It may seem to be a cliche to say that children are the future, but it is a cliche with some truth. Climate change is perhaps one of the greatest threats facing society. But for all that it is actively causing problems for the current generation of adults, those who come later will only feel those effects more. Additionally, it's much easier for people to learn how to be environmentally friendly as children. Any habits that people pick up as children become ingrained, whether they're shutting off the lights as soon as they leave a room to save energy or making sure that the recycling is collected. Therefore, it's important to teach children about how to be environmentally friendly, and particularly how to conserve water and energy. The United States is responsible for more than its fair share of pollution, and part of that lies in excessive energy consumption as well as a lack of clean energy sources. Furthermore, while water seems to be readily available to everyone at any time, there is in fact a lack of clean water in many parts of the world, as well as an issue with water being overused and polluted. With the typical American family currently using an average of over 300 gallons of water a day, it's crucial that children are taught to value water and energy and treat it correctly.
The reason why a lot of parents don't teach their children about conserving water and energy simply lies in the fact that they don't know how. While it's important to teach children about these issues, they seem rather high-concept and difficult for them to understand. There obviously isn't a point in teaching your children about water and energy conservation if they aren't going to understand them, which is why you need to take the time to learn about conservation lessons that you can teach your kids more easily. With that being said, let's explore some of the different ways that kids can learn about water and energy conservation.
1. Hunt For Water Leaks Together
Kids love the idea of finding things that aren't always easy to uncover. This is why you should take the time to teach your child about water leaks and the amount of water that they can waste through finding real leaks within your home. Water damage not only wastes water, but it also costs an average of almost $2,400 to fix. This can be framed as a kind of scavenger hunt, and you can tell your child about how much money is lost through these leaks as well. This will make it clear to them that we need to conserve water for a number of reasons. For example, if your child loves the idea of going to Disney World someday, you can contextualize the money lost through water loss as money that could go towards the trip if it was saved. Your home may not, or hopefully doesn't, have any leaks available for your child to find. You can improvise by having your faucet drip, just until your child finds it, or improvising other, very temporary "leaks".
2. Use Your House To Teach About Energy Conservation
While water is something tangible that children can learn about in a more solid, real way, energy can be a tricky concept for your child to grasp. Fortunately, your house is the best place for children to learn about energy. You can talk to your children about the importance of saving energy similarly to the way you would talk about water leaks. Really, energy saving isn't that different from saving water, and you can begin with talking about switching the lights off. Challenge your children to be responsible for turning off the lights before you leave the home, and maybe even reward them with little treats for doing so. The same goes for teaching them about the thermostat, and how heating and cooling plays into energy consumption. There are a number of other good habits you can encourage, like closing the shutters, blinds, or curtains during the hot summer months, or not opening the over while banking. Another habit you can encourage is your children using their laptop lights in place of a desk lamp. With the typical desktop computer idling at 80 watts, compared to a laptop's 20 watts and a Playstation 3's 300 watts, the laptop is clearly the more energy efficient choice. There are a number of different tips and tricks through which your kids can easily save energy; one day, they might join the 48% of people looking for energy efficient new houses.
3. Follow The Water's Path
Depending on where you live, this may or may not be an option for you and your children. If you can, however, you may want to take them on a hike along a river or creek. This can lead you to the water source's mouth, or it can take you to the drain pipe it flows into, depending on where you begin and where you're headed. One reason why you need to do this is to teach your child about water's life cycle, and where it ultimately ends. Another is that you can teach your child about pollution, and perhaps even do a bit of clean up while they're there. Furthermore, there is also a great opportunity for children to learn about the environment in general while out on a hike. There are so many benefits to going on a hike if you want them to learn how to be eco-friendly; it's the perfect time to teach them about nature's life cycle in general, not just that of the water system.
4. Plant A Rain Garden
Another great way of teaching children about water conservation is to show them how to conserve water naturally. This will not only teach them about water conservation, but keep pollutants from the rest of the yard. By using plants that attract butterflies and other insects, you can also extend those lessons about the environment mentioned above to your own backyard.
There are many more ways in which you can teach your children about water and energy conservation; these are just a few to begin with. Keep in mind too that these issues go together hand in hand, and that much of our energy can be made through water that we conserve. Remember: this is something that will affect your children's future as well!