From the 20th to the 27th of September, people from all over the world will be joining the strikes and marches against climate change. Public polls show that climate crisis is seen as an “emergency,” yet politicians hesitate to take definitive action.
In previous centuries, human activity (acquiring the oil, gas, and coal we need) has increased the Earth’s temperature by releasing carbon dioxide that traps heat into the atmosphere, affecting its climate. Small steps from ordinary people can make a big difference in slowing down climate change.
Helping kids understand climate emergency
But, how can we help children understand that, even when they are small, they can make big gestures and become young environmental activists?
The first step is to explain to them what climate change is and how can it impact the earth, the animals and plants, and our lives. But this is not a smooth task. Even we adults struggle to understand what climate change and global warming entail, so all the chat about energy sources and CO2 can be really overwhelming for children. The key? To use ideas and concepts familiar to children, such as things they talk about at school, situations from their daily lives, or animals they know.
For instance, you can tell children that climate change is bad for polar bears, because the glacial areas where they live are melting (temperature has increased 1.9ºF in the past 100 years, according to NASA, and it will be 8.6ºF hotter by 2100). Another tangible example is that of the rising sea levels that threaten coastal areas where people live or go on holidays. You could even explain that the ocean is sick because we are feeding it plastic and that’s not good, and animals that live in it can also eat it and get sick too.
You can also look for some books or audiobooks that explain the topic of climate change in an easy way and read to them together before they go to sleep. Or, find someone they can relate more to: for example, Greta Thunberg, the Swedish 16-year-old climate and environmental activist with Asperger Syndrome who started the international movement #fridaysforfuture.
7 small steps children and parents can do to help
Walk the walk. Show your children that they can really make a big difference with small gestures you can do together:
- Shut down electronic devices after usage.
- Turn off the tap after using it to avoid water waste and use tap water instead of plastic bottles. Make a habit of turning off the water while you brush your teeth (instead of leaving the water running the whole time). Reuse aluminium bottles. Also, use reusable bags instead of plastic ones. Give your children their own reusable bag with cartoons they like, or decorate your family canvas bags together.
- T urn off the lights and close the doors after leaving a room. Power plants create a lot of air pollution. Wear cozy and warm sweaters and pajamas instead of turning up the heater.
- Recycle. Recycling uses 20 times less electricity than making a product from scratch. Show them which are the colors of the bins where they should put the empty containers: blue for paper, yellow for plastic…
- Walk or ride a bicycle instead of using a car. You won’t waste oil or energy and it can be a wonderful opportunity to bond as a family. Plant trees or vegetables in your garden to help the family eat more vegetables and less meat.
- Help keep the earth clean by always putting waste in a trash or recycling bin. When you go to the beach with your family, pick up any litter you see. Make it a contest to see who can collect the most!
- Hang your clothes up to dry together instead of using the dryer and save energy (bet on cold water instead of hot as well).
And, of course, spread word-of-mouth: Encourage your children to talk to you if something about climate change concerns them, or even to make a draw with the things they are already doing to help. They can also have simple conversations with their friends and teach them not to throw garbage on the street, for example.
How can Lingokids help your kids understand the climate catastrophe
At Lingokids, we firmly believe that children learn by example in much more than English learning. We want to make a difference and help you raise the children for the future by improving their natural skills, like critical thinking about important matters such as climate change, creativity when it comes to thinking about how new ways they can help, or collaboration and communication at home assisting with small tasks while bonding with you.
In Lingokids you can find an entire topic dedicated to protecting the earth. Your child can enjoy games, songs, and traceables while learning about recycling and sustainable habits. Additionally, throughout the app we teach your child about animals and ecosystems all over the world , from the north pole to the tropical rainforest. By broadening children’s awareness of these environments, we can set the foundations for conversations about protecting endangered animals and nature conservation. With Lingokids, we can instill these lessons from a young age in a fun, safe space, all in English!