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Helping Teens Go Green

The world is in our care.  That’s the message behind green activism and just about every campaign to make our environment cleaner and safer for our future generations.  This is a message that resonates well with young people from elementary grades through to high school.

Young people feel valued when we emphasize their part in saving this world and making it a healthier place for everyone.

Green living is about changing behaviors and taking leadership in adopting and promoting habits and practices that will be sustainable and make a real difference.  When teaching children about green activism it is important to demonstrate how they can make a difference and identify roles and activities for which they can be responsible.

Reduce, reuse and recycle is a mantra that is used widely and makes great sense to young and old alike.  Here are 10 more creative ways to help young people to go green:


In the News – Have a discussion: Talk to your teens about an issue or initiative that maybe your local politicians are getting involved in or promoting as part of an effort to  make your region more eco-friendly.  Discuss their opinions about the decisions being made.  Ask them if they would vote for the people in their region who are making these decisions about the environment.

Walk the Talk: Set an example for living green.  Try to adopt consistent habits to demonstrate to your child/teen that not only do you talk about being green but you show it by changes you make and the behaviors you’ve adopted.

Keep informed with factual Material: When there is a program on television that is “green living” relevant and instructional invite your kids to watch it with you.  If you come across an article that focuses on some aspect of our environmental problems or solutions, share it with your kids, especially your teens who may appreciate for in depth articles.

Encourage environmental efforts: Help your kids to find time in their schedules to join environmental clubs or volunteer initiatives in your community.

Go gadget green: If your child or teen is really into technological gadgets, make sure to use rechargeable batteries. We all know about the never ending need for upgraded gadgets.  When kids have outgrown or upgraded their MP3 player, cell phone, hand-held videogame console or digital camera, make sure they don’t throw it away. Investigate ways to recycle it or pass on to someone else.

Stop using Plastic and Paper Bags: Reusable bags are all the rage now. Search out interesting reusable bags.  Look for stylish bags or ones with statements or tag lines that will inspire your kids.  Get your kids into the habit of refusing disposable bags when shopping.

Green Fashion: Encourage your teenager to buy clothing and make-up from eco-friendly companies. The next time a gift has to be purchased help suggest or source out green products as gifts. The Body Shop is a great place for eco-friendly gifts.

Java and Hot Drink Ideas: If your teen drinks coffee or tea and enjoys meeting friends at your local coffee house for hot beverages, offer to buy a reusable travel mug to cut down on waste. Again, think about style since you want your teen to use this mug.  Pick out a mug or have them pick out a mug that for them is really appealing.

Serve locally grown food: Kids love unique and interesting projects that are also practical and popular.  Eating locally grown food is fast becoming the hip way to go green.  When shopping and preparing menus for your family involve the kids in the plan.  Ask them to help research the types of produce grown in your region and then source out the farmers and stores that sell local produce.  Explain that the average food item travels 1,700 miles to reach your kitchen, and that affects freshness, taste, nutrition, greenhouse gas emissions, high energy costs and local economic health. By serving locally grown food, you help reduce these effects.

Listen: Sometimes we can get so caught up in discussions about the threats to our environment and the concerns we have for the future that we neglect to notice what kind of effect this is having on the psyche of our young people.  Take the time to find out what your kids are thinking.  Are they angry or worried about the current state of the environment? Are they hopeful about the future or terrified?  Have frank discussions with your kids about their feelings and you’ll find they’ll appreciate the opportunity to express themselves.  You can then help them channel those feelings into actions that can have a positive effect in your environment.

See also: Global Warming Skeptics - You've Been Outed!  |  Review of An Inconvenient Truth  |  A Green Way of Paying Your Bills  |  Biodiesel Road Trip!


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