Quote: “The best way to raise an eco-conscious child is to be an eco-conscious parent. Live by the principle of the three R’s – reduce, reuse, and recycle – and involve your child in the process.” Linda Akeson McGurk in There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather
Linda McGurk, a well-known blogger called “Rain or Shine Mamma,” compares the different parenting philosophies between American and Scandinavian cultures in her book There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather. She was born and raised in Sweden and later moved to Indiana with her husband. When she became a mother and started raising her two daughters, she realized so many drastic differences of raising children here in the U.S. from her hometown back in Sweden. She feels that her Scandinavian upbringing taught her so many great advantages of raising children who love to be in nature and therefore want to take care of nature.
At the end of each chapter, she provides a “Scandinavian Parenting Tip” as it applies to how Scandinavians get their children to spend more time in nature. The quote above comes from her parenting tip in Chapter 4: We Must All Take Care of Nature. In addition to parents modeling how to be eco-conscious, the national curriculum for preschools in Sweden include educating children about taking care of their environment now and in the future. For example, teachers have their children practice composting so that children get into the habit of separating their food from the trash. They also participate in an annual trash pick-up day. After picking up all the trash, students are taught how to separate the trash from items they can recycle. Many of us recycle today, but how many of us compost, let alone know of a preschool in the U.S. that practices composting?
She further adds that the eco-conscious parent can make a difference through volunteering for clean up days, using public transit, riding bikes, and purchasing locally grown food. Since Earth Day is celebrated in April, what a great time to start making a difference! Naples offered three big events in honor of Earth Day on April 13 – 1) Keep Collier Beautiful Clean Up Day, 2) Earth Day Festival at the Conservancy, and 3) free rides on the Collier Area Transit . If you weren’t able to attend these events, you have another great opportunity on April 20 – Collier Community Clean Up Day . This event encourages residents to clean up wherever they want – neighborhoods, beaches, shopping centers, parks, etc. They even will award prizes to participants who take photos of their haul in terms of full garbage bags and before and after of the location cleaned. If you want to encourage your family to be more eco-conscious for everyday or weekly activities, practice riding bikes as a family instead of driving or go to one of the Farmers Markets around town to buy local produce. We are so blessed to live in a city that promotes eco-conscious activities.
Even if you don’t consider yourself an eco-conscious parent or don’t want to look like a “tree hugger,” we can all agree that we like to see our community clean. Raising children who love to go outside, get away from their screens, and take care of their environment can be quite rewarding in so many ways. Our family loves to get outside either in our backyard or at the local beaches and parks, take a break from our screens, and pick up trash whenever we see litter; but we also face the same challenges many families do today. As McGurk points out, accept the challenge and make a difference wherever you live because “there’s no such thing as bad weather.” Let’s get our kids outdoors, rain or shine – cold or hot, and learn to enjoy nature in all its seasons.
Thank you to the Kaczynski family for sharing your awesome photos of the Earth Day Festival at the Conservancy!
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