Teaching kids to care for the environment

Last updated: Monday, October 20, 2014

Do you want your children to grow up to this everywhere?Beautiful….right???

Have you ever gone for a walk and noticed all the trash on the side of the road?  If not, you should because it is crazy how much people litter.  Seriously, do people not know how to hold onto their trash until they get to a trash can.  I don’t like a dirty car either but we have a bag that we fill up and when we get gas we empty it.

Our family lives out in the country near many other family members. We often get together and go for walks.  We like to give the kids some garbage bags and we pick up the trash on the side of our road.  I do have to say the picture above is not a picture of mine or from my road.  My goodness I don’t know what I would do if that was what I saw when I looked outside.

The other day I took my two little ones and went for a walk with my aunt. Mikie helped us pick up some of the trash along the road.  While walking we discussed stuff that I think he may be old enough to understand.

Some examples of what we discussed are:

  1. When people throw their garbage outside it is called littering.

  2. Littler makes it into our water and then our water gets dirty.

  3. Some of the garbage like plastic bottles may never go away.

Adi loves to go for walks. Everything is so new.

We see cows on our walks! The kids love them.

Now when we are driving and Mikie sees someone throw something out of the window he say “mommy they are being naughty, we aren’t suppose to litter.  Tell them to stop and pick it up.”  It makes me feels good that he is learning at the age of three what many adults haven’t figured out.

Mikie knows we recycle. I am not sure that he really understands it completely but I told him that we should not only pick up the trash outside and not litter but that recycling things also helps keep the earth clean. I know that this is a very basic explanation but when he is a little older I plan on showing him some videos of how the garbage makes it to the ocean and how long it takes for garbage to break
down.

We never used to recycle.  We did not have the money that I thought you needed to pay for it.  I then realized that there was places I could take it for free.  We started recycling.  Every time I went grocery shopping I dropped off the recycling first.  Back then we didn’t even come close to recycling everything we could.

Now our garbage company picks up the recycling for free.  We don’t even have to sort it.  We put our recycling in a clear bag, and they take it when they pick up the trash.  Being able to recycle now is so easy.  We have two cans in the house.  The one in back is recycling and the one in from is not.

Until we started recycling I never realized how much trash we had that could be recycled.  I was truly amazed.  We have more recycling every week than we have trash.  I do try to not buy things like plastic water bottles we each have a camelbak water bottle in the house that we refill from our filtered tap water.  Mikie thinks this water bottle is really cool and it helps him to want to drink more water.  We do have a lot of cardboard and packaging from groceries that goes into the recycling.

I know we all want our kids to have the best future. Their future also includes their environment so let’s teach them young how to take care of it.

Here are some links that make me sad about what is going on with our planet. It is hard to think that one person can make a difference but if you are with me on this than that means two of us are making a difference. Let’s teach our kids now to help make a difference.

The following information is disturbing. If you don’t recycle now you will want to after watching these videos and reading the information.

I love this YouTube video by Lueie Barnett.  It is short but disturbing.  It make you wonder if there really that much trash. There absolutely is.  Did you know there are 5 garbage patches in our oceans.  The largest one is at least twice the size of Texas.  Approximately 1500 water bottles are put into the landfills and the ocean every second.  Yes that is 1500 a second.  Astonishing isn’t it.  We need to start doing something about it and get our kids to understand that this will affect their life.  I know that I want my kids to grow up to a better place than we have now.

 “Without change this is what our kids future looks like!”

Some where this is what it does look like already!

I am not sure about you but I am glad it is not what I see out my window or on my drive to the park with my kids.

Here are a few more YouTube videos.  They are a little longer but very interesting as well. This one is from Plastic Paradise.  I knew plastic was strong and nearly indestructible but did not realize that it never really goes away and that nearly every piece of plastic that has ever been made is still here on earth.  To see all the plastic that washes up on a remote island and creates so many problems for the wildlife is very unsettling.  This one is a student video but it gives a lot of information, like how and why the garbage patches forms.  Did you know that fish around the patch have six times more odds of eating plastic than the food they should be eating like plankton.  The smaller fish eat the plastic and then they get eaten by larger fish that we eat.  Appetizing huh.  Watch these videos to learn more and hopefully you will be as disturbed as I am.

The U.S. National Park Service has this list showing the time it takes for garbage to decompose in the environment.  You will be surprised by how long some things take to decompose.

This is a great lesson plan for teaching kids to care for the environment.  It is from the City of Tucson Recycling Education Program.  Here is another place you can start if you would like to start teaching your kids about trash and the earth.

Do you recycle?  How are you teaching kids to care for the environment? Are you as upset about how our earth is being treated as I am?  I would love to hear from you.  Do you have any ideas on how we could all help?

photo credit: 1st Picture of trash – Plastic Bag Nightmare –  Zainub Razvi via photpin cc

photo credit: 2nd Picture of trash – Rachel Barenblat – via photpin cc

photo credit: 3rd Picture of trash –  Rachel in wonderland – via photpin cc