Abhishek is a Mumbai based author and entrepreneur. His passion towards protecting nature, the environment and our heritage reflects in his writings. Of the strong belief that children hold the key to the shape our world takes, this prolific author has created characters and written stories that imbibe a love for nature and pride in our heritage within them.
The case for creating awareness about sustainability in early childhood couldn’t be stronger. If for no other reason, then the fact that the earth is the only thing that we actually leave behind for our children. Like the saying goes, ‘We borrow the earth, from our kids and not bequeath it to them. The least we can do is empower them to care for it better than we have!’
Let’s face it – the earth is a mess we are trying to solve. As per a Niti Aayog report, ground water in most Indian cities will dry up by the end of 2021. Yes, you read that right! In a few months we will have 0 ground water in our cities. This is catastrophic, to say the least! While governments and local populations are working to reverse this situation, it is critical to empower our kids to take this work ahead and improve on it by leaps and bounds.
But how can you introduce environmental learning for kids? It actually is pretty simple. All we need do is follow these easy – to – inculcate habits, and we can all start making a difference!
Environmental Learning kids – It’s all about AWARENESS & ACTION:
- Shut all lights, fans, air conditioners etc. when leaving the room
- Keep the tap shut while brushing
- Likewise, while showering, turn off the faucet when you don’t need the water (like when they’re lathering up and the shower is running in the background!)
- Reduce, Recycle. Reuse anything and everything that you can! Need to do a school project? Use old newspapers instead of buying new paper!
- Don’t waste. Anything. Be it paper, water, electricity or any other resource, use it judiciously. This doesn’t mean we need to scrounge on it; It means we use only as much as we need, optimising our resources.
These are some simple rules that we can all follow at home. Though the results may start trickling in gradually, they’ll soon become an avalanche of awareness.
A lot of parents came back to us saying that each of these suggestions were met with a ‘but why should I do this?’ from their kids. Typical answers like ‘it saves the environment’ and ‘it avoids wastage of money’ drew little or no interest in them. After all, we cannot expect anyone, let along smart kids, to relate to something that is as vague as the ‘environment’.
The best way to get a buy – in for sustainability is to foster a love for nature amongst kids. And, lead by example!
Once a child is a stakeholder in protecting the environment and nature, then enforcing these rules are dead easy. We simply get them to be committed to the environment by inculcating the love for nature. Once this is done, you shall be amazed to see your child coming to you with ideas on reducing your carbon footprint! Nature, with her bountiful beauty is easy to fall in love with. Environmental learning for kids becomes redundant. They turn into stronger pro – environment advocates themselves!
Spend as much time as you can amidst nature with your child. At least once a year, go away someplace, maybe a forest or a mountain. Go for walks and strolls, introducing them to Mother Nature. Let them cherish the experience! Introduce them to the harm that human activity is causing to nature and the environment. You will be shocked at how fast they learn and even outstrip our own levels of awareness when this happens.
Other simple things that can be done while at home are:
- Get them to grow and care for a plant. The whole process of watching a seed grow into a plant is intensely rewarding and involving for a child. It inculcates a sense of responsibility and pride of accomplishment. This way, you introduce them to how the plant contributes to higher oxygen levels and a cleaner air, adding to the whole process of discovery
- You don’t need a forest to commune with nature. While at home, get away to the park or any other natural environ close to home whenever you can. Lead by example, and kids will follow
- Listen to them. Just because knowing names of different trees while in the garden interests you, doesn’t mean it will interest your child too. For instance, our son can spends hours gazing at insects as they go about their job, while our daughter is fascinated by smaller animals found scampering on the forest floor – neither of which interest us too much. Importantly, we introduced them to nature, and they discovered what about her fascinates them!
- Be a role model. If you respect and cherish nature, they will follow suit, and continue to do so long after we are dead and gone
The bottomline is, all we need to do is introduce our children to nature, and set an example by the small things we can do. ‘Nature’ will take its course from thereon, and we will have an entire generation of people that will care enough for the environment to hopefully undo the harm that we have done to it!
More About Abhishek Talwar
Abhishek is also a keen traveller, and believes in the adage that travelling opens up one’s mind to unending possibilities. His wife Ritika and he are passionate road – trippers. Since 2012, every December they undertake a trip covering 4000KMS + that spans over two weeks, with their young kids. They are of the firm belief that these trips are the best education they can give their children! Abhishek has captured their travel experiences on his popular travel blog. Written in a conversational style, these blogs show India’s uniqueness from a light, humorous and sometimes sarcastic perspective. This blog is the go – to resource for anyone looking for the adventure of a road trip across India, with or without children!
The children’s book series’ written by Abhishek include ‘Adventures of Biplob the Bumblebee’, ‘Chef Jerry’s Pizzeria’ and ‘Detective Genghis’.