Guest Post by Morgan Taylor.
Morgan is a recent graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill and is starting a career in blogging about health, wellness and sustainability. When not writing she enjoys hiking, playing tennis and cooking new recipes!
There is simply no more arguing or debating to be had about the situation our planet is facing and the responsibility that we, as its citizens, must take. Many leading scientists in the field of climate change and global wellness are stating that if we don’t make significant changes to the way we treat the Earth, we are only twelve to fifteen years away from doing irreparable damage to our environment. Just let the weight of that statement sink in for a moment.
What that means is that right now, our children who are just beginning school would graduate in a world that is now on a no-return course to becoming unable to sustain human life at some point in the future. It may be their grandchildren or even great-grandchildren that will truly face that fate, but the fact remains the same that if we don’t initiate some major course corrections, the future will be very dim for those to whom it is our responsibility to leave a better world, not a worse one.
So, when it comes to getting on the right path as far as our environmental awareness and initiative, it starts with us, but it needs to be instilled in our children as early as possible. One of the most fun and hands-on ways we can do this is by planting a garden. Not only does this teach them responsibility by having to care for and nurture living natural things from the Earth, it also provides a bonding opportunity for parents and children as they spend time tending the fruit and vegetables, and the satisfaction of growing them themselves can also help kids develop healthier diets and eating habits.
Want to start gardening with your children but don’t know where to start?
-A good place to start with a farmer’s market or store with local produce to give your child an understanding of the benefits of gardening.
-Choose plants that are easy for children to recognize and that can be used as snacks. A few great examples are carrots, potatoes and peas. Also, consider plants that won’t take very long to mature to ensure children don’t lose interest. More examples are broccoli and zucchini.
-Schedule a regular time to tend the garden. This will help teach your children the value of responsibility and time management.
-Make the boundaries of the garden clear with a raised bed or get creative with wood, mulch, etc.
This kind of activity can create a real connection to the Earth for your child, helping them to see the planet as not just an inanimate object that they live on, but rather as a living, breathing organism that produces and sustains life.
Other ideas for helping your child understand how important respecting and caring for the environment are things like walking or biking short distances rather than driving, using organic products and fabrics in your home such as natural cleaners or organic bedding and clothing, as well as teaching them about recycling and repurposing.