Despite what we’d all like to believe, resources on earth aren’t infinitely renewable, and our rampant overconsumption has been steering us into dangerous territory for years. While we can’t turn back the clock, we can make major changes now that will have a serious impact on sustainability for the foreseeable future.
So where do we start?
Teaching our kids to live greener, more eco-friendly lives when they’re young can help create a healthier planet for years to come. Here’s how:
“Teaching your kids greener habits
can start with just a few minor changes
at home and branch out into a lifelong
love for environmentalism.”
Switching to LED bulbs is one of the easiest ways to go green, and it’s an easy project for even young children to help you with. LEDs use a fraction of the energy sucked up by traditional bulbs, and they can last up to 50,000 hours — that’s up to 10 times longer than your average CFL and up to 25 times longer than a halogen bulb. Switching to LEDs is also a particularly good choice for little ones learning to go green because they can change them themselves; unlike conventional bulbs, LEDs don’t really heat up, so they’re safe for little hands.
Set up a kitchen compost
Teach your kids how to turn their food scraps into gold for the garden by setting up a compost bin in your kitchen. Everything from vegetable peels to egg shells can be used to create nutrient-rich soil for your plants, and can provide your family a fun gardening project when the weather’s right. Even better, you don’t have to have a huge bin in the garden or kitchen to make composting work; a small sealed ceramic or metal container on your countertop is all you need.
While some ultra-modern buildings, like San Francisco’s first LEED Platinum certified luxury tower, 181 Fremont, have advanced water recycling and preservation systems already in place, you can implement similar conservation strategies at home, even without high-tech solutions at your disposal. Teaching your kids to turn off the tap while they’re brushing their teeth is a great place to start; in fact, switching off the faucet can save you more than a gallon during a 2-minute brushing session. Having your kids turn off the tap when they’re in the bath, or limiting showers to ten minutes, can also save you a huge amount of water and may even lower your heating oil bills, too.
Recycle, reuse, and trade
Make recycling as much a part of your kids’ lives as tossing things in the trash and encourage them to recycle whatever materials they can, too. What was an oatmeal box yesterday can become the basis for an art project today, and broken toys are better fixed than tossed in the trash. Better yet, get your kids into the spirit of recycling by encouraging them to trade their old toys or donate them to friends or charity, thus instilling a spirit of generosity in them from a young age.
You don’t have to completely overhaul your life to do good for the planet. Teaching your kids greener habits can start with just a few minor changes at home and branch out into a lifelong love for environmentalism. We only have one planet, and with any luck — and a little help from the next generation — we can all enjoy it for centuries to come.
“Teaching our kids to live greener,
more eco-friendly lives when they’re young
can help create a healthier planet
for years to come.”
How are you teaching your children the importance of living green?
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