How do you deal with your environment

Dear Bloggers,

Last week we were watching a local TV soap they talked about environmental problems My youngest daughter all of a sudden spread her eyes wide open and said to me. “If they keep on doing this we will all get killed”. I gathered her into my arms. How could I soothe my daughter? I couldn’t picture myself saying: Don’t worry honey, when we’ve destroyed everything there is nothing else left than to die. I wondered, were other kids of her age also scared? Were we on the edge of disaster? I had to find out.

I started reading articles on the environment and talked to colleagues what their ideas were on these problems. Let me share what I found and figured out.

First, my daughter is not the only one being scared, many children are. A study found that 51 percent of children ages 9 to 17 were “very worried about harming the natural environment.”

Why are children so worried? So pessimistic? I believe that it’s because they are inundated with scary stories about environmental disasters like global warming, the growing ozone hole, the disappearing rain forest, and the loss of endangered species. Many leaders of the environmental movement believe that human beings have no more personal value than a hydrangea bush. But we are different from the beasts and plants.

Once your children understand their role in life on this planet, we can find small and practical ways for your family to be good stewards of our world hat we are living in. Here are ten suggestions to get you started:

1. Spend free time outdoors. As a family, take a walk in the forest or meadow. Observe the animals, plants, and insects. Look for animal tracks in the wet mud along a riverbank or in the forest. Learn about the flora and fauna in your area so you can understand how to work together with nature.

2. Recycle your bottles, cans, paper, and plastic bags. Older children can sort recyclables; younger ones can bag newspaper.

3. Start a simple compost pile. Our family composts leaves, grass, and yard clippings, but you can also compost fruits and vegetables.

4. Organize projects to pick up litter, plant trees, or do other projects to enhance the recreation areas in your neighborhood.

5. Kids who like detective work can trace the path of rain water in your neighborhood. Local maps show rivers and streams are running. You can visit local streams to see which way the water flows.

6. Consider making a wildlife habitat in your backyard or school yard. It is good fun to create a habitat for butterflies, hummingbirds, and other small creatures. Nature is very interesting for kids if you know what lives in your neighborhood.

7. Consider buying a living Christmas tree. Many nurseries sell trees growing in large pots. Living trees can be used for several years, then planted in your yard or local park. (If you are allergic to them like my family a good artificial tree will stand for more then fifteen years, if you handle it with care.)

8. Bike or walk instead of driving the car. You’ll help the environment by saving gas and oil–and you get free exercise.

9. Resist our culture’s consumer mentality by teaching your children to take care of their toys. Buy quality toys and encourage your children to do the same when they spend their allowance or birthdaymoney. Clean and repair old toys together, then recycle them at a yard sale or give them to a charity rather than throwing them away.

10. Work for a fair and balanced environmental legislation. Together with school, consider assigning this type of work to the older children. They’ll learn about the legislative process and what might be wrong in it. Think up a plan how to make a better place to live and how to find the money for it. Yes even kids can write letters to their local politicians and newspaper. Just to give them ammunition against those who would accuse them of not caring about the earth.

Finally, Let your children know that the environment is cleaner today than it was 25 years ago. If you’re old enough to remember, tell them what it was like in the 1970s when many of our cities were blanketed by dirty brown smog due to industrial polution. Communicating a sense of progress will give them hope. Let them know that environmental organizations often exaggerate problems to keep people focused on the problem and get them motivated to help.

Schools can be another source of scary stories. If you’re concerned about what your child is learning in school, ask to see the curriculum or confer with the teacher. Many teachers aren’t aware of the tendency to exaggerate environmental problems. By following this approach, you’ll help your child understand how he or she should live and what they can do to help. So the next time they hear about something like the disappearing rain forest, they’ll be able to say, I know that’s a problem, but my family is recycling and we have planted some trees in the neighborhood. And if I follow my ideas with all of my heart, I know that I will take care about the near future for me and my world. If we all would do this the world will become a better place to live.

Make a difference and start in your little part of the world today.
The Old Sailor,


  1. Goedemorguh Old Sailor,

    Ja kinderen kan dat vaak erg raken,
    het is goed dat ze er bij stil staan, maar ook wel erg als ze er zo verdrietig om zijn,
    hier denken we ook wel om veel dingen,
    maar toch doen we nog veel dingen fout helaas,
    mijn zoon was vroeger altijd heel verdrietig als het om dieren ging,
    hij zei ook altijd dat die nog klein was dat ie bij Greenpeace ging werken,

    fijne dag,
    liefs que.

  2. Hij is trouwens nu die ouder is nog steeds verdrietig als die dingen over dieren ziet op de teevee,
    en zit dan met tranen in zijn ogen, en zapt gauw weg,

  3. Geachte Vrouwe Que,

    Het is inderdaad fijn dat ze er over nadenken en ook dat ze verdrietig zijn is niet erg. En als je klein bent en je wordt in het klein bewust gemaakt van je leef omgeving dan leer je van de natuur wel de rest. Als je als kind al weet dat een plastic zakje bijna niet verteert in de natuur maar dat het klokhuis van een appel wel wordt opgegeten door allerhande dieren. Dan heb je al een mooie basis als je net zeven bent, ook de omgang met dieren wordt hier als vanzelfsprekend met respect gedaan, dieren zijn geen knuffels maar levende wezens en kennen net als jij pijn en frustratie.

    Zo klinkt nou een pedagogisch verantwoorde oude zeeman.

    Fijne avond nog,
    The Old Sailor,


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