Have You Talked to Your Kids About the Environment?

Family Matters on 11.05.12
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I was interested to read Treehugger.com Editor-in-Chief Meg O’Neill’s article called How I Forced My 5 Year Old to Become an Environmentalist, or, an Interview With Philippe Cousteau. I feel strongly that our kids need to be taught well to be good stewards of our planet, but I haven't been sure how to address the topic. Coming from the world of Planet Green in my former career, I realize there are many experts out there in the world who are far more well-versed on the topic than I am.

Therefore, climate change and environmentalism are not topics that I’m epically comfortable spouting off about; O’Neill, however, is one of those moms I happily look to as an example of how to educate kids. One resource she discovered to help with this task is a new children’s book by Philippe Cousteau -- grandson of Jacques and founder of Earth Echo International, a non-profit dedicated to empowering youth on water issues.

In her article, O’Neill says:

Cousteau's book, Make a Splash!, co-written with Cathryn Berger Kaye, has the potential to make a much bigger ripple. A kids' guide to helping oceans, rivers, and wetlands, the book makes it easy for elementary school children to learn about Earth's water crisis in terms they can understand, and empowers them to take action by going outside, exploring, and understanding the cycle of life through the watersheds right in their own towns and cities. Tips in the book include encouraging kids to embark on research projects, be "political" by reminding their parents about water issues, create an action plan for their own projects, and keep a log of their activities. Plus it includes inspiring stories about other kids.

O’Neill says that she generally doesn’t believe in shielding children from harsh truths, but rather in explaining them in age appropriate ways. Make a Splash! manages to explain issues like oil spills and climate change to kids without being too saccharine or too scary. If you’re wondering how to address water issues with your kids, this book is a great resource.

Bonus: O’Neill’s five-year-old son interviewed Cousteau in this adorable video:

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