Environmental issues: our kids’ reality

The other night while I was looking at my Twitter account, our daughter snuggled up next to me on the couch.  Within 10 seconds she said “Aww, Mommy.  Thank you!”

kids-hands-on-globeI couldn’t imagine what prompted that little show of love, but I sure did enjoy it! I said “you’re welcome, but thank you for what, honey?”  She said “That, Mommy!” and pointed to the quote on my Twitter page that read: “I’m just trying to do my part to help make the world a better place for my children.”  At that moment, I realized that what I’m doing (and what we’re ALL doing) really does make a difference.

Ironically, this comment came on the heels of reading a recent study on kids’ fears about the environment.  While they should be worrying more about playing with their friends, homework, watching their favorite TV shows or earning a sweet treat after dinner, these fears about our world are very real to them.

This study, commissioned by Habitat Heroes, uncovered some interesting facts, including:

  • 1 in 3 children (ages 6-11) fear that the planet won’t exist when they grown up
  • More than half (56%) believe the Earth will not be as good a place to live
  • Girls worry more than boys, but overall, kids in metro areas worry more than those in rural settings
  • 28% say they fear the extinction of animals more than anything elsekiids-on-globe
  • Nearly 25% worry about enough safe drinking water

The results don’t surprise me, because this is a part of their reality, and it’s also a reminder that they are “listening” and know that concerns truly exist in today’s world.  Had you asked any of us these questions when we were 8, I don’t imagine the worry would have been as great (if there at all).

(Habitat Heroes has also developed a great site for kids to learn, play and find ideas to help the environment.  If they are afraid, maybe this will help them to learn and discover ways to help.)

But my favorite result was this:  An amazing 95% of the children believe that their parents are trying to save the environment by recycling, using reusable batteries and conserving electricity and water.

Whether that is true or not, I believe the message is this… they believe in us, so we have to do our best not to let them down.

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8 thoughts on “Environmental issues: our kids’ reality

  1. It really is sad that our kids have to worry so much. My 5 year old follows people around turning off lights behind them so that there will still be some earth left when he grows up (that’s really what he tells us). It’s great, though, that kids want to make the world better and wonderful that they believe in us so much. Hopefully more adults will realize that too and go green for the kiddos!

  2. Cole – it makes me sad too. My kids are just like your son… they are conscious of recycling, comment about litter and pollution and just seem to absorb so much. The wonderful thing is that we are raising little environmentalists who won’t take anything for granted and grow up to do their part! 🙂

  3. Wow, I have to say, those are startling numbers. I guess in Costa Rica the kids aren’t as aware as they are in the States. Maybe it’s because the country is full of National Parks and prides itself on the wildlife.

    It’s up to us, the parents, to make sure the children understand that they need to be a part of making our Earth healthy and beautiful!

  4. marina – the number are amazing, but it surprises me that kids in Costa Rica aren’t as aware… I always envision it as lush and green, and assumed it would be something they cherish. But I guess we learn differently when we see images from around the globe and the horrible pollution that happens everywhere, unfortunately. I’m all for keeping it healthy and beautiful!

  5. Actually the kids here are aware of nature, but not the problems that the Earth if facing, because everywhere they look it is lush. Plus, remember it’s a 3rd world country. There are many things people and especially adults close their eyes to here, and also take the easier stance of ignorance!

  6. marina – makes perfect sense! Thank you for sharing this and making us all aware! I commend you for doing everything you can, and keeping your EYES OPEN, when so many others around you are turning a blind eye!

  7. Thanks for sharing this information. My child is only 22 months, so I had no idea how kids feel about the environment today. But I am not surprised. They are so sensitive when they are young. I read that more and more kids are becoming vegetarians too. Thanks for the link to Habitat Heroes.

    Best, Deborah

  8. Deborah – you’re welcome… and when your daughter is old enough to realize about the environment, she’ll (sadly) realize that she, along with the rest of our kids, will inherit the problem. That’s why I have to do anything to help make my little corner of the world better and I’m sure you feel the same! 🙂

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