Australians are world leaders when it comes to spending time with children, reports The Australian Research Alliance for Children.
Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, parents were averaging around four hours a day with their little ones. Owing to the current pandemic, many parents who are now working from home are finding that time saved on commuting to work, meetings and office talk has allowed them to explore fascinating topics with their kids - including environmental sustainability.
What environmental issues can you learn more about as a family, and how can you make it as fun and engrossing as possible?
Identifying The World’s Greatest Environmental Challenges
Families can work to create a list of the biggest threats to the Planet. The Renewable Resources Coalition Group identifies them as follows: climate change, the melting of polar ice caps, greenhouse gas emissions for transportation, the overuse of natural resources, the effect of man-made fertilizers on marine life, lower biodiversity, air pollution, ocean acidification, ozone layer depletion, and acid rain.
Families wishing to work together can have each person choose one of these topics and make a presentation for others using Google docs or PowerPoint. Rules should be established - including general length of the presentation, the use of images and gifs to add life to the presentation, and information to be presented.
Making A Change
For active learners, one of the best ways to process and apply knowledge is through action. For each of the issues discussed, families can brainstorm and decide on key strategies to reduce their carbon footprint.
Complex and deep-lying problems are not just for governments or environmental organizations to fix. Individuals can adopt simple measures to reduce sea pollution and other problems which, when carried out collectively, can make a big difference.
For instance, in terms of plastic pollution, families can avoid the purchase of single-use plastic items. They can also swap plastic straws for metal or paper ones. To save our oceans, they can avoid using chemicals on lawns that end up in drainage systems, be careful of what they flush down the toilet (wet wipes and medication are a no-no), and consider the switch to green energy.
Education isn’t just about receiving; it's also about sharing - something that each family member can do via social media. Google presentations can be shared with friends. So can a brief description of what you as a family have decided to do to promote sustainability.
If you are a media-loving family, you can take this time of home confinement to create a YouTube channel and upload the different stages of your switch to an eco-friendly lifestyle. You can tackle one subject at a time, inviting others to comment and make suggestions. If you build a good following, you can hold livestreams to bring discussions on the environment to many households across the globe at once.
Home confinement offers unique opportunities for children and parents to work together. The environment is a great topic to approach as a whole family. Parents and children can choose a specific list of topics to discuss and find information about. Moreover, they can identify solutions and begin making changes to day-to-day life, inviting other families to do so via social media.