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The Three Rs of Raising Eco-Friendly Kids

Posted: October 10, 2014

Teaching kids about the environment is as urgent as it is important. Lessons about conservation and the three Rs of being eco-friendly must start at home, and with you, says this post.

Every parent struggles and sacrifices a lot to provide a valuable life to their kids. But now, a valuable life has become, frankly speaking, equal to financial security. As a school-going kid, I studied that water is the most indispensable element, but now, water has been replaced by money. To an extent, it is true, but we shouldn’t dare to forget about important environmental issues. Investment in the conservation of our environment and natural resources is now necessary, and one has to think about the serious impact this deteriorating planet will have on our offspring!

Planet Earth is a ‘loan’ from our forefathers, and we should not exploit it so much that the damage caused will be, irreparable and unsustainable. If we do, the coming generations will have to accept living on a planet which is unhealthy.

To think of it logically, if there is no liveable Earth, then will all the financial security matter? A sensible approach is to create awareness about sustainable alternatives, eco-friendly lifestyles, and more importantly, practising all this ourselves before teaching the younger generation.

In this era of technology, the Internet can be used as an important tool. It is very well-known that charity begins at home; I believe every good thing begins at home. As a parent, it is our duty and responsibility to involve these young brains with issues related to the environment. Nurturing environmental awareness would definitely add to their personalities. We could start with this:

Importance of 3R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

There is a very thin line between ‘want’ and ‘need’.  The sooner one understands this, the better it is for mankind.

It is very important to make our kids realise that everything displayed on the shelf or advertised is not meant to be owned. We as parents, make sure to provide our kids with everything, (which we didn’t get as kids) and this is where we forget that gradually, we are encouraging them to make more demands or create necessities.

Reduce

It is of utmost importance to ask a very simple question before you buy something – ‘Do I need it or do I want it?’ The answer will help to achieve the first ‘R’ – Reduce. A very basic concept exists, demand is equal to supply and an artificial demand can be created by forcing the need to supply or manufacture, which ultimately takes a toll on natural resources. Start using this simple question and categorise your purchase as need or want, whether it be toys, gadgets, clothes, or furniture etc

  1. Reduce generating waste. For example, buy stuff with less packaging.

  2. Talk to kids about reducing the use of electricity. Start with simple acts like putting off lights, ceiling fans or any electronic appliance if not in use.

  3. The Internet can be used to read newspapers, magazines, and novels. Try using online subscriptions to minimise paper usage. A huge amount of waste is produced in paper production and processing.

  4. If fond of reading books, joining a community library. Reading on a Kindle/e-reader would also contribute to a greener planet.

  5. Commuting short distances using public transport, bicycle or a promenade should be encouraged rather than using a two-wheeler or four-wheeler. Kids need to understand about pollution and exhaustion of natural resources.

Reuse

The concept of Reusing still exists in many families. There is no harm and one shouldn’t feel ashamed of this second important ‘R’ that finds potential scope in every little thing throughout the day. Talking to kids about general stuff like:

  1. Using a cloth bag instead of polythene. A cloth bag can be reused a lot!

  2. Carrying our own lunch boxes, which we all generally do in India, is more eco-friendly than buying takeaways. Talking to kids about the waste generated from takeaways forces them to think about the right way to do things.

  3. Every house generates so much of unwanted stuff – like toys, furniture, clothes, electric appliances. There are many charities that collect such stuff and provide to people who are in need.

  4. Sharing is caring. Sharing toys, books and other such items that can be shared or borrowed saves money and our planet.

Recycle

There is a lot of stress on the third ‘R’ – Recycle. Recycling is not an easy process and is a costly affair. If thought through meticulously, one can contribute to recycling.

  1. Separate out recyclable and non-recyclable waste.

  2. You could buy things made of recycled materials – recycled paper, greeting cards, recycled polythene bags etc

  3. Buy only those materials that are recyclable.

Often we don’t realise the harm caused to our planet due to ‘overdoing’. To lead a good, comfortable and quality life it absolutely isn’t necessary to ‘overdo’ things by buying a lot of fancy, upbeat or trendy stuff. Life can be good by keeping it simple. Let’s not forget that the next generation has to deal with severe global warming issues and they need to be addressed. Doing a science project in school doesn’t solve this problem but finding out ways to solve this or minimise the gravity of global warming should be our approach.

Be the first to take an initiative, and others will follow you. Walking with kids through the woods, discussing environmental problems at the dinner table or creating a group of children in a society wherein one can nurture environmental awareness are different ways to do this.

Whatever damage to the planet has been caused can’t be repaired, but this small initiative can at least try to give our next generation a liveable, green and healthy planet.

 

Pic credit: Image of little girl holding a new sprout in her hands via Shutterstock

I have always loved writing and strongly believe that writing can create social awareness . I

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