Helping children take positive action on environmental issues
My children are angry and anxious that we have ruined the planet. How can we help children take positive action and feel better?
Young people have certainly helped bring the challenges of climate change and other environmental issues to the fore in recent weeks and all credit to them.
Interestingly, their concern for the environment was mirrored in the findings of new research from ACS International Schools which revealed that 53% of students view being an entrepreneur as a way to help save the planet, reduce pollution or waste; while 37% view entrepreneurship as a means to help others.
But while we can't advocate all students immediately skipping school to protest or build philanthropic businesses, there are certainly things we can all do to encourage and sustain that remarkable environmental and entrepreneurial spirit in young people.
- Encourage research: For anyone taking part in peaceful protests, it is important to read about and engage with other movements that have changed history. Research not only provides an opportunity to learn more about progressive movements, but it also helps students understand the reasons why movements like this are important.
- Communicate with people who can create change: Writing letters to politicians and people in power is a great way to engage with those who have a direct impact or involvement with a particular issue. It also ensures that proactive action is being taken to make a change and students understand all viewpoints on an issue.
- Create art and media: This is an effective way for all students to be able to communicate their opinions, frustrations and hopes around a particular subject. Students who can actively engage with an issue can then contribute to making a change.
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- Ask questions: Everyone should be encouraged to ask questions about issues they are passionate about so they can learn. This is especially important for children and young adults like those who took part in the climate change awareness activities. By gaining as much information around a subject as possible, students can make informed choices about how they would like to participate.
- Learn from your experience: Reviewing the impact our actions have had on a particular issue allows us to learn from the experience.
- Supportive networks: It is increasingly important for children to be a part of a supportive network of like-minded students. This includes parents, teachers and school leaders who can be champions. Achieving a sustainable world requires coming together, and issues around climate change can also cause distress or burnout, all the more reason to be part of a sympathetic community.
Don't forget to follow @acscobhamschool and #acscobhamlife to see the latest from the school; acs-schools.com/acs-cobham. Inspiring Entrepreneurship in Education can be viewed on the ACS International Schools website at www.acs-schools.com/acs-research.