Monday, October 15, 2007

Green Children...They're not so bad.

Over on "The" network for bloggers, Cre8buzz, I learned about something I had to participate in from Cable Girl. It's called Blog Action Day.

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day
It didn't even take a second thought to know what I wanted to write about: Kids.
The efforts we take today will mean very little if we don't teach our children why we do the things we do. It's easy to get caught up in just getting our tasks done and not stop to explain the "why's" and "how's" of daily life to our kids. But we have to remember that once these guys are on their own, they become the consumers of America. They become the people buying products and throwing them away. It's our job to teach our children how to take care of themselves - but it is also our job to teach them to take care of the place they live.

Getting them involved doesn't always seem easy. I try to get the kids involved with making our family sustainable without shoving it down their throats. I don't want them to resent recycling or composting, I want them to embrace it as the way they live and will continue to live their whole lives.

Mainly, I've done this by making them the honoree compost taker-outers. While I realize this is not a very cool job, I do what I can to make it cool, like needing it done when they are grounded or need to be getting ready for bed. I'm still working on a way to make taking the garbage and recycling out fun.

There are more subtle ways to pass a green attitude to your kids. (Seriously, peeps, it isn't that hard. You know me. Impossibly easy. Impossibly easy lifestyle changes, that is!)

Some ways I do it:

~I've stopped saying "Throw it away" as a blanket statement and replaced it with "Recycle it." I would say , "Go throw this away," assuming they would know that I meant for them to recycle it. Could I really blame them when their school papers ended up in the garbage? When I make a clear direction for it, they pick up on it. Now they ask me ifsomething is recyclable.

~I ask them for ideas. When we have a container that is going to be recycled or thrown away, I ask if they can think of something else to use it for first. They don't always think of a use for it, but at least I know I'm getting those wheels turning.

~I talk to them. I point out things that are eco-friendly and things that are not. I explain why for both reasons. I know that they know that trash doesn't disappear when the garbage man comes.

~I don't buy them everything they ask for. In fact, I hardly ever do. We too often (and I was so guilty of this until a couple years ago!) make purchases that we don't even need. A little toy here and there never hurt anyone...but that insanely plastic-filled package it came in will. I also let them know why we make these decisions - so they can take that knowledge and ask for something with less packaging remember it the next time they ask for a toy.

~I don't let trash rest outside. Whether it's in my yard or at the park I always make a point to pick up trash I see on the ground. Long-time readers may already know this, but my Sunshine has become quite the complainer when it comes to litterers. When she sees garbage, she immediately picks it up and disgustedly says, "Why couldn't they just THROW IT AWAY!? Sheesh! I'll do it!"

~We bring up the Energy Hog. This creepy character was introduced to our family over the summer. He serves as a reminder of what we don't want to be. "Lights on? Let's not be an energy hog!" "Shower's a little long! Let's not be an energy hog!" Because the character was already introduced to them in a much cooler environment than home, they caught on to this pretty quickly.

These are just a few simple ways to introduce a greener life to your kids. Find what works for your family.
Change what you can. Work on what you can't. Be proud of the changes you make and the ideal you set.

If you'd like some more ideas on teaching green, check out this link from iVillage.
Also check out some more of the Blog Action Day participants at!


CableGirl said...

Fantastic post and a really important point. We really do need to teach the next generation why it's so important to take care of the environment.

Great list of suggestions how to get kids involved. :)

MommasWorld said...

Snow White is all about saving the world�energy wise. I never have to tell her to turn out the lights when she leaves a room. The energy hog in the house is ME. While brushing my teeth in the morning and at night the little tiny energy police woman (Snow White) BANGS on the bathroom door �You do not NEED that much water to brush your teeth! Don�t let the water run! Please Momma! Please!� Bad habit I have of running the water while I brush.

I like the way you are handling the green issues with your children.

Whiskeymarie said...

Good for you! It's important to get them started young- if recycling and saving energy is all they've ever known, then it's a sure bet that they will keep it up into adulthood.

Jo Beaufoix said...

This is a fantastic post Butrfly.
I must get my kids more involved too.

Worker Mommy said...

Great idea, thanks for the great reminders and suggestions!

Virtualsprite said...

Amen, sister. Amen.

Brillig said...

Oh, i could be doing SO much better! You've given me some awesome ideas. I tend to just do what i can on my own, thinking I'll teach my kids later or whatever. I like your approach much better.

Cherann said...

This is a really good post. I'm sorry that it took me so long to read it.

I think these are some really great ideas. In a couple weeks, I'm taking my kids to a landfill and we're touring it so that they learn about trash and recycling.