August 16, 2021

Sustainability --- Can Kids Help?

There is much written about what we should do, what we can do, what we are doing to create a healthier, kinder world for all to live in. And most of this wisdom focuses on the actions adults could/should/are taking. But what about kids? What can our kids do to help? After all our kids will inherit what happens when today’s actions become tomorrow’s reality. Shouldn’t we involve them?

Well, we think kids are already involved. And, actually, they are doing a better job of helping with sustainability than adults are. It’s just that we have not taken a careful look at what our kids are doing. Some things that come naturally to kids are sustainability staring us right in the face. We’ve just never thought of it all in terms of sustainability. 

Here are some of the ways we have noticed that kids are naturally on the right track to sustainability:

  • Remember those favorite clothes your kids just had to wear everyday; nothing else would do --- the superman outfit, the bunny onesie, the hockey team sweatshirt, the jacket with the silver zippers on it (worn even in the middle of summer)? 
  • Remember how you transformed that yellow and pink bookcase you got in the first grade into a sleek gray one (probably with “Keep Out” signs all over it ) for your redecorated middle school sanctuary?
  • Have you ever watched kids turn old boxes into special things --- a maze for their cat, tessellation puzzles (The artist Tony Smith was good at this one!), a small hideaway for reading, scenery for a pretend play? 
  • Most kids have a favorite cup they reach for first from the shelf over and over and over. Repeatedly reaching for a new, unopened bottle of water would be totally boring! 
  • Then there is the bicycle! A smile takes over my whole body every time I see a 4-year-old pedaling her tricycle as fast as her excited legs will take her as she tries to keep up with her older brother who is riding his new bike trying to keep up with their Dad who is cruising in front with the youngest member of the family sleeping so comfortably in a burley. Whew! Can you feel the energy? Go girl!

It doesn’t take much to see how these early behaviors are already part of helping to take care of our world. And you don’t have to stretch your imagination much to see how, if they are continued, they can morph into even more sustainable practices. 

And, if you stop and think about it, it’s not hard to come up with other, easy things for kids to do to be part of keeping our earth healthy:

  • Turn the lights off when leaving their room.
  • Turn the water off when they’re in the act of brushing their teeth.
  • Become friends with the trees in their own yard/park.
  • Find out what happens to garbage when the collector takes it away.
  • Donate their bunny onesie to someone they like a lot --- with stories about how they used and loved it.

OH! The power of kids! I hope the adults in their world are listening!