Modeling Sustainable Living Influences Those Close to Us

by Melissa Robbins, Volunteer, The Launch Pad Teen Center

Whether it’s for our own future or our children’s, a primary motivation for going green is thinking about tomorrow.

Being mindful of the irreplaceable nature of today can motivate us to form habits that will make a lasting impact on the planet and those living on it. Children are our future, but it’s up to us to instill good habits now to ensure that future remains bright … and livable.

According to the National Research Council, observing others’ behavior plays a major role in children’s development. Your kids learn how to interact with the world by watching you.

Partaking in eco-friendly practices or changing habits to live more sustainably not only benefits you, but acts as a teaching moment for those looking to you for guidance on how to structure their own lives.

Getting into nature can be a great place to start.

Whether it’s kayaking, camping, mushroom hunting or just walking around the neighborhood, showing your teen you’re engaged with your surroundings can be the push they need to do the same.

When out exploring, be sure to follow the age-old Scout rule: Always leave the site better than you found it. Building a respect for wildlife opens the door to taking good care of it.

One doesn’t need to be away from home to instill eco-friendly habits, though. Modeling greener living can be as simple as unplugging appliances or turning off fans and lights when not in use.

An easy place to live sustainably at home is the kitchen. Having even one “meatless meals” day a week can have drastic positive effects. According to the Huffington Post, if every American household went vegetarian for just one day, it would prevent around 1.2 million tons of CO2 emissions and 3 million tons of soil erosion.

Starting a small garden to tend with your family can not only cut back on the environmental cost of grocery shopping, but also highlight the hard work and care that go into the everyday products we take for granted.