Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Children and Environmental Activism

Anybody who has children wants to raise responsible citizens. When it comes to environmental activism or responsibility I wonder how much is enough. For example, I have a four year old at home. We try to instill the little things like sorting the plastic and paper and the importance of not littering when we see garbage in our neighborhood. However, recently I had a real eye opening experience.

While watching Animal Planet or Discover the WWF had a commercial on soliciting donations. During that ad they talked about how polar bears are in danger due to global warming. Over a week later a friend was showing us the Discovery Planet Earth series on Blu-Ray. (It was a phenomenal video by the way.) There was a segment showing the polar bears in the wild. My son turned to me and whispered "we're killing the polar bears". I was shocked but I knew where he got the idea from and quickly replied that pollution was causing changes in the earth and the polar bears were having a hard time with it.

Needless to say it made me wonder about how we can pass on environmental issues to children. They are smarter than we think and they should have some input in how we solve the problem. After all, the world is theirs and they will be the ones cleaning up our mess.


Mel said...


Our family has committed to leading a movement in our community. We have just begun. I do not think of our community as dirty, but I can think of many ways I would like to inspire others in our local area to think more globally. I don't know how much we can do. We do all we can here @ home. I think our family is ready to spread the word. That is a course of action, and that is something, no matter how small.

IHE Staff said...

Thank you so much for your post. You raise such an important issue. Two major strategies for helping youth become creative and critical problem solvers for a healthy, sustainable world is for parents to help their kids learn what it means to live as a responsible, engaged citizen and to make choices that do the most good and least harm for everyone (people, animals and the planet). It's also important that we as a society offer comprehensive humane education as an integral part of education at all levels. You're absolutely right that our children are going to inherit all these problems. That's why it's so important that humane education become part of schooling, teaching kids about the challenges of our time, and helping them develop the tools, skills and motivation to make choices (in their own lives and as part of transforming our systems) that will help create a humane world. The Institute for Humane Education is training humane educators to help educate, inspire and empower others to help create that humane world, but it won't happen unless we engage our youth.


Web Content/Community Manager
Institute for Humane Education