As the importance of sustainability becomes clearer, you might be noticing a shift in your attitudes, beliefs, and practices, both at home and in the workplace. It makes sense to pass on these same values to your children. After all, each of us has our own role to play in working towards a more sustainable future.
There’s no better time to start practicing this than now – since you’re spending more time at home with your kids. Think about how it could be worked effortlessly into both of your routines. We covered eco-friendly hacks for busy working parents, and wrote that most people are primarily motivated to care for the environment for the sake of their kids’ futures.
In fact, sustainability has entered the conversation so frequently that many educational institutes across Australia are pushing to prioritise it, with sustainability becoming part of the national curriculum. The drive to not only educate students about sustainability, but make it a subject that can be studied and practiced is also happening across the globe, with many top universities offering it as a course. In fact, those who go on to higher education and gain a degree in sustainability will become part of a trillion dollar economy that is emerging from sustainable practices: US$26 trillion (A$36 trillion) by 2030 for low-carbon initiatives, US$17 trillion ($A23 trillion) by 2050 for compact and connected city planning, $2 trillion (A$2.8 trillion) each year for sustainable agriculture and forest protection practices^. And while these numbers show how the whole world is gearing up for change, there is no question that the biggest changes will be done by those who adapt how they live their day-to-day lives.
In this post, we will give you three suggestions on how the famiy can go green while working from home, that will help you all become part of this giant global change.
1. Kids in the kitchen
You’re likely cooking a lot more right now, and this is why it’s the perfect time to let your kids into the kitchen. Cooking and preparing meals can take a lot of time as a working parent, and it never hurts to have an extra set of hands on deck. It’s a great opportunity to teach kids about nutrients, seasonal and local produce, and the environmental impact of the food we consume. You can involve kids from the very start of the process – from shopping for ingredients to setting a day to prepare all your meals. This ensures that you always have a healthy meal ready no matter how busy the entire family gets.
Go one step further and extend your food-related education to talk about food waste. One of the best things you can do to illustrate this is to compost. After preparing your food, teach kids how to differentiate between biodegradable and non-biodegradable rubbish, and reuse non-biodegradable items. Biodegradable items like food scraps, eggshells, and fruit peel can be used as fertiliser to possibly even grow your own fruit and vegetables. This is a tangible means of showing kids how to give back to nature.
2. Go ’unplugged’
With all this time now spent in front of your screens – for both you and your kids – your electricity bills may be escalating. This also leads to an unhealthy attachment to electronic devices and the Internet, and can even put a strain on your eyesight. To remind kids that playing outdoors is just as fun as any video game, allocate regular time each day for them to drop their gadgets. Encourage them to connect with nature and learn to value and protect it.
3. Eco-forward crafts
While you’re busy with work or stuck in a conference call, you might need a grocery list of activities to keep your children occupied. Naturally, arts and crafts may be an activity you’re considering, but it involves a lot of single-use materials and resources like paper, paint and ink. You can encourage your kids to get more creative by doing eco-forward arts and crafts with materials from your non-biodegradable bin, such as old egg cartons or plastic bottles, or items scavenged from nature. This gets their creative juices flowing, minimises your waste, and can keep kids busy for hours.
With all this in mind, you will hopefully see that going green at home and passing this on to your kids is very much attainable. It isn’t about all or nothing… it’s about doing what you can. Together, you can collaborate on building a sustainable future.
Written by Christine Andrews. Christine is an Adelaide-based sustainability advocate and writer. She serves as a consultant for non-profits most days, and volunteers or spearheads movements the rest of the time. When she’s not busy with her work, you’ll find her meditating in the park with her Labrador Retriever, Macey.
^Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, 2018. The New Climate Economy Report Summary.