With COP26 being hosted in the UK this year, it was more evident than ever that young people are extremely passionate about the world around them and want to do everything they can to prevent further global environmental damage.
To celebrate Earth Day 2022, we are looking at how you can foster young people’s passion for the environment and encourage them to get involved in social action.
We have all heard of the 3 Rs when it comes to the environment: reduce, reuse and recycle but Earth Day 2022 are encouraging us to go further and use 6 Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle, remove, refuse and rally. Could your students get involved in lobbying the local council to remove single use plastics in school? Or encourage other pupils to use a refillable water bottle in school? How about organizing a litter pick with help from the local council?
With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year, why not get involved in The Queen’s Green Canopy: plant a tree for the Jubilee. The Woodland Trust are offering free trees for planting on school grounds or in the local community. Click here for more details.
One of the key phrases for Earth Day 2022 is ‘Everyone Can Make A Difference’ and there are a numerous ways that we can make a difference individually. Here are some examples:
· Eat plant-based meals at least once a week
· Plan meals with your family so you only buy what you need and help to prevent food waste
· Buy locally to lower your carbon footprint
· Donate any unwanted clothes, toys, books or furniture to local charities
· Turn off lights when you’re leaving a room
· Save water by turning off the tap when cleaning your teeth and have a shower instead of taking a bath
· Walk or cycle to school and use public transport whenever possible
· Stop using single-use plastics
These are just a few examples. Why not challenge young people to come up with their own lists of how we can make a difference to the environment.
Getting out in the fresh air is great for everyone’s mental and physical health. Why not combine a love for the great outdoors with helping the environment.
Encourage your local wildlife by planting bee bombs to create a wildflower haven for bees and other insects or build bug hotels and hedgehog houses and create new habitats for our native species.
If you have the space, set up a compost heap in your garden or school grounds - it’s a great way to reuse your garden and food waste.
Do you have a Gardening club at school or in the local community that would welcome young people as members? Fruit and vegetables grown could then be given to the school kitchens for use in recipes for school lunches. Once established, the pupils could devise recipes with the kitchen staff and plant produce specifically for purpose. This is a great way to build teamwork and communication skills as well as encouraging determination, resilience and patience whilst waiting for the produce to grow!
You can sign up to be updated on this year's Earth Day at earthday.org and join the one billion participants.
Our Young Leaders Award is centred around partaking in social action in local communities, and helping to provide these practical opportunities. Experiential learning is key to character development and social awareness as kids grow up. Interested in what the YLA has to offer? Try out our free resource packs, available to download here.