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Have you spoken to your kids about the environment today?

2010 September 2

By Lina Younes

It’s that time of year when many parents are sending their kids off to college. Everyone has some sort of checklist for the things they will need as they leave the family nest whether it’s books, computers, clothes, household items, etc. As parents, we hope that we have prepared our kids to be independent, to excel academically and professionally, to manage their expenses, etc. But I wonder…have we prepared them to be good environmental citizens?

Now that our children will be living on their own, will they remember to save energy and water? Will they turn off the lights when they leave the room? Will they do simple things like closing the faucet when they brush their teeth? Will they use household products safely?

How about the three R’s—reduce, reuse, and recycle? Finding new uses for common items and recycling both go a long way to reducing waste. And in this day and age of electronics, we shouldn’t forget eCycling. Taking old computers, DVD players, and cell phones to a recycling center will allow the reuse of some valuable natural resources and prevent some hazardous substances from ending up in landfills.

Undoubtedly, we shouldn’t wait till we send our kids to college to talk about environmental awareness. Appreciation of our environment and the world around us should start at a very early age. It is likely that children today have already incorporated a green lifestyle. Nonetheless, talking to your children about environmental protection is never too late.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

7 Responses leave one →
  1. Ambrosia permalink
    September 2, 2010

    I think many parts of the three R’s would come naturally if they had been raised with it. Turning off the lights when you leave the room or turning off the water when they brush their teeth should already be a habit. If they have always put their cans in a recycling bin, it would be akward for them to put it in the trash.

    So I would probably just go over where they can recycle on campus and things like that.

  2. Lina-EPA permalink
    September 3, 2010

    You’re right and increasingly more campuses are encouraging recycling luckily.

  3. Graham the Tile and Grout Cleaning Guy permalink
    September 5, 2010

    One of the things you can do to set an example for your family is to use green or eco-friendly cleaning products. Also, make sure any professional cleaning company you contract with uses them, too. Many tile and grout cleaning companies offer eco-friendly products –

  4. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    September 5, 2010

    Kids learn alot by seeing and doing. But talking to them about what they can do to help improve the environment is a great way to reinforce the message. Also when it comes to selecting books to read for recreational reading, it would be great for parents to point out books in the childrens’ nonfiction part of the library that are interesting and deal with important topics like recycling, trash collection, energy, ocean and river protection, endangered animals. Get kids interested in environmental issues at a young age and it will carry over for a lifetime. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  5. Jerry Morgan permalink
    September 7, 2010

    Also you should ask them about what kind of cleaning chemicals their janitorial staff uses as well.

  6. Pendant Light permalink
    October 26, 2010

    Thanks for posting this pendant lighting selection! this made me want to refurbish my home and make it more eco-friendly! my children need to know about how serious the environmental threat nowadays is.

  7. Cell Phones permalink
    November 12, 2010

    I think it is very important to teach your kids about the three R’s. Recycling cell phones is a great idea to go green.

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