Can Children Become Sustainability Thinkers

Published 01 27, 2012 -

Children can Become Sustainability Thinkers

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We can leave the world better than we found it, through our children and learning ourselves a long the way

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Sustainability Is a Way of Thinking and Living- 

To me, sustainability implies a way of thinking and living. I have choosen to teach children, students, friends and family that our dear planet Earth is a closed system and that everything is inter-related. Healthy natural cycles are essential to the well being of this system. I like them to understand their part in our system, to care for our planet and others to feel empowered that they can make a difference.

  Developing an Appreciation for the Natural Environment

 Children can initially develop an appreciation for the natural environment, its creatures and other human beings around the world. We can share ample opportunities for both play and active exploration opportunities outdoors to develop respect for nature. Reading books and watching educational programs can help them experience the amazing diversity of life on our planet when there is not the opportunity to go outdoors.

Learning about the Earth is not just about facts. Sharing Nature with Children suggests teaching less and sharing more.

Sharing with children the bare facts of nature (“This is a Redwood tree”), I like to tell them about my inner feeling in the presence of that Redwood tree.

In nature, encourage children to experience the wonder by looking at ordinary things in great detail – a leaf, a snail crossing the trail, the underside of a fern, life under a rock. 



Emphasize Our Connection With Others

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Sustainability goes beyond the environment as well, it includes people. It considers the present and future quality of life in a community -economic, social and environmental.

I believe education should emphasize our connection with other people and species, and between human and planetary systems. We are connected to other people, other species, and other lands through the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the items and materials we use everyday, and our common reliance on a healthy environment. By gaining an understanding of this global interdependence, children become better equipped to make everyday choices that respect the rights of others and lessen their impact on the Earth’s life support systems.

Share about the world’s human geography demographics. Look at a miniature global village where you break down our population demographics into 100 people. Discuss food miles and where and how things are made.   Let them know that we are all part of the same web of life and that we are all inter-related.

  Sustainability Involves

Making Conscious Decisions



Sustainability involves making conscious decisions about how one’s actions impact the environment, our community, and the world. This goes far beyond the 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Moving towards a sustainable future involves a change in the way our society thinks and behaves. We can think about the choices we make each day. We can understand the greater impact from our decisions such as choosing a present for our friend’s birthday, eating lunch at a fast food restaurant and even choosing a career to pursue.

Children can be empowered early on to take part in sustainability by helping them discover small ways they can take individual and group action to make a difference. Our children are the future. We choose to help them gain the understanding and motivation to help change the world.

Discussion Questions on Sustainability for Children and Students

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The following are some discussion questions that will help our children or students move towards becoming “sustainable thinkers.”

• What natural systems create life on our planet? (air, water, energy)

• What is a food chain and a food web??

• What is a habitat??• What is an eco-system??

• What are the many functions of trees??

• Why is the planet currently loosing trees??

• What is the current population growth??

• Where do most of the world’s population live??

• What is the average annual income there?

• What is global warming and its causes??

• What types of pollution are there and its causes??

• What are renewable and non-renewable resources??

• What is your ecological footprint??

• What is organic food??

• Why is organic food more expensive??

• Where is our food grown??

• What are food miles??

• Who is growing our food??

• Where are your clothes made??

• Who is making the products you buy??

• Who has access to more sustainable choices??

• What are ways you can make a difference??

• How can you use less (i.e., reduce)?

• What do you really need to live happily??

• How can we help others??

• What are some positive contributions people, organizations and countries are making?

Activities to Encourage Sustainable Thinkers

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Start a nature journal

• Set up a compost bin

• Start a small produce garden (or container garden)

• Take regular nature walks

•Visit a dump and recycling depot

• Visit an organic farm

• Plant or adopt a tree

• Collect non-perishable foods items for local food banks

• Fund-raise for a world hunger aid organization

• Raise money for a child’s education or environmental project

• Study in detail a localized ecosystem such as an old log

• Collect your garbage for a day (or week)

• Check out the movie Garbage Revolution!?

• Draw or paint a picture of a sustainable world

• Take out a globe and track down where everything in a room comes from

• Educate others by making posters for your community centre or school bulletin board

• Write a story or poem to share with others or have published.

Please contact us to share your ideas!

Love ya and thanks
Harry Johansing

Posted by: The Banana Paper Guy