By Verhaen Khanna
June 5 is celebrated as World Environment Day. This one day out of 365 is highly important to spread awareness about the environment. It’s a day to shake up everybody around you to wake up and prioritise the environment over other trivial issues.
Saving a little tap water or switching off the electricity or planting a sapling are all great ideas, but it should be done every day, wherever you go and not momentarily. And if you do plant a sapling, make sure to maintain it for a few years till can grow by itself, or it may die within a few days.
Some parents are truly eco conscious and have always taken the extra effort to make sure their children are well-educated about the environment. Making the right decisions ensures a future worth living in. The wrong decisions have negative implications for children and everybody else around, including the flora and fauna.
Another great idea is to set up an environmental NGO and make your children part of its activities, which can be relate to their interest. This is a long-lasting gift, where their skills can be channelised in an ecologically conscious manner through their work. Kids can really make a difference by educating their family and friends; soon, they will start to make lots of positive change in their local areas. Protecting the environment is not a selfish act and is helpful for the entire society and beyond. You can always contact your nearest NGO for support.
Children who are not connected with nature will not fight to save it. The best activity for parents and children is to spend time in nature, closely observe the flora and fauna, use their senses to experience the natural environment. Parents are the best role models for kids. Children look for lifestyle examples from their parents, so if you are segregating waste, not using disposable plastics, planting and taking care of trees, helping animals, then these excellent qualities will carry on in your children’s life.
Right now, millions of children worldwide, including many cities in India, are protesting against climate change. They are trying very hard to get their message heard by the leaders to focus on protecting the environment and not the corporates. This movement was started by 16-year-old girl from Sweden, Greta Thunberg. Every Friday children gather in their respective cities and march for climate action.
In the Philippines, children have to plant 10 saplings to receive a passing certificate. That is such a great idea, and the children will get to see the tree grow with them. Imagine if this rule was compulsory here as well. Right now, Delhi has a massive deficit of trees in crores.
Other great ideas to try with your kids:
- Keep water bowls outside for the animals. Many of them are dehydrating and dying during this heatwave.
- Make sure cement is removed from around the trees and there is open soil space.
- Remove nails from trees as these infect and destroy them.
- Use a cloth bag and always refuse to accept disposable plastics.
- Save as much water as possible; Delhi water is at a critical point.
- Switch to solar energy.
- Consider a vegan lifestyle, which may be more environmentally friendly.
- Sing and dance for nature.
- Spread the message of environmental protection far and wide with whatever great skills you have.
(The writer is founder of the New Delhi Nature Society (NDNS), which organises regular events for children and families, such as tree climbing, nature walks and camping. Views are personal. Follow on social media @newdelhinaturesociety)
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