How can you get children interested in green issues?

Posted in: Environment

Posted on: 15.07.2020

Who will climate change affect most? Younger generations. Our children.

Yet despite the importance of the topic, the UK’s school curriculum is sorely lacking. While some schools should be applauded for teaching climate change and environmental issues, it's not central to the curriculum so many others completely miss it.

This was a key trigger for the school strikes movement. Many children, and their parents, felt if they were not being sufficiently taught about this most important of issues at school, they should take time out to make that point.

Of course, many children have had limited school time this year, and many parents will have had quite enough of homeschooling. But just because school is officially out for summer, learning doesn't need to stop. How can you naturally help your children to develop an interest in the planet and in tackling the environmental issues we face?

We asked people all over Good Energy for their tips.

Little greens, 1 - 4:

  • Recycling: “My 3-year-old loves to help with recycling. Probably because it involves throwing…”
  • TV: Although there are few programmes specifically about sustainability (something we want to change), it does feature in episodes of children’s TV. Did you know the Go Jetters’ Academy is run off wind turbines and a hydro plant?
  • Books: Read colourful beautiful books that talk about our planet and offer solutions. A few our people recommend are ‘There’s a Rang-tan in my bedroom’, and ‘You Save the Oceans’.
  • Dress up: “My little boy would need Batman or Superman to get his attention, but maybe in a year or two!”

Planet patrol, 5 - 9:

  • Answer the why: “I make sure I always fully answer my son’s questions to feed his curiosity about the planet, no matter how many times he asks ‘why?’. This regularly turns into talks about animals, trees and the environment, and about our role in protecting them.”
  • Let them lead: It can be best to let children lead the conversation about a topic that interests them – for example speaking about the amount of cars on the road and how they affect the air you breathe.
  • Learn by doing: Teaching them to cook and understand food is a great first step on an environmental journey: you can talk about where food comes from, how it’s produced and what impact it has. 
  • Observe the world: Use real world evidence to help children understand the issues, like observing weather trends, populations of insects and the impact of food. Explaining the positive choices they can make helps them feel empowered.
  • Nature documentaries: “We love to watch a David Attenborough documentary on a Saturday night. I think our shared love for animals will encourage his want to protect their environments for the future.”

School strikers, 10 - 13:

  • Discuss the news: Piggyback off the news or what they have learned at school to open up debate. “During last year’s general election, we chatted about each party’s environmental policies and discussed which they thought were best.”
  • Greta Thunberg: Greta is a hero to the younger generation. Chat about what she is campaigning for, and how your children can join her movement too.
  • Youtube: “My 10 year old daughter watches the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson which answers all of her questions about the universe, the sun, water, the environment and our climate.”
  • Buy and donate to charity: Encourage a culture of reusing items, by sorting through old books, toys and clothes together and donating them to charity.

They know more than you do, 14 - 18:

  • Let them influence you: Involve your children in decisions about the products and services you buy. “We now buy Who Gives A Crap toilet paper after our daughter told us about it.”
  • Debate key issues: “We debate over family mealtimes, which sometimes get quite heated – last week it was outrage over the fast fashion industry.”
  • Sign petitions: Empower your teenager to make a difference through researching, sharing or even starting petitions they care about.

Ultimately, our world is in our children's hands.

Let's empower them to learn, act and campaign for the greener future that they deserve. 

Do you have any more tips to share? Let us know here

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