The young and the "green": Educating our youth about sustainable living

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David Brower, prominent environmentalist and founder of the Sierra Club, said, “We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” As adults it is our moral responsibility to start a conversation about sustainable living as soon as a life form begins in a womb. Don’t you know there is scientific evidence that by the third trimester the fetus responds to sounds it hears? Infants and toddlers have a remarkable sense of curiosity. Pre-kindergarten and elementary school age children have the outstanding gift of the power of questioning. Middle and high school students can analyze and solve problems, and more importantly form opinions. We as parents, teachers, educators, and mentors must harness this tremendous potential among our children to start a conversation about their lives, their world, and their future.

Can you try talking to a child about sustainable living? Can you read a story to any child about a native Indian who worships nature? Can you tell a child why we must strive for a balance between flora and fauna? Can you make a point that we, the humans, are just one part of this equation and must remain in balance with everything else that surrounds us? I think you can. I believe you can create a generation of the young and the green without any drama. All we need is simple, honest, heartfelt conversation about our earth and what we owe her.

No, no. I am neither talking about any legal firm nor a stockbroker on Wall Street. Importantly, thank you Mr. Bell (and CBS) for the idea for my title from your wonderful (Really?) daytime soap opera. (I should admit that it’s been a while since I have witnessed the cold war between Jack and Victor, and, oh yes, the sizzling affairs too – and I digress. Sorry!).

As a parent and as an educator, I believe that the foundation of any educational endeavor is laid when a life begins in a mother’s womb. There is no such thing as: “Is it too early to teach our children?”

As adults we make efforts to create and participate in green and sustainable communities, we connect with our colleagues, friends, peers, and other kindred spirits. We share, we discuss, we agree and we bring the best in one another to make a difference in learning and living in a sustainable manner. That’s terrific. What we must also do (and more of) is to teach, share, and just talk about the green and sustainable living with our children.

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