These days, it seems like everyone is "Going Green." From big companies to the kids next door, people are trying to be better about protecting the environment. How are you teaching your kids? Do you show them how to recycle at home? Have you been walking or biking more instead of taking the car? Do you remind them to turn off the lights when leaving a room? Or are they the ones teaching you how to conserve energy, create less waste, or use less water? We'd love to hear!
Here are a few resources you may find helpful:
True Green Kids: 100 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet is a great book used in this lesson to help kids understand that products and objects have lifespans and that they need to be recycled, reused, and re-imagined. Included is a podcast interview with the author.
Your Carbon Diet is an interactive tool showing kids how we use different energy sources and how it affects not only our environment but also our budget.
How We Know What We Know about Our Changing Climate is another wonderful book used in this lesson designed to help kids understand the scientific research of climate change and the role of citizens in helping professional scientists generate data to track the problem and devise solutions. It also includes a podcast interview with the authors.
AAAS Climate Change Resources is a collection of AAAS materials related to climate change and links to relevant resources. Calculate your carbon footprint, get practical tips to make changes at home, watch a video of a climate researcher explaining his work, and more.
As a child, I lived in places where water was scarce, so I learned to conserve water at an early age -- taking 3-minute showers, turning off the tap water in between activities such as brushing and rinsing my teeth, and between washing and rinsing dishes, etc. Not too long ago, I was reminded, on a trip to Bermuda -- where our host family collected rainwater in tanks for their family's water needs and used their water reserves sparingly -- how important it is to conserve water, even when we aren't experiencing immediate water shortages. I have family in Colorado and Arizona and see how they conserve water by xeriscaping -- using native, drought tolerant plants in their yards, watering their vegetable gardens early in the morning, and using a variety of other efficiencies to save water.
I think, for children, vivid examples and experiments often leave strong impressions; and involving children in the family's efforts to conserve water and other resources strengthens their learning and understanding of its importance. When my son was young, we sometimes ran experiments -- how long did it take to fill up the sink with water that was running unnecessarily while you brushed your teeth? And how much water did the sink hold? If you waste that much water twice a day for a month, how much water would you waste in a month? a year? If the whole family wasted that much water, how much more was wasted over the same time period? (a little math in the experiment). Activities we shared, like that, were more interesting and perhaps more effective than the simple, urgent plea: "Hey! Turn off the WATER!" (LOL).
Anyway, thanks for the topic...I've got water on the mind - it's 96 degrees outside!
Thanks for sharing your story, Marty! It is a good reminder that conserving water is important, and not just when there is a shortage. Several people I know have recently purchased rain barrels so they can collect water for their lawns, gardens, and indoor plants.
I agree that getting kids involved, instead of just telling them to do something, is a great way to make an impact. I really like your idea of running experiments to engage your son and help him visualize the concept!