Update: This article was last updated on 14th July 2022 to reflect the accuracy and up-to-date information on the page.
Have you heard about UNESCOs’ Greening project? It aims to transform every learner into an agent of real change by equipping them with the knowledge, skills, values, and eco-friendly attitudes needed to tackle climate change. The project will work for green schools, policies, curricula, and teacher training, all with Sustainable Development Goals.
It’s an ambitious project. According to the reports, through this project, and as the UN lead agency on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), UNESCO aims to ensure all 193 of its Member States have climate change education in their education sector policies and as core curriculum components by 2030 along with greening teacher training institutions and schools.
Children are our future, and they will be the citizens of the world. Therefore, for long-term environmental sustainability, training children in the present is a must.
All the elements in our lives–the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink–are gifts of nature. Unfortunately, we are not paying attention to Mother Nature and biodiversity.
Why is the focus on children?
There are other innovative kid’s environmental education programs that are being run across the globe.
The statistics show that the world population stands at 7.8 billion and about 26% of the world is less than 15 years of age. So, imagine what our world would be like if environmentally friendly practices become a reflex action of even 59% of children!
Children are our future and teaching eco–friendly living would ensure that we will not rob our children of a livable world.
Home is the first school, and parents are the first teachers. We can make our planet habitable and protect it from further damage by inculcating environment-friendly habits in our children.
How do we inculcate eco-friendly habits?
We can teach our children about recycling, telling them about choosing energy-efficient appliances, and focusing on natural resources that are a part of our everyday life such as water, electricity, food, etc.
The lessons woven around them can make a big difference. Remember, we have to teach them, not preach them. Humble beginnings can yield better results.
Some of the eco-friendly habits you can teach are:
1. Water Conservation: Water is one of the scarcest resources, but we often take water for granted. So, the first lesson could be about water conservation. For a balanced ecosystem, our children should use water efficiently and avoid unnecessary water usage.
For instance, keeping the tap closed while brushing teeth, not leaving the tap running after a shower, and checking taps before leaving the house. Save leftover water in a glass or water bottle for later use. These little things will create awareness and help them become responsible as they grow up.
2. Save Electricity: They say small things make a bigger difference. Children should adopt good habits of turning off the lights, fans, and air conditioners before leaving their rooms, classrooms, etc. People leave their gadgets plugged in. Therefore, it is important to educate children on unplugging electronics such as laptops, mobile phones, etc. once they are fully charged.
3. Avoid Food waste: It would surprise you to know that the UN estimates reveal annual global food waste at 1.3 billion tons, or around $1 trillion. A European Commission statement from 2016 said that around 88 million tonnes of food are wasted annually in the EU-28, which has an associated cost estimated at 143 billion euros.
To regulate food waste, France passed a law in 2016 that bans supermarkets from throwing away edible food by obliging them to pair up with a food waste NGO that can redistribute food that would have otherwise been thrown away. In the same year, Italy passed a law against food waste to cut one million tonnes of the estimated five million wasted every year.
These are just a few examples. We can save the world from trouble by teaching our kids at home. Some simple tips, such as serving only what they can eat, and finishing what’s on their plate could be helpful. Also, teach them to share or donate the extra food they have.
4. Avoid Plastic: According to the United Nations Environment Program, from the 1950s to the 1970s, only a small amount of plastic was produced, and as a result, plastic waste was relatively manageable. But plastic waste generation more than tripled between the 1970s and the 1990s, reflecting a similar rise in plastic production. Today, we produce about 400 million tonnes of plastic waste every year.
Plastic products dominate our surroundings. The most dangerous ones are single-use plastic products. It’s a challenge in itself to teach the children to avoid them. But we can try by teaching them using the benefits of eco-friendly products. We can create awareness through cartoon shows, pictorial books, and giving them recyclable products.
5. Avoid littering: Initiatives do not have to be dramatic. Set an example for your children by not littering. People throwing waste out of the car windows is a common sight. Train your children to use litter bags during outings. At home, monitor them and ensure that they throw the wrappers, etc. in the bin. Show them movies on the subject matter to enhance environmental awareness.
Moonpreneur is on a mission to ignite the spark of innovation in every child’s mind to promote sustainability and greener options for our planet.