A Family Guide to Living an Eco-Friendly Life
By Enya Lynch
This is not a drill.
Our planet is in real danger, which is why we all need to work together to fix it before it’s too late! There are many small and simple changes we can make as families to help our planet. Teach your children to turn off lights when they leave a room and to close the tap while brushing their teeth because by doing this you are saving a lot of electricity and water. Another little fix is carpooling! By using one car you are helping limit air pollution, noise pollution, carbon emissions as well as limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Carpooling is therefore an easy and direct step towards a cleaner and greener environment.
In addition to these simple changes, eliminating certain disposable plastic objects from your house and replacing them with reusable objects would help significantly. For example, replace plastic bags with reusable ones as plastic takes 10 to 20 years to decompose. You can also stop using single-use plastic such as plastic straws and toothbrushes. Instead, buy reusable metal straws, and use bamboo toothbrushes as they won’t take decades to decompose! Invest in a good reusable water bottle that you can carry on you at all times to avoid constantly buying plastic ones.
As parents it can sometimes be difficult to motivate your children to do certain things, however, the solution that often works is to make a game out of it and give it a fun twist. You can make recycling more fun for children by challenging them to see who can recycle the most objects each week or each month, and whoever wins gets a reward. You can also encourage them to make art projects exclusively out of recyclable objects, or you can have them decorate your bins and create recycled costumes for a recycling day parade!
The environment is a subject that children should be taught in school but unfortunately it isn’t. Therefore, it is your responsibility as a parent to teach your kids about the positive impact that they can have on the environment, as well as teaching them about what is right and wrong. For example, littering is NEVER good or acceptable. Teach your children to put their rubbish in the bin from a very young age so that they grow up learning to respect their planet and for that action to be second nature. To give your children an idea of how nature works you can plant a tree in your garden as it’s a perfect way to show your child how long trees take to grow and how fragile life is. Growing up with a tree they planted will be a beautiful memory they’ll cherish forever, and it can even become a tree house or a climbing tree when they get older.
One activity all families should try at least once is hosting or going to a beach cleanup. It’s a wonderful place to meet people with similar interests as you, it’s a great learning experience for kids and everyone has a good time. It’s actually how I began in the environmental sector; I went to one to see what it was like and I have now been hosting cleanups for two years. I’ve met amazing people and have even collaborated with an Irish family who travel around Europe cleaning beaches. It has become a passion for me, so I highly recommend you and your family clean up a beach, lake, river, forest, or park near your house as a family activity and become part of the change!
Author : Enya Lynch is a bilingual student who regularly organises beach clean ups on the Côte d'Azur.