Thoughtful, well-mannered and environmentally conscious children aren't born, but made.
Robert Gilman of the Context Institute addressed the issue in his quarterly journal. "Time is too short to give up on changing the hearts, minds and behaviors of today's adults—but it is foolish not to do everything possible to influence tomorrow's adults." And while there are those who believe population control is the first step in solving our environmental crisis, Gilman disagrees. "What the world needs is not necessarily fewer people, but more caring and capable people."
Where do you begin if you haven't already? Start simple. There's no simpler way to raise your kids' environmental awareness than to begin a household recycling plan.
The best thing about recycling is that it delivers instant, measurable results. Environment-Green estimates that 60 percent of our rubbish could be recycled: That's easy to see when it takes twice as long to fill the trash can as it did before.
Composting is another relatively simple way for kids to recycle. All it takes is something to hold your compost, something green (high in nitrogen), something brown (to provide the fiber), water, air and some soil. Add some red worms or set the bin directly on the ground and attract your own. Go to www.wikihow.com/Compost for more information.
Although there are many other ways to get kids into a sustainable frame of mind—in Durham, kids can join YIKES (Youth Involved in Keeping Earth Sustainable)—teaching them to appreciate nature is best. Take a Child Outside Week runs Sept. 24-30. From feeding the birds in your backyard to taking nature walks, showing children what a wonderful yet fragile world we live in is essential to developing future environmentalists. Paul Hawken said it better in this admonition: "Leave the world better than you found it, take no more than you need, try not to harm life or the environment, make amends if you do."