Sustainability – learning to protect the environmentPage 2/7: Topic Introduction
By helping the children to act in a responsible way towards the resources in the world you support them in developing sound, long-lasting and sustainable habits and behavior, and help them develop an understanding of the world and an incentive to respect nature.
What does sustainability mean?
Sustainability is the quality of not being harmful to the environment or draining natural resources (such as clean water), thereby supporting a long-term ecological balance. It is about minimizing your impact on nature and protecting the overall health of the environment.
Why is sustainability important?
The earth provides us with everything we need to survive: air, water and food. However, it does not contain endless resources. Therefore, it is very important that we help sustain a healthy environment so that we can continue to enjoy the many gifts of nature, to secure a good quality of life for ourselves and for future generations.
How can you practice a more sustainable daily life? Your projects could be to:
- Recycle paper, plastic, glass and aluminum whenever possible. Consider buying products made of materials you can reuse for something else.
- Grow your own fruit and vegetables.
- Turn off the lights and other electricity devices when not used (be aware that many devices still use electricity, when on stand-by. Turn off the switch on the wall).
- Reuse water from cooking and dishwashing to for example watering the garden.
- Not let the water run when washing the dishes or brushing teeth.
- Put on an extra sweatshirt before turning on the heat, or turn off the air condition when the room is not in use.
- Feed animals with leftovers from meal preparation.
- Use eco-friendly products.
STAFF GROUP DISCUSSION
Take some time to think about the major environmental challenges in your area.
- In some places of the world the major challenge is to cope with massive amounts of garbage and trash.
- In other places, it is a lack of clean water.
- In still other areas, it is other forms of pollution or waste of resources.
What are the major environmental problems in your area?
What small and meaningful actions can you make with the children to solve these problems?
What are you already doing?
Maybe you haven’t heard the word sustainability before?
Maybe is hasn’t been a focus point or interest before?
Nevertheless, it is very likely that many of your routines and actions are making a good contribution to a sustainable world.
- Until now, which sustainability areas have you been working with? Perhaps you already have good practices you have not paid attention to?
- What positive effects can you see in that area?
- On a individual level for the children.
- On a group-level.
- For the caregivers and their cooperation.
- For the surroundings, nature, the world.
Sustainability in local culture and religion
Does your institution have a ”belief system”, for example a religious or ideological base for your work with children?
If yes, can you find any arguments and support in this belief-system to work with sustainability?
Example: In Bali there is a Hindu tradition saying, that there are 3 important life-rules:
- You need to have a good relationship with the god(s)
- You need to have a good relationship with humans
- You need to have a good relationship with nature
That gives a strong argument for working with sustainable ideas of treating nature in a good way.
Example: There is a catholic saying: every scrap is a blessing.
That is a good argument for recycling, waste-separation and making things out of scraps that you can enjoy or sell.
Example: In Muslim tradition, personal hygiene is very important and linked to daily rituals: You must wash your hands after visits to the toilet and cut hair and nails regularly.
Food habits include many vegetables and not excessive use of meat, etc.
- For the surroundings, nature, the world