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How to Raise an Environmentally Conscious Child

The environment is under threat and as you will know, there’s a desperate need to curb the effects of climate change. For the safety of us, our children, and generations to follow we’ll need to work together in lowering our carbon footprint and minimise waste so that we can protect the planet. While you might be thinking it’s a big task, it all starts with you. Your choices on a household level which the children can get involved with too! Let them join in and be a part of the movement for a cleaner and greener planet. 

This post was put together with the help of a private school in Surrey to educate families on climate change and raise environmentally conscious children.

What is Climate Change?

Climate change refers to the long-term shift in weather and atmospheric conditions across the world. It’s not a new phenomenon with at least eight cycles of ice ages and warmer periods taking place in the last 800,000 years. In the past, these have led to the extinction of species, migration, and land changes. 

Causes of Climate Change

Causes of climate change largely vary with some being natural and unavoidable such as changes to the earth’s orbit and sun. Those that we’re concerned about today though are predominantly human causes. Deforestation, power generation, transportation and everyday consumption has sky-rocketed the levels of harmful gases in the atmosphere like carbon dioxide and nitrous oxides. If we think of the earth as a greenhouse, layers are being added to it continuously which swelters everything contained within it. If temperatures rise so much as a few degrees, we will be in serious trouble as ice caps will melt, coastal regions will begin to flood, and severe drought will become common.  

If you weren’t already aware of the effects of climate change and the threat it poses, here are some key stats for you below:

  • Between 1970 and 2016, the population of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish species declined by an average of 68%.
  • Average sea level reached a record high in 2021, rising at an average of 4.5 millimetres per year.
  • Ice caps are melting at an alarming rate of 750 billion tons per year.
  • There’s been an increase of heat-related mortality of 53.7% in people over the age of 65.
  • 155 million people were affected by food shortages in 2020.
  • Also, as it stands, air pollution is the single biggest environmental threat to health in the UK. Aside from short term consequences like coughing and wheezing, longer term health implications such as dementia, heart disease, stroke and some cancers are linked to inhalation. Reports suggest that tens of thousands of lives are shortened each year as a result.

Exploring Environmental Responsibility with Children

Minimise Wastage

There are simple and easy ways in which we can all cut down on waste and reduce our carbon footprint. From switching off electricals after ourselves and choosing to reuse and upcycle as opposed to buying items brand new. As children are constantly growing, some prefer to buy second hand from charity shops, keep clothing and toys aside to be used again as their younger children grow up. As fashions change, you can upcycle their old wears and turn them into completely new ones using new buttons, accessories and also mending where you can as opposed to buying replacements. It’s much more economical and environmentally friendly. These are all things that children can get involved in and find fun too!

Walk More

Walking is a great way of minimising air pollution, and it ensures that you and your family are staying fit and healthy. Think about the journeys you’re making regularly – if within reach, why not walk to school and back? We all understand the struggle of time keeping with little ones so you might choose to do this on an afternoon when collecting them from school. That way, you will not be pressed for time and need to wake up super early.

Teach Your Child How to Garden

Now that we have giant supermarkets that house pretty much everything, there’s not really much need to garden. It’s convenient and they can be relied on for fresh fruit and vegetables all year long. However, when the opportunity does arise and the weather starts to perk up, it’s a good opportunity to garden. You will be able to save yourself a few pounds from not having to make grocery trips and needing to buy food from elsewhere as you will have your own. It also provides children an enriching learning experience as they can learn about the outdoors and being self-sufficient.

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