One of the best ways that I learned about eco-friendly habits when I was a child was to go to a garbage dump. I saw all the same packaging of things that were familiar parts of my everyday life. I learned that this trash was going into the ground and it could cause pollution. This led me to want to use less of everything because I realized that over consumption created horrible stinking places like the garbage dump. Telling children that dumps would be much smaller, or even non-existant, if we changed our consumption habits is a great way to inspire them.
One of the best ways to start children on the path to eco friendly habits is by educating them. I once wrote a lesson plan for an elementary school class based around the story The Lorax by Dr Seuss. It is a great story based around a land which is hurt by the actions of the Once-ler. You can easily relate it to things the students see in their own lives and use it to open up a discussion about the environment and what is good or bad for it. Raising the awareness of children is key, especially if you then get them to come up with a recycling program or other ways that they can help the environment afterwards. They learn the consequences of harmful behaviors on the environment and children of all ages can be inspired by this easy to understand message in a fun story.
Taking children out into nature is a great way to inspire them to conserve. Children are especially responsive to animals and wildlife. I ended up going into the environmental field because of my love of wildlife. Natural places inspired me to become an artist. When I was younger, I always read magazines like Ranger Rick (highly recommend) and went for walks in nearby parks with my parents and grandparents. I think kids are very responsive visually. If you see trash, you can talk to them about littering and recycling, or if you don’t, talk about how areas are kept beautiful by putting waste in its correct place. You can talk about helping to conserve animals and beautiful places by being less wasteful.
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