Sunday, May 16, 2010

Protecting the Environment: It's Not Just for Adults

An article poasted today on the website for Planet Green discussed a series of presentations made to Denver-area high school students by a staff members from the Alliance for Climate Education. According to the article, the staff discussed "the basics of climate change: the role of greenhouse gases, what human behaviors play the greatest role in increasing them—including meat consumption—the sensitivity of the earth to a difference in temperature of just one or two degrees, and how Americans in particular are used to 'living large,' using more resources per capita than any other country in the world."

Based on the results of these presentations, 150 students had submitted cards indicating their interest in doing more - and at a current "rate of return" of 25 percent, ACE is looking for an increase to 50 percent. Student movements have always been a big part of the history of this country, and it appears that dealing with climate change will be no different.

In our house, we have 100 percent interest in doing more - our two preschoolers are already getting involved (yes, we cannot get them to clean up their room, but they're gung-ho about cleaning up the planet), and I'm pleased to see it. I'd like to think that watching my wife and me putting out the recycling each week and turning off lights in rooms that aren't occupied (among other things) has inspired them in some way. I think, though, that much of it comes from the education they are receiving in their own schools (not to mention DVDs like "Wubbzy Goes Green" - why listen to mom and dad when they can listen to cartoon characters??).

A case in point is the conversation I had with my oldest in the car yesterday. She hadn't really been saying much, but then out of the blue she started telling me how using a lot of gas in our cars makes the Earth sick, and how we really need to be sure to clean up all of our trash and make sure the planet is taken care of. Through it all, she got very animated and demonstrated a very strong interest in everything she was telling me.

I'm anxious to see how much more interested the kids get in actually putting what they're learning into action. They can certainly do small things to make a difference, such as the lights and recycling that I had mentioned earlier. But perhaps they'll move into something bigger - and it would help if I could figure out a way that I could convince them that cleaning their room is good for the Earth!!

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