When my children were young, they used to make home videos about the environment, write plays about the natural world, climb, hike, swim and play with Nature, and people would often comment, "Wow, didn't know you all are so green / into the environment / pro-Nature/ etc."
Well, we are not exceptionally green / into the environment / pro Nature / etc. No more than we should, and we were merely passing on a love for our world to our children. Just for fun, whilst I was at University and juggling small babies (no nannies or helpers) I did a project with my young children in tow on paper recycling because it bothered me so much. I took my children to the paper mills and recycling plants, and told them never to waste paper. Published by my University, that academic work is still knocking about in the world. Here it is.
It is so important to begin teaching children environmental stewardship from a very young age. To know is to love, and whilst they are still tiny, children still have the eyes to see magic in its full glory. This is the best time to fall in love with Nature and understand its complexities. And once you understand Nature, you understand life.
It doesn't make them crazed tree-huggers (though what's wrong with that? The world needs more tree-huggers in fact). Here's an example. I was complaining to my daughter G that I hate all the packaging. We recycle with militant zeal and avoid as much packaging as possible, yet we end up with tonnes. It drives me crazy.
G quipped, "Mum, have you thought about this? Manufacturers are not your enemy. They want to lower their packaging costs too, but they have to get their products to consumers undamaged. So be it strawberries or a television set, packaging is needed. I'd say they use the minimum they can get away with to save costs on their side."
This debate raised another point for us to take onboard, which is buy local as much as possible. Apart from the need for less packaging, we are actually support the smallholders against big multinationals. We are saving local businesses and the environment when we buy local, even if the products cost slightly more.
I love this book that we are reading as a family this summer. It shows the interrelationships between all living things.
And here is a sweet little video G made when she was about six.
Love the world you live in, and share the with your children, too. They are the inheritors of this planet.
First published in www.raisinghappystrongkids.com