We don’t own this planet, we owe it: How to raise climate conscious kids

We’re constantly bombarded with quotes and memes on our newsfeeds, so you know one is killer when it actually sticks in your head forever. Like this bad boy: “We do not inherit the world from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

Because it sums up what humankind seems to have got so very, very wrong over the last hundred years or so. That we’re simply so entitled, we think the planet we’re born on belongs to us and therefore we can treat it how we like.

Yet that’s complete bullsh*t.

It’s the innocent generations after us who must clean up our mess. The babies gurgling up at the clouds in wonder right now will experience the worst impacts of climate change, even though they’re the least responsible.

While people around the world are slowly waking up to this fact, it’s not happening fast enough. Despite governments around the world agreeing to cut emissions and massive businesses investing in clean energy, we’re still hurtling toward a global temperature rise that will accelerate dangerous climate change, affecting billions of us. Yup, all of us.

You may feel helpless in the face of such a massive threat. I get it. What difference can one person make?

But that’s where you’re wrong.

What you can do

As parents, our words and actions can reverberate to our kids and their friends, families and communities for years. There is actually a ton of stuff we can do as parents of the future generations who will end up with our fatal inheritance.

As you probably guiltily know, having children is one of the worst things you can do for the environment. So it’s doubly our duty as parents to guide our kids towards environmental awareness, conscious consumption and zero waste; and to accepting their important role in doing these things.

Realising we’re all responsible for making positive change happen — and that change is possible in the first place — can be cemented in our kids’ heads if we make actual effort to cut our waste, recycle, save energy and act consciously in our every day lives.

Seeing the efforts we go to as time- and cash-poor adults, will encourage them to adopt behaviour that will stay with them for a lifetime.

Cus let’s face it, you’re always being watched now. (And listened to, anyone managed to stop swearing yet?) The way we consume is absorbed by our wide-eyed kids every day, so do the good thing and choose lower carbon everything:

  • New parents can go for reusable nappies, wipes and breastpads.
  • Get school-age children into growing their own vegetables or choose organic in shops if affordable.
  • Introduce reusable sanitary products to teenagers.
  • Save up and opt for sustainable, Fairtrade and organic clothing, beauty, home and toy brands if you can. All the good stuff is sold cheaper second-hand online too.
  • Choose other materials over plastics. Say no to bags, straws, packaging etc in shops. Stupid amounts of bubble wrap in your latest late-night Amazon delivery? Email/tweet/DM the supplier.
  • Empower your mini activists as eco-consumers to ask companies tricky questions if the answers aren’t obvious.
  • Always carry your own reusable bags, straws (you can get metal ones), coffee cups (you can get bamboo ones) and packaging.
  • Own your qweeeeen zero-waste crown by celebrating the days where you do not leave a trace.

And also this: help your kids to really question if something must be consumed in the first place. Hardcore.

How you can do it

But rather than patronising and whining at people, share ideas with your friends and family in a happy, inclusive way – and soon your kids might be doing the same in the playground.

Acting as we want them to act is the main thing we can do. But so is passing on info that they may not be getting at school.

If we take a long-haul flight for example, acknowledge the damage the carbon emissions have done to our atmosphere to help educate curious minds on the science, and normalise the acceptance of responsibility. Talk about how you will avoid taking more flights for as long as possible to discuss how our behaviour can change. And invest in planting trees through a company or in your own garden to offset your flight’s emissions and show that simple solutions are possible.

And it does’t have to be all one way preaching either. Living more consciously is a lifelong journey and you can learn from your kids too. So if you both discover the environmental impacts of the dairy industry, try going vegan for a few days of the week together, celebrating each other’s commitment with lush food.

You’ll probably be surprised by how much you can learn from your 3 foot climate ambassador.

But while we have to keep optimism up there for these kids, we’re also fast running out of time. Everything we decide to do, we must do asap.

We do not want to freak out younger people, so it’s important to always offer solutions. Keep a serious but positive tone when you talk about pollution, oceans and greenhouse gases. Get excited by small victories. But be realistic when you have to be.

Most of all, make sure your family knows they’re a small but VVIP part of our safe future on this planet.

But to get there, we all have to work together. Today.

Do you dig metal straws, reusable nappies and leading by actual example? We would ❤ to hear from you. Contact us, comment below, or tag #WokeMamas on social media.

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