Their world includes recycling bins, organic fruit, and energy-efficient light bulbs. They won’t have to breathe second hand smoke in airplanes or install asbestos into building walls.
But not all of the ills of environmentally damaging behavior are behind us.
Our children will have to inherit the fight to clean up their world – and work hard to build a sustainable, healthier future for their planet.
I have to admit; sometimes I grow weary of the battle. Some days I want to throw the canned salmon tin in the trash instead of washing out the smell and putting it in my recycling bin. Often I reach past the organic produce for the more inexpensive option.
But I am convicted – not just for the world I want for myself, but for the world I want for my children and their children.
I am tired of the pesticides coating our fruit. I am sick that my son’s school has asbestos leaking out of its walls. And I am mad that lobbyists win over logic.
So I need to keep the passion for reform and healthy living alive in my children. I need to teach them about how far we have come and how far we have to go.
They have a long life of fixing our mistakes ahead of them.
Here are three ways that I try to inspire my children to be eco-conscious:
1. Learn from our mistakes.
Every time I say, “When I was your age...” I think of the old joke: “I had to walk to school uphill both ways!” It may seem like ancient history (and a pinch of urban legend) when we tell our kids about how life was decades ago, but teaching our kids about past generations' mistakes and how we have learned from them is critical.
2. Every little bit counts.
Fixing the damage humans have done to the environment is overwhelming for all of us! Kids can also feel like their contributions don’t matter much. Just as I try to remind myself, I talk to my kids about how our participation in environmental clean-up counts just as each person’s actions contributed to the problems.
3. The future looks brighter.
For all of us to keep inspired, we need to focus on the positives – on how far we have come and the better future that waits. Yes, there is much to be done. But our kids are being raised in a world of awareness and education. They are a generation that can and will change their world – for the better!
Photo by Janice Croze
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