Help kids understand climate change
Before kids get involved with climate change, they have to understand exactly what it is. But, depending on how old your kids are, it could be difficult to explain the science behind why climate change is happening and what it means for their future. Instead of talking to them like they’re scientists, break down climate change in a way they can understand.
For example, grab an old, empty aquarium and bring it outside on a hot day to help kids understand the greenhouse effect. Turn it upside in the grass and place a thermometer both inside and outside the tank. As the temperature rises, explain to kids that this is what is happening to the planet, too. Gases are becoming trapped in the atmosphere, much like heat is being trapped in the upside down aquarium. This visualization will help kids grasp the concept of climate change so you can help them understand just how important it is to take action now.
Today’s kids learn better using technology, so download an app that will help them understand how serious climate change is. “Painting with Time: Climate Change” is an app that shows kids how a certain location has changed over time as a result of climate change. The app will also explain to children why each change has occurred and how they can monitor the effects of climate change in their own community. Using a visual tool like this app will be an effective way to get the message across to kids that climate change is real, serious, and happening now.
Give children a sense of ownership over the planet by creating projects for you to tackle with them together. Research local events to see if there are any beach clean ups or educational hikes in the near future. If there’s nothing in your area, consider visiting a nature centre or local art gallery/museum that has a nature exhibit. When kids are able to spend time in the outdoors, they will develop a deeper appreciation for nature and feel more of a responsibility to protect the planet.
Show how can they help
Kids need to understand that they are able to make a difference in the world by living a greener life. Because carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that is partly to blame for climate change, teach kids a way they can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide on their own: gardening. As we know, plants intake carbon dioxide and convert it into oxygen, thus reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Teach kids that this little step—planting a tree or flower—can make a big difference in the world.
It’s never too young to start getting involved with putting an end to climate change. The earlier you can instil a passion for the planet in your children, the more likely they will be to carry these beliefs with them into their adulthood.
words: Uma Campbell
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