Thorunn Egilsdottir
Corporate Communication Manager
15th September 2021

Inheriting environmental issues: how to help children become more climate-conscious

Climate change is the biggest challenge we face. The younger generation will inherit environmental problems that we already know how to solve if we are prepared to change our lifestyles. Find out how the team from “Haus vun der Natur” addresses environmental protection with young people and read Sonnie’s five practical sustainability tips.

1. Children are our future. Are they more environmentally aware than their parents?

Climate awareness has never been so high among younger generations than in recent years. Ever since Greta Thunberg started the Fridays for Future strikes, there has been a surge in school children and students willing to stand up for this important issue. Young parents’ concern about the subject has also helped to make cloth nappies fashionable again and sparked a renewed interest in wooden toys. Generally speaking, sustainability has become trendy and there is an increased demand for local products.

2. Who is responsible for making children aware of the urgency to protect the environment – schools or families?

Parents have an important part to play in teaching their children about the environment, just as they do for all of their education. They are role models for their children and help shape their behaviour.

School projects on topics such as sustainability and diversity are supplementary ways to increase knowledge. Sustainable development education is crucial for school-age children, and the idea behind it is to emphasise the importance of protecting our climate across all areas.

3. How do you help young children to understand the causes of climate change? What do you tend to focus on?

Whenever you experience nature and the environment, you also learn to appreciate it and understand how everything depends on everything else. If you appreciate something, that means you want to preserve it and care for it. Specifically, that means getting children outside and into nature to explore forests, meadows, ponds and gardens, where they can see what plants are growing around them, learn to identify insects and other animals and understand their role within our ecosystem.

There are all kinds of ways to experience nature with children so that they develop an awareness of the environment they live in.

It is so important to experience, comprehend and understand nature with all our senses – by smelling, hearing, tasting, seeing, and feeling.

4. How can parenthood impact environmental attitudes and behaviour of their children? Can digital formats such as videos help?

Showing children these issues and experiencing nature with them are not the only things we can do. As adults, we should set good examples. If things come naturally to us, children don’t even question them. We can easily separate our rubbish, turn off the light when leaving a room, shop for locally-sourced products, make sure we don’t drop litter, use less plastic packaging and much more.  We don’t need to be perfect at everything, but these little steps can help us to be good role models.

Of course, videos can also help us to act more sustainably, but for me the most important thing we can do is set good examples for our children.

5. What are your five sustainability tips for young people?

Five sustainability tips for young people

1. Only buy what you really need

2. Travel by bike or on foot

3. Turn off electronic devices when you're done using them - don’t just leave them on standby

4. Save water

5. Say goodbye to plastic

About the blog:

There is an urgent need for rapid transition to Global Environmental Sustainability. Thanks to changemakers, progress is possible. "Why does it matter?" is a bi-monthly series that takes a quick look at the forefront of today's trends around  sustainability. From May 2021 on, we aim to elucidate this important topic through the eyes of our experts. 

Your contribution counts too! From June on, don't miss out our experts' practical tips for your daily life.