Catch them young – teach kids about going green

One of the best ways of keeping our environment clean and green is by teaching kids more about how we can keep our environment green. It is best to try to motivate them at a very young age. If we are able to tell them more about the benefits of going green at a young age, we will manage to get them hooked on to it for life. But we need to be imaginative when we discuss such topics with them. Kids don’t like when elders give them serious talks on any possible issue. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t care about the environment or would not want to do anything to save it.

The trick is in getting them involved in activities that can be enjoyable as well as interesting. You can try any method that can get them involved in going green. Show the benefits of going green in a practical manner. This will have a bigger impact on them than just words. In case you are not able to come up with anything, here are some ways to try your luck with them:

You can start by encouraging them to save energy in every possible way in your house. The best way to do this is to first follow such the habits yourself. Your kids will be inspired to do the same when they see their parents doing anything that can save energy in the house. You can even have a competition in your house where the person who saves the most amount of energy will be rewarded with some catchy prize.

Try to teach them a number of ways to recycle the stuff that is lying waste at your place. You can start with paper; teach them to make paste out of it so that they can make paper bags and other things from it. This will also help them to cut down on the use of plastics at your place. In case there is waste cardboard, teach them a number of tricks so that they can build mini houses from it or models of cars. Give them paint so that they will have a nice time by making everything colorful. Remember only give them paints that are environmental friendly.

Take some time out of your busy schedule and spend it with your kids. Go for a walk in the countryside with them. They will be able to appreciate nature more when they are in close contact with it. Try to tell them more on animals and plants that they find interesting. This will help them to develop more interest in such plants and animals.

You need to tell them why use of plastic is bad for our environment – if you are able to do this then you will be able to prevent them from harming our planet in a major way. Plastic is one of the chief menaces that are creating major environmental problems on our planet.

Remember always be patient with your kids when you are discussing about the environment. It pays to be patient because if you can get them involved in the conservation of the environment, they will do their best in following this cause all their life.

We All Laugh in the Same Language

A series of thoughts ensured I’d have something to write about today. I thought of posting a review of products on EZ Vacuum, relating opinions on the historical events of the day (including the famous run from the law made by O.J. Simpson fifteen years ago today) and even researching new methods of water treatment that rely solely on the power of plants for purification. All of those would have made excellent topics of conversation for a blog entry.

However, none of those will be mentioned today.

As I sat thinking and planning out what to write, I gazed out my sliding glass door. Beyond the plates of glass separating me from the world, I watched the children play. At first, when there were only two children, everything went as one would expect. Laughter bubbled and toys were shared.

It wasn’t long before a third child joined in. With the addition of this new playmate, I noticed a shift in the play. Spurts of giggling still occurred and most of the toys were shared, but the easiness of the earlier play disappeared as the children vied for the position of most liked among their group.

When a fourth and fifth child joined in, the situation escalated. It seemed the group had determined a loser in the popularity contest: a little blue eyed girl in a bright pair of pink shorts and white top. Laughter now only visited the group at the girl’s expense. No longer were toys shared equally, but instead were used to taunt the little girl.

Tears mingled with the giggles as they tore the little girl to shreds in the name of fun. She was only about four years old, a little younger than the others, but she was different enough. Her tears seemed to encourage the other children to continue their behavior.

At last, a parent showed up to put an end to the teasing and torment. Unfortunately, it was not the children whose parents should have been correcting them, but rather the mother of the little girl, frazzled and upset at the treatment her child had received. She didn’t say anything to the children in question. She just picked up her baby and retreated to the sanctuary of her home.

Several thoughts paraded through my mind as I watched this scene. I remembered, of course, how it had been in my day, but that wasn’t the most striking of my thoughts.

I thought of the way we treat each other every day over differences that should never come into play.

I live in the South, in the heart of racism. Although I don’t endorse, condone or otherwise participate in the activity, I see it every single day. I couldn’t help making the comparison of the children to how we react to this behavior in ourselves.

Racism doesn’t have a color, a nationality, or a sexuality. It is a disease in all walks of life, no matter how affluent or poverty stricken the beginnings. While it was supposed to have been abolished in the sixties, it hasn’t been. What’s worse, few seem to know what to do about it.

Personally, I think it begins when we ignore the children at play. Children learn and react to what they are taught, whether by example or by book. Perhaps, if they saw less distinction from us when we encounter someone different than ourselves, they may be more inclined to follow that lead. If we showed more compassion for another’s suffering, our children might refrain from inflicting suffering onto another.

I think we should teach them irrefutable truths: All people have feelings, all people have needs, and all people deserve to be treated the same, regardless of the differences.

