Canada recognizes that children are the Future of Sustainability and have increased “green” involvement in schools like gardening, composting, recycling, etc. However, our educational communities such as schools, colleges, and community programs have not sufficiently recognized the importance of connecting youth to Green Economy through volunteer work or educational opportunities around the importance of green businesses for our future.
Can we connect educational communities to our advertisers so that they support growing Green Economy and vice versa?
The necessity to not only grow Green Economy but to connect our youth to that growth has been thus far overlooked. As green businesses grow they will create more job openings for young people entering the workforce. It is crucial therefore that our youth have the opportunity to learn about them first hand through volunteering for them or attending workshops, in order to be adequately prepared to enter the green labor force. In turn, businesses working to educate youth will benefit by amplifying their client base through the mutually beneficial rapport with parents, teachers and community programs.
The main challenge of educating young people on Green Economy will be unhealthy attitudes of environmentalists, parents, and educators towards discussions on increasing “commerce” which is frequently equated with the misguided perception that “Money is the Root of All Evil”. This reference to Timothy 6:10 from the Bible stating “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” is often misquoted, since it is not money itself but the LOVE of Money or Greed that is at the heart of the disparaged root of evil. Therefore the challenge of how to break down these barriers by promoting a healthier vision will need to be addressed.
Advice to Educators
How to Teach Sustainability to Children
Most children are unaware of the role they play in society. The concept of going green can create many opportunities for teachers and parents to bond with kids in the pursuit of a common goal. It can help build trust and good communication and enhance a child’s creativity and self-confidence. Although the concept of social responsibility may seem too complex for very young children to understand, teaching them about how their actions impact the environment and the society they live in will help create awareness of their actions and the consequences of their choices. With the right information, children will find it educational and even fun to go green.
Why Teach Children About Sustainability
The concept of going green can create many opportunities for teachers to bond with kids in the pursuit of a common goal. It can help build trust and good communication and enhance a child’s creativity and self-confidence. Here are some key points on why it is important to teach children to go green:
They Will Learn About Responsibility and Accountability
Although the concept of social responsibility may seem too complex for very young children to understand, teaching them about how their actions impact the environment and the society they live in will help create awareness of their actions and the consequences of their choices. Kids learn how to think on a much larger scale and realize that they, too, can contribute by choosing a certain action over another.
They Will Learn About Sustainable Consumption
Even from the time they are infants, children already become consumers. As they grow older, their needs and wants change, which gives them plenty of opportunities to go green once they choose products and services that offer sustainable solutions. Kids will learn how products and services are produced and which ones provide a more environmentally friendly option. From a young age, children will be able to learn how to choose sustainable products and the importance of this choice. This is critical since when they get older, they too will have the same power as consumers like their parents.
They Will Learn How to Appreciate What They Have
When children learn how to reuse, reduce and recycle, they develop a better appreciation for the things they have. Often, children will find surprising ways to reuse items such as school supplies, clothing, and toys, so teachers should encourage them to be creative and to find unique approaches and ideas to boost their interest.
They Will Inherit What We Will Leave Behind
Good habits create better citizens and since young children today will take over once the adults pass on, they should be aware of the little green changes they can make to create a sustainable environment for themselves and their future children.
Starting Kids on Going Green
If you have a desire to teach children the basics of sustainability, you may wish to pursue higher education in a masters of education degree online. Once your degree in received you will be able to explain sustainability to children in an easy to understand way. The most basic things that children should learn to do in order to go green are embodied in the reduce-reuse-recycle practice. Here are some ideas to get started:
Encourage children to bring food and drinks in reusable containers instead of plastic or carton boxes.
Designate a Donate-A-Toy day and encourage kids to donate old, unused toys to orphanages and underprivileged children. Teach children to ask their parents for recycled paper for them to draw on. They can also bring in old and unused items from home to turn into art projects. Create a project such as an organic garden where kids can grow vegetables organically using scrap materials.
Recycling is the last step in the process after reducing and reusing. Teach children the importance of recycling by setting up bins in the classroom that they can use to segregate trash and other materials. By making them active participants in an environmentally green practice, children are more likely to remember the lesson and realize its relevance.