Written by: Jennifer Dennis
Article source: Supplied

Some of the biggest threats to the planet include deforestation, the effects of climate change, and the amount of plastics (and microplastics) in our oceans and on our beaches – as reported by the World Wildlife Fund. Nature expert, Richard Louv, argues that much of the problem lies in the increased alienation of human beings from their natural environment. Children can study about logging and the loss of km of acres of forest per day in the Amazon, but feel that it has little effect on their daily lives because many spend little time in nature, and therefore cannot comprehend its value. The Bible itself is rich in words about the importance of nature. As Genesis 1:10 states, “God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.” If you love nature and you would like to raise environmentally aware children who do their share to make the world a better place, the following tips may help.

Heading Into Nature Together
As mentioned by Richard Louv, in order to love nature and be an authentic eco warrior, spending time in the Great Outdoors is key. If your kids love camping, why not spend a short weekend away, sleeping under the stars, taking part in Bible readings and commentary, and cooking over a campfire? A recent University of Connecticut study showed that being in green or blue surroundings has profound effects on human health and wellbeing, since it significantly reduces levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Being in nature also lifts the mood and makes you feel more energetic. For many Christians, natural wonders such as mountains, seas, and pristine beaches are some of God’s greatest gifts. Indeed, it is through their majesty that His power can be perceived.

Giving Something Back
Whether you head to a mountain destination or a beachside paradise on your next holiday, try to make your visit as sustainable as possible. Just a few ways to do so include walking and cycling instead of driving or hiring a car; camping instead of staying at a resort; and dining at sustainable plant-based restaurants. You can also take part in official ‘clean-ups’, which are pretty easy to find. Simply log onto Facebook and look for eco-friendly groups in the area, asking if there are any beach or campsite clean-up events coming up. Plastics are a particularly dangerous problem, since they make their way into the oceans, harming ecosystems and converting into microplastics, which fish and other marine animals ingest to their detriment.

Working On Fun Projects Together
One important way to teach children about sustainability is to work on reducing your carbon footprint together as a family. Whether you are installing solar panels at home or switching to a green energy electricity company, it’s important to involve your children by teaching them why relying on renewable energy matters. Start out by explaining key concepts such as sustainability and electricity . Move on to teach children about different renewable energies – including solar, hydro, wind and geothermal. Work on fun projects that will demonstrate to children how solar, water and wind energy can make things move and work. Ideal DIY projects include simple solar powered electric fans, water wheels, or wind turbines. 

Challenges For Older Children
Older children can learn about renewable energy by calculating your family’s current carbon footprint. When making your calculations, include items like monthly electricity consumption, food, transport, and waste. The Environmental Protection Agency provides lists of averages, but you can make more accurate calculations by gathering utility bills, researching your car’s rated fuel consumption, and calculating how much your carbon footprint is reduced through efforts such as recycling of plastic bottles or the total avoidance of single-use plastics.

God loved human beings so much that he gave us his only son. For many Christians, keeping the planet clean and beautiful is a way to give thanks to God for all the bounties he has bestowed. If you have children, lead by example, embracing renewable energy and teaching them about it. You can make sustainable choices in your everyday life by taking small steps such as avoiding single-use plastics. You should also make it a point to head out into nature to enjoy its healing, soothing benefits. While you’re there, try to leave the areas you visit in a better state by taking part in clean-ups and other community efforts.

Feature image: unsplash.com

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