Many of you Sparkle Parents will remember when Al Gore's An Inconvient Truth came out back in 2006. The movie posters were omonious and slightly terrifying; the information in the film even more so. If you are old enough to remember the oil crisis of the 1970s, then you'll know things were looking bleak. Everyday in the news we hear about deforestion, mass extinction, oil spills, plastic clogging waterways, pollution from big agricultural run off, and — the worst of all — carbon emmissions.
If you are starting to feel a bit down and overwhelmed, it's okay. Every one of us feels this way to some degree, but the best thing to do when you feel overwhelmed is to empower yourself with information. This post is meant to help you do just that, by giving you tips and resources to better understand what is going on with the planet and how to help your children understand what's going on in a way that isn't scary or intimidating but empowers them to learn more and help the planet.
Step One: Learn about the planet works and connect with it. This includes learning about the various ecosystems and how animals thrive in each system. Learn about the Earth's five systems and how they interact with one another. Get to know the wildlife in your area and what makes them special.
- Earth System is an excellent introduction for parents.
- When you are ready for a little more or are homeschooling check out this lesson plan from NASA exploring the basic earth systems.
- Here are two great videos from Crash Course kids that will make explaining earth systems easy and fun. Part ONE and Part TWO.
Step Two: Learn about climate change, both natural and manmade. I've gathered a handful of links about climate change that can be explored with parental help (for younger children) or independently (for kids who can read fluently).
- "What Is Global Climate Change?"
- Climate Change Pathway Facts
- Climate Change
- Environment for Kids: Global Warming
- And for older kids: Climate Change Basics from the EPA.
- For a quick and easy explantion about climate change, here are two more Crash Course Kids Videos: Climate Change and Weather vs. Climate.
Step Three: Learn about ways you can help. There are a myriad of small things that each of us can do on a daily basis to make a difference.
- Check out our list of ideas gathered from the Sparkle Team and from Sparklers around the globe on how they reduce their impact on the planet.
- The Nature Conservancy
- US Fish and Wildlife Services Volunteer program
- Ocean Conservancy
- National Park Service
- National Parks Conservation Association
- Wildlife Defenders
- Check your local wildlife center, nature reserve, or zoo to learn more about local ways to help your community.
Step Four: Keep being inspired to help the planet. It's important to learn and be inspired by others who are doing excellent work in conservation or have done things to help. The following links are lists of people to be inspired by. There are so many from the last 150 years. For homeschoolers, this might also be an excellent opportunity to study history with eye on conservation.
- Notable Conservationists
- Wikipedia's List of Conservationists
- 12 historic American environmentalists who made our wilderness all-star draft
For more ways to connect and learn about our world, check out the Martin & Sylvia's Nature School Collection.
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About the Author
KC is a full-time radical homemaker and mama to two spunky little girls. She writes about all kinds of radical goodness, from gardening and cooking with whole foods to crafting, sewing, homeschooling, and mama musings. Read more on her blog The Nettlesome Life.