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Values & Education

Teaching Kids Environment Friendly Habits

“Thank God man cannot fly and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.”, was a quote by Henry David Thoreau, who lived in the eighteenth century.

Teaching Kids Environment Friendly Habits

It is that time of the year when expatriates from the Middle East fly home for the holidays. This year, I and my kids are spending Ramadan with my family in Kerala.

Being home and with my siblings brings back all kinds of nostalgic memories of myself as a child. I visited some places that I had run around as a child and a young adult. And I couldn’t help but notice the changes. Of course, most of the changes have led to the development of my town but alas, they have also brought about sad turns to the environment.

Everywhere, we can see mountains of garbage piled high without any particular person being responsible for it. When I asked my mother what she does with her non-degradable waste, she said that people were required to burn them as the city municipality had no idea what to do with all the waste!!! I asked about this further and everyone confirms that they were asked to burn their plastics. Is this why we pay our taxes? The justification of the municipality is that the neighborhood where the garbage was dumped was becoming polluted from landfills and inhabitants were beginning to complain. There has been no setting up of garbage disposal and recycling facilities. Some initiative had been taken a few years ago but at present, all the plastic is being burnt.

Every year our kids have lessons in environmental studies stressing the importance of preserving our fragile ecosystem. Every year, the amount of rainfall in our country is decreasing. We read about the melting of the polar ice caps and the depletion of the ozone layer. They teach us all this and then tell us to burn plastic, which amounts to the release of harmful gases into the atmosphere! What exactly are we teaching our kids? To be contrary to our teachings and their beliefs?

One of my memories of my visits to Kerala as a child was the sight of a million fireflies blinking around the trees and bushes around our house. I wanted to show my kids the same magical sight but there were hardly any fireflies! All I could show them were a couple of doddering fireflies that seem to have lost their way amidst all the neon lights. You see, they are slowly becoming non-existent due to loss of habitat and apparently, light pollution.

I also remember eating all kinds of tasty berries plucked from our own backyard and discovering adorable ladybugs under the leaves of bushes. But alas! All that is a thing of the past. Now, even seasonal fruits have become less available and those which are available in the market are far from organic.

As parents, I feel it is our duty to teach our children to live clean and unpolluted lives. We can show them by example how to save their resources by reusing and recycling. They should be taught the value of each drop of clean and pure water and each whiff of healthy, oxygen-filled air.

As human beings, the earth is a gift from God to us and we are encouraged to use it for our benefit but not for our greed. If we teach our kids environment friendly habits, they will be able to pass on our legacy to their children and so on. We can also instill in them the discipline of always thinking about their surroundings and ecosystem. We should show them the beauty of nature by taking them for trips around the country and letting them see how they can benefit by being environment friendly. Moreover, we should apply to the government to take better measures to conserve our fragile ecosystem. Creating awareness among the public can go a long way towards a cleaner earth and purer air.

Today, I saw my sons playing with their cousins in the rain and I wondered, will they be able to watch their children play in the rain without worrying about acid rain and polluted drinking water? Will they be able to watch the fireflies at night with their children? Or will they have to visit sanctuaries and reserves to see them? Only time can tell……..

This post may not seem like one about parenting but it is more of creating environment awareness so that every parent who raises a child will think of their children’s future in a green, green world!

I’m a homemaker and a mother of two, who loves to read, cook and bake and who has recently developed the art of leadership and public speaking through Toastmasters International. I must say, I’m still a bit old fashioned and hence am a bit backward at social media. However, I get pretty chatty when I want to and am a great correspondent. So please free to share your views on my article with me!