The Green Blog
Growing Green Kids
Chances are, if you have children, they may know more about being eco-friendly than you do!  The We Generation (commonly known as the Millennials, born from 1982-2001) believes that it's their generation, not their parents', which will help the environment the most over the next 25 years. Already imbued with a service ethic to contribute and give back, the children from this demographic are not only more likely to improve the environment, but "are also willing to impose extra civic duties on themselves to achieve that end." (Neil Howe and William Straus, Millennials Rising. Vintage Books, New York, 2000.)

As children reach kindergarten and early grade-school age, they continue to become increasingly more aware of the wider world beyond home, school and their neighborhood.  Their schools, their friends and the media are emphasizing the importance of living green.  To encourage and continue to educate your kids about the importance of eco-awareness and environmental responsibility, here are some great ideas:

Be their green role model.
Your kids look up to you.  If you live your life with a conscience towards the environment, your children will see that you truly mean what you say.  As they are raised in homes that recycle, conserve water and energy (like turning off the lights when they leave a room), and buy organic (or better yet, grow their own food), to name a few, these good practices will become habits for them in their adult lives. 

Support causes that conserve nature and save wildlife.  Encourage your children to save money for donations to worthy eco-minded organizations.  The World Wildlife Fund offer species adoption for endangered animals with donations.  In return, you receive fun thank you gifts like tee shirts, water bottles, key chains and more.

Green celebrities for kids
Kids also look up to many celebrities as role models.  You can tell them that 12-year-old "Little Miss Sunshine" Abigail Breslin did some green carpet posing, along with Kyle ("Cory in the House") and brother Chris ("Zoey 101") Massey, at the recent Disney Studio's Burbank lot for the "Chevy Rocks the Future" event, where GM displayed some tight clean vehicles.

The Jonas Brothers own a Chevy Tahoe 2 Model Hybrid SUV.

Hilary Duff champions USA Harvest (as do Green Day and Scarlett Johansson), donated big bucks to Katrina victims, helps out at homeless shelters, and is a huge supporter of eco-fashion - she wears mostly vintage.

Orlando Bloom is eco's swashbuckling poster boy - he donates time to Global Cool and Global Green, among others.

Vegetarian singer Joss Stone has some nice activist creds for playing at Live Earth, fighting world hunger and being a PETA spokesperson.

The Harry Potter clan is also displaying their eco-friendly sides. Emma Watson donates time to The Wild Trout Trust, while Daniel Radcliffe gives to the Charity Projects Entertainment Fund, and promised to buy a hybrid when he got his license.

Teach your kids to go for reusable wherever they can.
Take your kids shopping at thrift stores.  Children's clothes offered for sale are often just like new (because kids have outgrown them before they can outwear them) and are a steal compared to new clothing prices.  Show the kids that you use rags as cleaning cloths instead of paper towels; when you grocery shop, point out that less pre-packaged foods and more fresh foods are not only healthier, but there's less to go in a landfill.  And don't forget your reusable grocery bags instead of plastic!  Put filtered water in reusable water bottles instead of giving the kids bottled water. 

After my sister's children receive their new toys for Christmas, she has them clean out their toy boxes and go with her to Goodwill or another charitable organization where they donate their old toys.  The children learn the value of giving back and their toys aren't thrown away as soon as they tire of them.

Celebrate Earth Day together!
Earth Day is April 22, 2009.  Start planning now to do fun activities with your kids.  They'll be excited that they can have a part in this annual milestone.

Visit Care 2's Earth Day page for kids.   It's full of great links and great ideas to get your kids ready for Earth Day. 

www.earthday.gov has more links for kids that include an EPA Kids' Club and Roofus the Dog's solar and efficient neighborhood.

The Wilderness Society is urging kids to make Earth Day every day at Kids in Action.

The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies is holding an Earth Day art contest for children in grades 2-4, a photo contest for kids in grades 5-8 and a scholar award for high school students.

The Nick network (Nickolodeon) is urging kids to unplug their games and gadgets for a minute on Earth Day to symbolize a commitment to helping the environment.

Connect your kids with nature.
Take your family to the park or explore a hiking trail. Spend some of your vacation time in a beautiful natural setting instead of amusement and theme parks.  Being in nature can help provide kids with a clear picture of what we are trying to preserve, especially if they live in an urban environment. 

Ask them to help you plant a garden (the new First Family is planting a victory garden at the White House, and the Obama girls will help tend the crops along with their parents). They'll learn the cycle of nature, where food comes from and how waste can be reduced by not using convenience foods.

Our kids are the future of planet Earth.  Helping them learn how to live green now will ensure that they will have a healthy planet on which to raise their kids!

Also read: How Nature Makes Kids Calmer, Healthier, Happier, Smarter