How to we live a more sustainable lifestyle is a big question to tackle with our kids. How do we save our earth, what can we do to protect it? Children naturally love animals, lions, tigers, penguins, polar bears and panda’s and it’s hard to believe that many could be endangered in our children’s lifetimes. Whilst they have this innate love of wildlife it makes sense to teach them the effects our lives have on the world and the many species of animals there are, but knowing where to even start the conversation can be hard so I reached out to Kate Cohen at It’s Our Planet too in order to find out more.
Hi Kate, Welcome to No Mum Is An Island. I am a great believer that no mum or dad should have to do everything themselves, we can’t possibly know it all, and we need all the support we can get, there is a wealth of information out there to help us upgrade our parenting to make our lives easier and this website is a hub for just that! We love that you have upgraded your life by taking your love of the environment and turning it into a colourful inspiring resource to support parents to inspire their kids to make sustainable changes.
How do we explain climate change and pollution to our children?
Hi Jade, thank you so much for the opportunity to talk about It’s Our Planet Too.
Luckily, I think a lot of the ‘explaining’ about environmental issues is now done in schools, pitched at the right level for our children. My children have both learnt an awful lot about plastic pollution in recent months and have come home convinced that ALL plastic is the devil, they are now policing us on our usage!
That said, there are some awesome resources available for parents now, including great websites – www.itsourplanettoo.co.uk – as well as a whole host of books that deal with tricky questions about our environment.
Most importantly, caring for our environment should just become a way of life. Whether you’re an ardent recycler or a busy parent looking for some quick fixes, it can be really easy to get your family to live a more sustainable lifestyle that quickly becomes a habit – we just need to inspire our children to care.
What simple steps can we take with our children to do our bit to reduce our climate and pollution impact?
The most effective thing we can do is to lead by example. Make it normal to say no to single-use plastic and remember to bring your reusable bottles and cups everywhere. Walk or scoot to school instead of driving and encourage them to turn off lights when they leave a room or turn off the tap when they’re brushing their teeth. Little actions, that become habits can make a big difference.
Show your kiddies how it’s done, and pretty quickly they’ll get the picture.
Plastic is a huge global issue, how can we make our children more aware and what can we do with them to play our part?
The key is to be constantly reinforcing the message and pretty soon our children will understand.
There are definitely some easier wins… for example avoiding balloons and other plastic decorations at parties and Christmas, being creative with party bags, rather than filling them with the usual throw-away toys and explaining why they don’t need a plastic straw when you’re out and about are all easy switches.
Admittedly some plastic toys are great, they last, keep the kiddies entertained for hours and if they are helpful for learning then it’s a bonus. We have enough Lego in our house to build a two-story extension! That said, even Lego are now doing their bit with sustainable bricks on the way…
Children absolutely love animals, how can we use this natural interest to teach about habitat destruction and declining biodiversity?
This can be tricky… the animals that many children love are the iconic, yet endangered animals that children in the UK may only see in picture books, on TV or in zoos – lions, tigers, elephants, rhinos, polar bears etc… So there can be a real disconnect between what children can do and how it will actually help these animals.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of real-life examples here in the UK of creatures that need our protection, for example teaching children about the importance of bees and understanding how we can create an environment to help them thrive. Letting our gardens grow and encouraging wild flowers, planting bees favourite flowers to attract bees into your garden; mint, lavender bluebells and poppies to name a few and saying NO to pesticides and herbicides in your garden.
Likewise hedgehogs have undergone a drastic decline in Britain and are at real risk if we don’t start giving them a helping hand. One way is by making ‘hedgehog highways’ in our gardens – a small hole in the fence at the bottom of your garden would allow hedgehogs to move freely between gardens, find food and also mate.
As the weather starts to improve go to the beach. Spend time in the garden or park. Visit the zoo. Head out into the countryside. Show your kiddies how valuable and beautiful nature is and what exactly is at stake when we don’t protect it.
What other advice can you give to parents who want to make sustainable, eco-friendly choices for their family?
We all lead busy lives and thinking about leading an eco-friendly lifestyle can often be pretty low down on the list of priorities. BUT the key is to remember that we can’t change the fate of our planet on our own but when we all come together, the impact can be huge.
If everyone made small lifestyle changes it can add up to making a big difference and a huge part of this is teaching our kiddies how to do the right thing.