Today it was raining. Quite a lot! In fact, it has been for at least a week, which is pretty normal at this time of year in Hong Kong.
Most shopping malls and public indoor spaces provide disposable plastic wraps to contain your umbrellas and stop them dripping over the floor… no one likes a sprained ankle.
I saw a boy (around the age of 10), cover his umbrella in a plastic bag. He decided, to be ultra-safe, he had better put another one on top of that…why would he purposely use so much disposable plastic? Is he not environmentally savvy?
Let’s take a look at the possible reasons for such a casual use of materials…
Are children not well-educated about the environment?
That can’t be it. My co-teachers and I have taught several lessons on nature and the environment. I’ve put lots of emphasis on the use of plastics and recycling. I also know that most other school curriculums include some environmental education.
Even if the lessons were not well received, the information should still be there, hovering in this child’s mind. But they didn’t seem to be, no second thoughts were given about that frivolous use of plastic.
Do children not care about the environment?
Disagree. If you read a book to your children (especially if it’s an emotionally moving one) about the environment or some type of conservation, they will show concern.
Whilst reading a book about endangered species, I’ve seen children tear up and profess to care about animals and their habitats more than anything else! Although we all know that kids can be wishy-washy, and what they like/hate today can easily be reversed tomorrow.
But still, they definitely show some form of care towards the natural world.
Don’t they understand how the environment relates to them?
Now I believe we are getting closer to the mark. Kids are, mostly, naturally concerned about nature. They understand the impact of recycling and wasting of materials (assuming they’ve been taught). What they don’t have, is a connection to their natural world.
How can they show true, consistent care without feeling connected closely to the natural world around them? It’s impossible.
I think that’s what happened with this boy and his plastic covered umbrella. He must have known the environmental impact, he may have shown concern for the environment at some time in his life, but he has no idea how this relates to him.
The future is far away…to them!
The urgency of conservation is not so urgent for our tiny tots. The future is oh-so-far away and they simply cannot see why they should be bothered about it right now. How can we help them understand that urgency? Through connection.
Reconnect with nature and help them to explore without barriers. It’s not easy, but it needs to be done. I can assure you there will be lots more about this topic, including tips for how to reestablish that green connection, in upcoming posts!
Start encouraging your savvy seeds to connect with nature today!