Raising The Future
One of the best chances we have of improving the planet (aka saving it from mass destruction) is educating the next generation. Issues like single use plastics (or how our society generally prioritises convenience over environmental impact) can be difficult to tackle with adults due to conditioning over many years. But what’s so beautiful about discussing these issues with children,r is how open they are to change and how matter of fact and obvious it all seems to them. Getting kids involved with green initiatives is not only fun, but it helps them to view themselves as part of the wider world and brings in valuable skills like problem solving and innovative thinking.
A particular programme I’m passionate about is Eco Schools. It’s an initiative that encourages young people to engage and protect their environment. Over 51,000 schools worldwide have signed up to the programme in 67 different countries. Parents and teachers support a student-led committee. Together they problem solve, plan and tackle issues around the school such waste and litter, energy usage and biodiversity, and growing plants & vegetables. The increased awareness on these issues at a young age is invaluable, and the Eco Schools programme helps children to develop a deeply connected understanding of the environment at large too.
The John Muir Trust is another fantastic organisation. John Muir was a Scotsman who is best known for campaigning to make Yosemite a national park. In fact there are many national monuments in California named after Muir and to this day he’s known as the ‘Father of the National Parks’. However, here in the UK, he is equally celebrated for his environmentalism and the John Muir Award encourages people to enjoy and care for wild spaces. You can complete the John Muir Award as an individual, a group, or a family and it can be a great way to get your kids out into nature, and doing positive work to protect it. You can scroll through their archive to hear of various family case studies, which span from the Cairngorms to London.
Proof of just how powerful young voices can be, is abundant. You may remember Trash Girl hitting the news. Nadia Sparkes was bullied for collecting litter in her bicycle basket on the way to school. She stood firm, set up the Team Trash Girl Facebook page and now a cartoon is being made about 'Trash Girl'. She is proud to be a superhero!
Sisters Ella & Amy Meek founded Kids Against Plastic, motivated by the UN Global Goals, and pledge to pick up 100,000 pieces of plastic - the number of sea mammals killed each year from being trapped in plastic or eating it. Their TED Talk is jaw-droppingly professional.
Our own daughters (4 & 6) donned their 'I Have A Dream' T-shirts and got on stage to win money for their school at the Poole Soup. Their school will use the funds they won for environmental educational resources.
Even if you do not have children yourself, there are plenty of ways that you can get involved in your community and help the youth of today create a better tomorrow.