Tips for Raising a Young Changemaker
It’s time to correct course—and no, we didn’t start the fire, but everyone has a unique role to play in the journey towards sustainability and environmental stewardship. While climate change, pollution, and threats to biodiversity can feel like intractable problems, the reality is that small changes add up to seismic shifts. We all affect change in our own orbits, and parents are in a unique role to facilitate understanding that will lead to compassion and then to action. Here are five ways to spark a flame in your young changemaker:
- Reading (and film) are fundamental. Young children will delight in and grow to care for animals, plants, and the natural world through video and text. A subscription to National Geographic’s Little Kids magazine is an affordable starting point for the 3-5 year old set and audiences of all ages will be mesmerized by film series like Planet Earth with its stunning visuals and insightful commentary. Global Guardian Project’s Learning Capsules are perfect for older children needing a mix of hands-on activities and informative content.
- Press reset by spending time in nature on a regular basis. The Japanese have this concept on lock—forest bathing is a national pastime with no goal other than reaping the health benefits of quiet contemplation among trees! Not only is this a positive model for stress relief, it’s a great opportunity for the whole family to learn the names and characteristics of local plants, trees, and flowers.
- Adopt a cause as a family. Whether you’re passionate about conserving grasslands, fostering an orphaned elephant, or protecting the grey wolf, the whole family can decide together on a cause to support. Trade the consumption of a typical birthday party by giving up your birthday for charity, help the kids with seasonal fundraising events like a lemonade stand, and discuss news from your chosen charity as part of your regular dinner time conversation.
- Make advocacy part of your life and stand up for sustainability when it's under political threat. Even young children will be happy to color a postcard that can be sent to your members of congress. Older kids can write their own letters to government officials or to the local newspaper editor. Sign up for advocacy alerts about causes you care about and teach teens to use apps like Resistbot which will convert text messages into faxes sent automatically to your government officials.
Are you ready to affect change in your own orbit? Subscribe to our monthly Learning Capsules and see how your family can inspire positive changes in your home, your community and the Earth.