Its not always easy to explain to small children why it's important to turn off a tap or why plastic straws are bad for the environment - after all a straw is a straw, I mean everybody loves a straw and two straws is even better. And don't get me started on balloons.
It is easy, however, to take your child outside into the your local park, along a footpath or into a nearby nature reserve and show the direct effects of the amount of waste we produce.
Show them the litter that is left lying around or floating in the rivers, and explain that the can lying on the ground could easily trap a wild animal such as an inquisitive little hedgehog or the plastic bag could suffocate a small mammal. Small pieces of rubber or plastic, which might have started out as a straw or indeed a balloon can choke the birds you see filling the trees with song and the sky with life. Larger pieces can easily become caught on furry feet or feathers, effectively disabling wildlife and leading to death.
Of course we teach our children it is not polite, or acceptable to throw litter but reasoning like this in the environment in which litter is so stark in its contrast with the surroundings will have even more of an impact. In my limited experience children want to help, in fact asking for their help is often a good way to get them to cooperate when they are being ... erm, how can I put this politely... "challenging"!
5 simple Ways to reduce the amount of plastic waste
Start by taking out your kids into a wild space and help to clean it up. Do so now, before they grow up cynical and have to search for self-serving reasons to pick up other people's litter. Today on the third day of 30 Days Wild Emma and I filled two plastic bags of rubbish during a 25 minute stroll!
Now, here are 5 simple ways you can reduce the amount of plastic in your life and make for a better, safer environment for every living thing.
- Stop Using Plastic Utensils (those favourites of children's parties and barbecues). They never degrade and simply break up into thousands of minute pieces of plastic which causes unimaginable harm to land, sea and all upon it.
- Switch to paper straws. They are more expensive so maybe ration them - make them special!
- Use a wooden toothbrush. Yes, they exist! And it will be an amusing novelty for your children.
- Invest in re-usable lunch bags or a tin lunch box (it will last longer anyway).
- Eat fresh food! Yes its good for your health but it also means less packaging. If you eat takeout's say no to plastic utensils that are given away with it. Get yourselves a titanium spork instead and carry it around like a proper adventurer!
For more in depth information check these articles out:
Try and use less plastic; paper straws for example. Here are some useful links on how to reduce the amount of plastic in your life: