Earth Day and Beyond - Connect with the Natural World
Parenting has never been easy. Each generation has had its challenges, but where it differs today from the yesteryear of war and bubonic plague, today’s parental challenge is down right apocalyptic: climate change.
More and more we are hearing Gen Y and Zers proclaim the pursuit of child-free lives, and as a mother to two little ones, I have it give it to them - it is scary stuff imagining the future we may be leaving our babies. The latest reports on climate change give a glimpse of a bleak future with devastating effects on ecosystems, human life, and societal infrastructure if action is not taken immediately.
Parenting has never been easy. Every new generation has had its challenges, but where it differs today from the yesteryear of war and bubonic plague, today’s parental challenge is down right apocalyptic: climate change.
Of course, taking steps at home to cut our global footprint by eating less meat, buying local, or using public transit is a start, but teaching our children to love and appreciate the earth, and live a life of sustainability is detrimental to both the future of our planet and their lives.
This week, in celebration of Earth Day on Wednesday, we outline 5 ways you can instill these ideals with your children to create little global warriors.
Appreciate the natural world
At the top of my list and for reason, my husband and I have always agreed that showing our children the appreciation and awe we have in the natural world is paramount in our family. Growing up, every family vacation I ever took (other than two Disneyland trips) was camping, and boy did it rub off on me. We want to give the same experiences to our kids.
My two-year old stops at every tree to caress and hug it, she points out every insect, smells every flower, and hears the chirps of the birds as a sign they are speaking directly to her.
We love being outside in nature, whether it be in a mountainy forest, a sandy beach, or our plant filled terrace.
By observing our appreciation for the natural world, our daughters learn just how sacred every element is, from trees in the parks, to ants under the flower pot.
Heather McTeer Toney, climate activist and national field director for the Moms Clean Air Force, says to start this relationship between nature and children when they’re young.
“When we walk from the front door to the car, which is just down a little sidewalk, we take note of what’s outside. ‘There’s the grass, and the trees, and is that a flower? What color is the tree? Is that a rabbit?’ ”
Heather McTeer Toney
She says. “It creates a relationship. We’re trying to create, at a very young age, this connection with the natural things around us.”
Join our #calmamamatribe. Let us know what Earth Day means to you while we live collectively in a global quarantine...
(1) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Report: Global Warming of 1.5 ºC. https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/