Practical ideas for families wanting to do their bit for the environment

As the world continues to digest last week’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its stark warnings of potential global catastrophe, we are all — from international bodies and sovereign governments right down to local communities and individual households — considering what steps need to be taken to safeguard the planet’s future. In a typically thoughtful piece at the weekend, the Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland warns against a fatalist mindset that says that as individuals we can’t possibly make a difference and so there is no point doing anything. Fundamental to Life-Based Learning is the positive message that individuals acting collectively for the common good can make a difference and that we need to educate our children so that they have the knowledge and the knowhow to lead healthy and sustainable lives.

Jonathan Freedland’s article, Are you in denial? Because it’s not just anti-vaxxers and climate sceptics, quotes the philosopher Quassim Cassam, who talks of ‘behavioural or practical denialism’:

This is the mindset that accepts the science marshalled by the IPCC – it hears the alarm bell ringing – but still does not change its behaviour. It can operate at the level of governments … [a]nd it lives in individuals, too, in the fatalism that says one person can do nothing to halt a planetary emergency, so you might as well shrug and move on. Which is “to act in the same way as if you were a climate change denier,” says Cassam. “The practical upshot is the same.”

Jonathan Freedland, Are you in denial? Because it’s not just anti-vaxxers and climate sceptics

Fortunately, there are more and more websites available that provide handy, easy-to-follow tips on ways to adopt more environmentally friendly habits, reduce your carbon footprint and generally lead a greener lifestyle. And, as we have pointed out previously, getting actively involved in something and helping to make a difference, however small, is actually good for our mental health and wellbeing.

NHS advice to parents on looking after children and young people’s mental health includes the following:

Being active or creative, learning new things and being a part of a team help connect us with others and are important ways we can all help our mental health. Support and encourage them [children] to explore their interests, whatever they are.

from the NHS webpage, Looking after a child or young person’s mental health

We have previously highlighted the BBC’s Countryfile programme initiative called Plant Britain. Its aim is to “galvanise the nation to get planting”. There is also BBC Radio 2’s Big Bee Challenge:

…our bees are in trouble. Thirteen species in the UK have become extinct, with many more in danger. The good news is that there are things we can ALL do to help. We’re calling on EVERYONE to get out there and do ONE thing in our gardens, backyards, pots and balconies to help our precious pollinators.

from BBC Radio 2’s Big Bee Challenge

The BBC Newsbeat team have put together this page — Climate change: How to be more eco-friendly in everyday life — with suggestions and ideas that are perhaps written with older children and young adults in mind. Meanwhile, there is the excellent Kids for Saving Earth website, which we highlighted in our blog ‘Bloom or bust’: Climate change isn’t the only environmental catastrophe we face. This site is especially suitable for families with younger children, including not just loads of eco-friendly activity ideas but also project suggestions that are ideal for home-schoolers.

More About Environmental Education and Sustainable Living

Image at the head of this article by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay.

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