop environmentally friendly mindsets early on.