As a parent, it is imperative to teach our kids about taking care of the planet. And we can do it in more ways than one. For instance, we can teach kids about composting and starting a vegetable garden from kitchen scraps. We can also practice eco-bricking and opt to give them homemade school lunch.
But how about when we are traveling? If you deem yourself an adventurer and fond of extreme sports, the chances are high that you will bring your kids with you. Luckily, there is no better place to teach them about sustainability than in the great outdoors. Here are 7 ways you can do it: Practice Mindful Packing
According to a 2014 study by Johnson & Johnson, over 552 million plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles end up in landfills. And this is in the United States alone. Meanwhile, tourists tend to generate twice as much waste as the locals. That's why it would be best to be mindful when packing. Nowadays, packing light is the "it" thing in travel. So much so that we buy shampoo and conditioners in small sachets. Some buy small bottles and fill them with shampoo and conditioner. But what happens after that?
More often than not, we throw the sachets and small plastic bottles away. That said, we suggest that you pack shampoo and conditioner bars for low-waste toiletries. Mind you, these bars are lightweight and work as much as your favorite brand of hair care products. The best part? The entire family can use a single shampoo bar. Hostel world provides a terrific framework for traveling in a waste conscious and sustainable manner, go check it out! Be Conscious of What You Eat
They say that the best way to learn about a country's culture is through food. However, ensure that you are not eating an endangered species.
For instance, the Bluefin Tuna is used in making sushi. But due to overfishing, the Bluefin Tuna population has been in decline since the past decade. Keep in mind that you can vote with your wallets to help save the planet. So, how can you teach your kids to practice ethical eating? Encourage plant-based diet at home. But if you love meat, ensure that it is sustainably and ethically sourced.
Vox has a terrific video outlining the impact food choice has on the planet, stating that nearly 25% of climate change is accounted for by the meat consumption process.
Respect the Wildlife and Their Habitat
If your kids love animals, you likely brought them to zoos. But what if we tell you that these adorable creatures suffer dismal lives?
In 2019, Natasha Daly revealed in a National Geographic post the dark side of wildlife tourism. Baby elephants wear spiked chains, bears used in circus are muzzled and chained, and tigers are drugged. This is to make them compliant and interact adorable to tourists. Suffice to say; you should not patronize these establishments.
Instead, take your kids on a hike, and let them discover different flora and faunas in their natural element. Just remember to teach that their hiking poles are meant to help them walk better and not for poking around.
Go for Slow Travel
Slow travel does not necessarily mean taking things slow. Instead, it is the practice of enjoying your journey. It is the antithesis of rushing from one place to another to tick everything off your bucket list. It can be something like visiting the less-crowded countryside and riding a bike to explore the place.
What's excellent about slow travel is that it is less exhausting for kids. It also allows them to understand the people and their culture better. And when your kids can make the most of their time in one place, it will enable them to build meaningful relationships. There are other benefits of slow travel for your children:
Time to Recover From Jet Lag
If you are traveling internationally, it can be challenging to adjust to new time zones. It is extra difficult for your children. With slow travel, they have the time to recover from the jet lag.
Deeper Cultural Appreciation
Staying for more extended periods in one place lets your kids learn about local cuisine, language, and make friends. That's because they have the time to be familiar with the neighborhood.
Make Memorable Experiences
Slow travel allows your children to make friends with the locals and live in the moment. This is also when you can try new things and expand your horizon. And because it allows you kids to be children of the world, imagine how whole their characters can become as they age.
Responsible and Sustainable Travel
Sticking to one destination means you do not need to book a flight or drive a car so often. Doing so lets you reduce your carbon footprint whenever you travel. After all, carbon offsetting can only do so much.
Whether you will eat out or explore a foreign country, there is always an opportunity to teach your children sustainability. Teaching your kids to be responsible travelers allows them to be compassionate people. Plus, they get to learn how they do their part in saving the environment.