Our children are growing up in the same earth that we did, but at the same time, a different earth than the one we knew as kids. The impacts of human beings on our beautiful planet earth are huge, and many of the impacts are causing major changes for our oceans. High levels of pollution might be the most obvious one to most people, but also rising sea levels, coral bleaching, and ocean acidification as a result of climate change, erosion, loss of biodiversity through overfishing and other impacts, damage to pristine marine ecosystems through tourism and much, much more.
Now, more than ever before, I believe that it is just as important to teach our children about the state of our marine environment, as much as we should teach them to read, write, and count. In a modern world where children are also so accustomed to screens and all sorts of technology from a young age, we also have the challenge of even just connecting them with nature in the way that we did as kids. Exploring nature freely and organically is one of the most beautiful, grounding, educational and natural things a child can do. Unfortunately, more and more children these days are doing less and less of just that. And in replacement of indoor screen time, or extremely busy schedules.
As parents, we want the best for our children. We think about their future in so many ways and try to set them up to thrive. We take them to hobbies and sports, encourage them to make friends, get a job, save money. We also think about setting up an inheritance for them and we even write a will (sorry to be morbid), just incase something happens to us. But do we ever think about the planet that we are passing down to them? What will it look like, how will it behave for them? I would like to make an assumption and say that no, most of us probably don’t. It’s like we think it’s someone else’s job, or perhaps it’s all a myth. Or maybe, we feel that the earth changing for the worst is a long way off?
What we need to start thinking about is the fact that each generation makes contributions to the state of our environment. These small daily contributions (which globally are not small at all), are creating our future planet; the place that our children and their children will inhabit one day when we are gone. Small daily, local impacts add up over time to become huge global impacts. And who is responsible? Oh! That’s right! Someone else? No. We are all responsible.
I invite you as a parent, to embrace a paradigm shift. Consider each daily activity or thing that you do, as a deposit or a withdrawal into an earth bank. You are either depositing prosperity and wellbeing into the earth, or you are withdrawing resources and quality from it. These daily deposits and withdrawals are setting the scene for the future earth that your child and your grandchildren and so on, will live in. How will you embrace this responsibility now?
Here are some of the ways you can start stepping up to a place of ‘ecological integrity’ and be an environmental role model for your children:
Start moving towards a more zero waste lifestyle as a family. There is so much available information for this that is totally accessible to you.
Get your kids out into nature regularly. Just make it a part of everyday. I take my girls into nature every day, even if it’s for a short time. A walk on the beach, a run in the park, a walk through the rockpools.
When you are out in nature with your kids, point things out that you see. Collect things. Talk about things. Eventually they will start to do this too, more and more.
Start looking into where your clothes come from and how they are made. Are the practices sustainable for the earth. There are so many conscious fashion brands popping up everywhere now, and it is very doable to switch to sustainable fashion.
Perhaps incorporate some environmental education into your child’s schedule. Maybe it’s as simple as swapping their go-to tv show, for a marine documentary. In my experience, kids just love environmental documentaries because it gives them a chance to see something so incredible that they wouldn’t be able to view otherwise.
These are just a small handful of ways that you can start incorporating ecological integrity into your family life. I encourage you to take small steps and see how your understanding and passion evolves. Remember to tag @seagloryswim in your environmental endeavours, we just love to hear about how you are implementing environmental education into your children’s worlds.