Various groups have been banging on about climate change for decades and some steps have been taken by the government to try to alleviate the effect human beings are having on the planet. However, now the kids are getting involved it’s making the front pages.
On 15th February thousands of children skipped school all over the country and demonstrated their concern about the lack of constructive action from the country’s decision-makers.
While skipping school is not something that we support, the beliefs of the kids who took action are maybe something adults can learn from.
Yes, almost everyone has seen the Blue Planet episode showing the extent of the plastic in the ocean and it has been a catalyst to some action taking place. But there’s more to the problem than plastic pollution – children are looking into their own futures and are scared about what they see if nothing changes. Some of the predictions are of events barely more than a decade into the future.
What do they want? The Student Climate Network has four criteria on which they want action:
- They think the government should declare a climate emergency
- They want the government to inform the public about the seriousness of the situation
- They would like the ecological crises to be part of the National Curriculum
- They want the age of voting to be lowered to 16, so younger people can be involved in decision-making on environmental issues.
What happens next?
Demonstrations make the news, but how can anyone make a real difference?
Unless you have the ear of someone in government who will listen – for most of us, we can’t force legislation or action on those in power. But that doesn’t stop you taking action.
Children may be leading the way, but parents, teachers and the wider community can help them to make a difference.
So what can you do? Here are some suggestions:
- Sit down with the family and work out how much plastic you can eliminate from the weekly shopping.
- Have a 5-a-day rule – every member of the family picks up 5 pieces of plastic and puts them into a recycling container every day.
- Organise a school clean-up in a local area.
- Have a clean-up party and invite the neighbours, friends and family to help.
- See if there are ways to reduce the number of car journeys taken. Car-share or use public transport, if possible.
- Reduce the electricity you use in the home and check out if solar power will be economic for your home.
- Reduce waste – smaller portions so less food goes in the bin (even into the recycling bin)
Ask your kids what they would like to see change around the home and the school that would make a difference.
Over to you!