5 Ways to Show Kids Why Sustainability is Important

Do you know why sustainability is important? It sounds cliché, but kids are the future! Many people are concerned about the quality of the planet we are leaving the next generation – and with good reason. Here is some data from Earth.org.

  • More than 500 species of land animals are facing extinction and are likely to be lost within 20 years.
  • Currently, about 14 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans every year, and 91 percent of all plastic that has ever been made is not recycled,
  • Every hour, forested areas the size of 300 football fields are cut down.
  • Each year, an estimated 4.2 to 7 million people die from air pollution worldwide, and nine out of 10 people breathe air that contains high levels of pollutants.
  • Globally, an estimated 92 million tonnes of textiles are wasted every year.

This shows us why sustainability is important to teach to youth of all ages. Here are a few ways you can implement eco-friendly practices as a family that are both effective and easy.

Make Recycling Simple

5 Ways To Show Kids Why Sustainability Is Important

Recycling is a great first step to giving children reasons why sustainability is important. Most communities have some sort of recycling program. Look at your local government’s website to see what items they recycle, where drop-off locations are, etc.

Use that information to dictate how you recycle at home. Set up labeled, colored bins for different materials and talk to your kids about sorting items into the right categories. For example, if your area accepts paper products and aluminum cans, have two separate container in different colors to collect the appropriate items. You can have another container for compostable items to use in your garden. Allow your youth to help you take your recycling to the curb or deliver it to the drop-off center on a regular basis (whatever works for your family’s schedule).

READ MORE: 20 Best Eco-Friendly Products to Swap Out Now

Pick It Up

5 Ways To Show Kids Why Sustainability Is Important

Picking up litter is a great habit to get into with kids. First, talk to your child about your community. Visit your favorite parks and waterways. Point out plants and animals in your neighborhood. Share your love of nature. Tell your child that we all need to do our part to take care of our planet so that everyone can enjoy it for a long time to come.

When you go out for a walk or to play on the neighborhood playground, bring supplies for cleaning up litter, like gloves and trash bags. Make this a long-term habit by picking up a few pieces of trash each time you visit the park! Or, set a five-minute timer and see how much you can pick up in that amount of time! You can also join others in large clean-up projects in your local area as a way to make a bigger impact and meet friends!

Plant a Garden

5 Ways To Show Kids Why Sustainability Is Important

This idea is a little more time-intensive, but it’s worth it in so many valuable ways! Commit to planting a garden by researching the right plants for your area and prepping your land accordingly. Keep in mind that you should choose plants that you are able to maintain, based on your schedule. Pick plants that bear fruits and vegetables. Heck, go big and plant a tree! It may take years to grow, but that one tree can make massive impacts on the environment in an amazing way!

Involve your kids in each step of the way. Help them pick out seeds for fruits and veggies they enjoy. Let them dig in the dirt and drop in seeds and bulbs. Let them help water and weed. Then, when it’s time for harvesting, let them bask in the glory of growing their own food! They will feel so accomplished! This is a sustainable habit for the planet and for your family. Growing your own food can teach self-reliance and help you save a little money at the grocery store.

READ MORE: 25 Best Eco-Friendly Products to Sustain Your Home and the Environment

Leave the Car at Home

5 Ways To Show Kids Why Sustainability Is Important

This idea can be hard to put into practice depending on where you live, but it’s still worth mentioning. Challenge your family to reduce car trips by opting to walk for one errand a week. Maybe this means you’ll walk to the park on the weekends, or you’ll carpool to school and work one day a week. Perhaps you can look into public transportation for a trip to the bank or pharmacy. The plan will look different for each family depending on your logistics, but it’s a great goal to set.

The benefits of reducing your car trips are numerous! You’ll save money on gas, get more exercise, and cut greenhouse gasses in the air! If you can make it happen depending on the proximity of your home to your community, your resources, your weather, and your public transportation system, give it a whirl.

Explore the World

5 Ways To Show Kids Why Sustainability Is Important

One of the best ways to foster a love for the Earth is to get out there and see it! Children will see why sustainability is important when they are given opportunities to explore and fall in love with all the many wonders this planet has to offer!

To clarify, this doesn’t mean you have to have a huge budget and disposable income to travel the globe (though, if you do, that’s fantastic). You can explore new parks near you or take day trips to see state and national nature preserves. You can plan vacations around natural wonders like mountains and beaches. You can visit zoos to learn about animals and habitats that aren’t native to your area, and you can watch National Geographic videos right in your own home. 

No matter what your budget or interests are, try to leave each place a little more dedicated to the preservation of Earth. Your kids will be filled with amazement and wisdom, and they will want to do their part to protect our planet so they can share it with their kids. It’s a beautiful cycle.

READ MORE: Keep A Clean House With 15 Of The Best Eco-Friendly Products

Be an Example

5 Ways To Show Kids Why Sustainability Is Important

Remember, the next thing you can do to demonstrate why sustainability is important is just that – demonstrate it! Live by example. 

If your kids see you recycling, picking up litter, showing interest in the world, eating homegrown fruits and vegetables, enjoying time in nature, and participating in other “green” activities, they will see those as normal parts of life. They will see those activities as normal and continue them throughout their lives. The example of good behaviors that you set can truly live on to make positive impacts for generations to come!

WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out 5 Amazing and Easy Service Projects for Little Kids for more advice, tips, and tricks.

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5 Ways To Show Kids Why Sustainability Is Important
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