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sustainability and kids illustration

If you believe that as humans it is our responsibility to take care of the earth, one the best ways you can help is by teaching the next generation what it means to live a sustainable lifestyle. Here’s how you can influence your kids to live more sustainably.

1. Educate yourself

If you don’t already have a firm understanding of why sustainable lifestyles are important, the first step is to learn more about the impact it can have on the environment.

For example, did you know that on average, each person in the U.S. produces 4.3 pounds of waste per day? That’s 220 million tons generated per year, and about 55 percent of that goes into landfills. By knowing things like this, you can pass this information along to help your kids understand the huge impact they can have by living green.

2. Be an example

Show your children what they can do by doing it yourself. Use reusable bags when shopping, grow your own produce, and gather up recyclable goods and take them to the proper place for disposal.

When your kids are young they won’t question your actions, but will assume that’s what everyone does. As they get older and realize that not everyone does it, they’re more likely to continue, either because it’s habit or because they understand why it’s important to you.

3. Involve your kids

Whether you find ways to make working together fun or you make it part of your kids’ weekly chores, find ways to involve them in your sustainable activities. Have them choose something to grow in the garden. Have everyone in the family work together at separating the recycling into their proper bins. You can even have them help you in making natural cleaning products and talk to them about why you use them instead of chemicals.

4. Plan family activities around green living

There are a lot of family activities you can plan that will expose your kids to sustainability. For example, you can volunteer at a local produce co-op. Head to the local farmers’ market and talk to the farmers about how they grow their food and what they do to avoid using pesticides. Participate in neighborhood cleanup groups or head to your local park to pick up trash.

5. Create crafty projects

Kids love doing crafts and a great way to get your kids involved in sustainability is finding old items around the house and turning them into something new and usable. For example, take old jeans and sew them into beanbags, rice bags, or pillows. Another great idea is to convert plastic containers into garden planters.

6. Encourage habits that support sustainability

While kids are young, encourage them to create more sustainable habits, like turning off lights when they leave an empty room and turning off water while brushing teeth. At the same time, talk to them about why these are good habits and how they help the environment.

Your stories and ideas?

We’d love to hear your stories and ideas on how to encourage kids to get involved in helping the environment. Leave comments below and tell us what you do to involve your kids in a more sustainable lifestyle.

 

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.