Teaching children sustainable practices from a young age is important so that as a generation, they grow to value and take care of the environment around them. So what are some of the ways in which childhood can be more “green?”
A great place to start is by reusing the items that children so quickly outgrow. The fast pace at which children grow renders them in constant need of new clothes, shoes, toys, and athletic equipment. In order to reduce the material consumed overall, a great solution is to sell these unwanted items to consignment shops or sales that give them to younger children. This way, parents get paid for the clothes they donate, while a new family can buy new yet inexpensive gear, which is a win-win for both families and the environment. For example, Be Green Kids Consignments is a consignment program in Westchester, NY that produces a huge sale every year in which parents price the goods they are selling themselves and have the opportunity to shop for new items their children need as well. Green Kids Resale, in Round Lack Beach, IL is a consignment store that buys your old products in exchange for cash, check, or store credit. These are just two examples of reusing childhood clothes and toys productively, and there are bound to be similar locations wherever you live.
There are many other ways to teach children how to be green. They can take a reusable lunchbox to school with them, and strive to take only as much as they are truly hungry for. Kids can borrow a book from the library or a toy from a friend rather than purchasing new products. Instead of having a parent drive them around, they can take a more active and environmentally friendly form of transportation, like a bike, skateboard, and scooter. Kids could do a craft project with clean items from the recycling bin, or send out e-vites rather than paper invitations to their birthday parties.
A great way to teach sustainable practices is by carrying them out in your own life with your child. You can cut down on the family’s waste overall by always recycling and composting, while teaching your kids what you are doing and why. You can always shop with a reusable grocery bag and even get your children some fun canvas tote bags. You can plant a garden with them and have them pick the vegetables when they are ripe to help make dinner. You can also monitor your own water and electricity use and remind the kids of it as you turn off appliances. With so many ways that kids can be green, and so many ways that you can be green together, take a few minutes every week to bond with your child while also teaching them the importance of sustainable practices.
Written by: Abigail Fagan, class of 2014
Image: North Saanich Middle School students(left to right)Fiona Kelley, Kali McDougall and Quiana Foster sift through the sand to pick up garbage from Patricia Bay in Victoria, B.C. April 22, 2009. Photo Credit: Times Colonist