With my own child, I have taught her to respect the differences in others because it is those differences that make the world such an interesting place. If we were all the same in every way, there would be no need to explore, learn, grow, and become. Diversity is the tool in which we plant our gardens and watch the flowers bloom. Without it, life as we know it would no longer exist. No Utopia would fill its place. Instead, our gardens would be barren, devoid of life.

Every single person has something great to offer the world. There is a purpose to each birth, to each life, to each difference. Don’t waste your opportunity to learn that purpose through acceptance of those who are not the same as you. Don’t throw away a flower for blooming at a different time of year. Don’t waste time with hatred when it will only take the sight from your eyes and destroy the beauty within you.

If you need a reason to follow the path of a kinder humanity, then look towards the children. They are the generation of seeds we’ve planted. Do you want them to suffer the same loss as we have? Or would you rather see them bloom, no matter the season, no matter the color?

As for me, I want to see the garden grow, prosper, and love with the compassion of innocence. I want the children to become the dreams they carry and Iwant them to learn how from those of us who have lived long enough to realize how beautiful those dreams can be.

I’m going to leave you with a song. It is one we should all remember. Written for children, it holds a valuable lesson for all of mankind.

We All Laugh the Same by Marla Lewis

Getting Kids Involved in Conservation

Today as I cleaned up my office and sorted through an ever growing stack of paperwork, I opened my door and let in fresh air from the outside world.

First, there is a dollhouse in my office that is a constant source of stress relief and a great model for all of my designing ideas. (this is a great thing as it keeps me from moving furniture into odd arrangements and then moving it all back when I decide I don’t like it!) What I hadn’t counted on is the influx of neighborhood kids who stared longingly at my little world of miniatures. It wasn’t long before I had to give a play session to the kids (and to me). This is the one little disruption I enjoyed.

As we played, I began thinking of what to do a blog entry on for the night and realized that I had never asked a child what they thought living green was or how they thought one should go about living green.

“We can be like bunnies and eat the grass,” Chelsea, a four year old responded.

“No we can’t. That’s just dumb.” Her six year old and very sophisticated sister Jordan replied.

Logan, a little boy who lives just a few doors down from the girls, chimed in “It means we can’t pull up Mommy’s flowers ‘cuz they’re alive too and that would be killing.”

I chuckled but decided that perhaps a little experiment was in order. I pulled out the habitats I have for butterflies, ants, and frogs. I let the children decide which one they wanted to have for the experiment. Next, we collected some unsuspecting lizards, ants, and moths. I let the kids put in whatever they thought the animals would like in a natural world and got another surprise.

For those parents out there who don’t think your kids listen, please read on.

The children all chose vegetables for their new little friends. Unfortunately, the vegetables were the worst choices for food for the animals. I explained that the diets of their new “pets” were indeed many plants and foods that are not good for humans. The veggies, though, were like the pollution we put in the air with cars and the pesticides we use on our foods. They would slowly kill the very animals that the children had collected.

After a bit of research to show them using sites such as national geographic for kids, the children changed the natural world back to the way it should be for their pets. Then, we talked about how we could really do the same thing for ourselves.

I explained what organic meant and that it was kinder to the planet than any of the chemicals we used in a large portion of our foods. I discussed the experiments both NASA and Disney were running concerning how to grow food without water or soil and how to help the plants produce more fruits for eating.

They were most amazed with Disney’s 9 lb lemons. This lemon makes one gallon of lemonade and is grown organically. The sheer magic of this to them was that Disney created it so it had to be something from the fairies of Pixie Hollow and worth remembering.

By the time the afternoon was complete, I had gathered the mothers of these children and volunteered my teenage daughter and her friends for an outing to a local park this weekend. We are going to set the little pets free there and then work on teaching the children all about living green by helping to clean up the park.

I think if more of us did this just one weekend a month, there would be more understanding in the younger generation of what green living is and a better level of health in the older generations. In the middle of the conservation, you get some real quality time with the kids.

Our plan is to visit the science center as they have an area for kids to plant trees and flowers. Then, we’ll spend some time making a game of gathering the trash from the ground to make the park more beautiful. In return for their efforts, all the parents are giving the kids a pizza party. They’ll learn the beginnings of recycling and conserving our planet and we’ll be making memories to last into our golden years.

The idea is to get them involved. Kids will be more apt to be passionate about that which includes them than that which they are told they have to do without any input of their own. In the process, you will steer them toward a greener lifestyle without any resistance as they will be a part of it.

I think I’ll try to keep this as a monthly activity and get more children to join us as we begin teaching a little planet conservation to the next generation.