FUTURE PLANET BEARERS

Teach children to care for environment

There's no Planet B.

In Summary
  • The rate at which exhaustible environmental resources are being depleted warrants everyone to be cautious of their day-to-day activities.
  • In the past, little was done to conserve the environment. The effect are being felt far and wide by everyone.
Schoolchildren plant trees to help conserve Kaptagat Forest in Uasin Gishu.
CONSERVATION: Schoolchildren plant trees to help conserve Kaptagat Forest in Uasin Gishu.
Image: FILE

Children are the future planet bearers. The actions of the current generation to conserve the environment by properly utilising the available limited resources will influence how the future generations will enjoy their right to use those resources.

To ensure a better planet for the future bearers, young children need to be taught to take charge of the way the few natural resources are exploited.

Through environmental education in schools and communities, public forums, challenges, and competitions, children can integrate the learnt skills, attitudes, and behaviours in their day-to-day activities.

Here, I am talking about children actively engaging in real environmental activities. Planting trees and the liability of ensuring each of the trees they plant grows to maturity. Bestowing a sense of environmental responsibility goes beyond the conservation aspect of being great leaders.

The rate at which exhaustible environmental resources are being depleted warrants everyone to be cautious of their day-to-day activities. In the past, little was done to conserve the environment. The effect are being felt far and wide by everyone, irrespective of their social, political, or economic status.

Thus, it is paramount to bring up a generation that knows the value of what is within their surroundings, how to care for them, and sustainably utilise them.

The urge to learn more and the self-affirmation that they will be responsible for nurturing trees, ensuring their parents don’t cut down trees, and that forests are not destroyed, or waste disposed of carelessly reaffirm my belief in children being strong advocates of the environment.

I have seen and felt the enthusiasm among young children regarding environmental matters. Having held forums, chats and participated in tree planting events in primary and secondary schools as well as with Sunday-school children, I have experienced the strong excitement and love children have for nature.

The urge to learn more and the self-affirmation that they will be responsible for nurturing trees, ensuring their parents don’t cut down trees, and that forests are not destroyed, or waste disposed of carelessly reaffirm my belief in children being strong advocates of the environment.

With proper nurturing, support, hands-on experience, and exposure, children can revolutionise the world to be a better place for them and the next generations.

Nurturing children will start with you and me — you as the parent, guardian, administrative leader, religious leader, teacher, and mentor. Be warned, what you practise is what they are likely to view and regard nature to be.

We can create more Greta Thunbergs in our homes, schools, and religious groupings. That can only happen if you and I reaffirm to our children that any small action for the environment is a great milestone that will change the world for the better. There is no Planet B!

A significant number of children in Kenya and Africa have voiced their thoughts on environmental conservation. That is commendable.

However, the message needs to spread to those in marginalised and rural communities. It is in these vulnerable areas that environmental degradation is taking place—charcoal burning, deforestation, and illegal logging.

To create a responsible future generation, we must nurture our children to be strong believers and practitioners of a clean and habitable environment.

Environmental scientist and blogger. [email protected]