We are well-aware of the many environmental threats facing our planet. We also know that we as a species are entirely accountable. While it’s definitely not late as adults to start fixing things, it’s even more critical to raise a generation that will care better for our only home.

Here are a dozen simple ways to teach our kids, and practice what we teach, as we nurture a culture of environment consciousness in our lives and homes.

Remove, reduce, and replace plastic

Start at home – phase out plastic toys, cutlery, cups, plates, snack boxes and water bottles, bags, including sandwich bags, and replace everything with alternatives made of fabric, glass, and metal.

Take the mindset outside

Gear up and take the consciousness forward, outside. This means equipped to say no to plastic on-the-go. Carry metal forks and spoons in the car or bag, pack stainless steel plates and lunch boxes on vacations and picnics, and be wary at parties in kids’ classrooms. Oh, and no plastic bottled drinks – soda, water, or juice.

Leave that car behind

Public transport is still the best – make it the default mode, unless there’s a genuine need. Carpool, ride the train, use shuttles, get a bus pass, and walk whenever possible – save money and burn calories.

It’s always the little things, isn’t it?

Turning off the lights when leaving the room, powering down electronics when not in use, pausing on water when brushing teeth – every little thing counts. Point them to the kids.

Re-purpose + re-imagine

Cardboard boxes, used toilet rolls, plastic bottles, and a ton of things around us work great as craft materials and as toys. In fact, kids are innately good at this – turning a stick and a rag into a flag or a big box into a ship – they thrive on their power to imagine.

Sort, and more importantly involve them

Make separate bins for recycling, composting, and trash. And make it a habit to sort before you throw stuff. Educate yourself, and pass it on to the kids, on which plastic or brand is recyclable, and what’s truly compostable. A bit painful, but goes a long way in their awareness around waste management and landfills.

Read to them while you raise them

Believe in the power of books to influence little minds! There are many, many books out there that are environment themed, focusing on aspects that reinforce reducing waste and caring for our planet.

Think nature time

Go on family hikes and mindful nature walks. Sign up at the community garden or make a ‘backyard day’ every week. Get the kids to weed out or make them climb a tree. Best of all, get them to grow their own food, just a little.

“Re-” is the mantra

This time, it’s RE-use. Buy used books, organize book exchanges at parties, donate clothes and toys, re-use gift bags and wrapping stuff. Get creative and thrifty!

Notice what’s around the food

Buy cereal in bulk in a bag, not boxes. Order an ice cream cone, not a cup. Say no to a straw.

Shop Local

I know, it is tempting to order a book or toy online when you have your feet up on the couch, when the house is quiet and the kids are tucked in for the night. But how about a walk to the corner store and letting her pick out the book? Remember to carry a bag. And cut down on a big box, some bubble wrap, and a long strip of packing tape.

Celebrate!

It’s sad, but there’s a reason why we have “Earth Day” (April 22), “World Water Day” (March 22), “World Environment Day” (June 5), “Earth Hour” and “Bike-or-Walk-to-School Day.” The more the better – use every single excuse to celebrate, and to make our make our planet a CLEAN, GREEN, place.

Featured Image: https://flic.kr/p/RZqg8M

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