In the span of a generation, going green has found its way from the fringe into mainstream society. Unfortunately, most of us at best make a token effort at being environmentally friendly. Why not try going green together with your child? It teaches your child to be responsible in the world he lives in, and to be appreciative of resources.
Children may find it difficult to grasp theoretical concepts of global warming or environmental degradation. It is unlikely that they will understand why they ought to be concerned with issues that seem utterly remote to them. Tell them instead about the suffering of people in countries ravaged by drought and floods caused by global warming. Talk about species of animals driven to extinction by irresponsible human activities. Marine life poisoned to death by waste spewed into rivers from factories. These paint vivid pictures in the minds of children and are more likely to move your child to play a part in conserving the environment.
Going green doesn’t necessarily involve making drastic changes to your lifestyle. Just saving energy and water is a positive step towards being environmentally friendly. Instruct your child to switch off appliances when they are not in use. These habits teach them to treasure precious resources and not take them for granted. Avoid disposable cutlery and go digital as far as possible. For example, choose to subscribe to the digital news rather than the newspaper. You can also try drawing up a shopping list with the help of your child. Planning purchases in advance curbs overspending and ensures that your family only buys what it needs. Too often we buy in large excess or make impulse purchases that land in the trash. Rather than indulging your child in giving him whatever he wants, encourage him to save up for the things he desires the most. That would save both the environment and your wallet, and he would treasure them more.
Old is Gold
Items that have fallen into disuse need not be tossed out. Pre-loved objects can be donated or upcycled. Upcycling is giving old belongings an artistic touch to them, ranging from painting bottles to be used as flower vases to salvaging unwanted wood for craft projects. If you have a knack for sewing, old clothes can also be transformed into bags, pouches, pencil cases, etc., Your child doesn’t always need his things to be freshly manufactured. Books can be borrowed, and clothes can be inherited. Online apps like Carousell are ideal for buying (or selling) second-hand items, many of which are still in reasonable conditions.
Singaporeans generally baulk at sorting out their trash. It’s just too troublesome. If you aren’t willing to do so, you can still try your hand at recycling by setting up a small recycling corner at home: all you need are four receptacles for paper, metals, plastics and glass. Assign your child the responsibility to ‘feed’ them, and reward them as they achieve progressive milestones. If you have space, you can even create a compost bed for food waste, which you can then use as fertiliser for your home garden.
Going green is a way of life that should be promoted among the young. You can begin at Zerowastesg (http://www.zerowastesg.com), a website that has plenty of ideas on how to go green from composting and recycling tips to upcycling projects. Greening your home can not only educate your child to be responsible but also let the family do something meaningful together.