Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Future of Sustainbility

Last Friday I was invited to participate in an all-day conference/workshop at the campus where I teach. The day focused on how to incorporate issues of sustainability into the classroom. My classes are entirely focused on sustainability, so I wasn't worried how to change my current class. I did however get some great ideas for developing new courses related to sustainability and heard some wonderful ideas on how ANY course (math, history, english, biology) can incorporate issues of sustainability into their topics as well.
As we move into the future and population is continuing to rise, consumption is increasing, natural resources are declining, and the reality of global warming is setting in, the topic of sustainability is something that we can't leave for just the environmental science courses. We can't hope that our children will hear about sustainability in a class or two and be all set to be pioneers of the future. We need sustainability to built in to everything we teach, as teacher and as parents. Sustainability needs to be ingrained as a way of life, not as a chapter in a textbook.
Since I teach environmental  science for a living, I feel like I continuously intertwine lessons of sustainability into our everyday lives. Like why we can't have watermelon in December, why we compost, and why we can't buy that toy today. But some lessons seem too big, like global warming. Although I have talked to Finn about global warming, I haven't really delved into the grand reality of it. Those ideas just seem much too big and depressing for a five year old to take on. But at some point, that is a reality that he will have to learn about.... but for now, I will let him enjoy his innocence for a few more years.
If we want to pass our children and grandchildren a planet that can comfortably support them for generations to come, sustainability needs to become a way of life, and not just a vague notion. I am guilty of living un-sustainably at times (as I am sure we all are), but I am trying my best. We need to shift our way of living so that sustainability becomes natural, so it becomes the easy choice-- it shouldn't have to be hard work to keep our planet alive, should it? Our children use us as models and will likely make life choices based on how they were raised. Let's teach them to become stewards of the earth, to be kind to their neighbors, and to take care of one another.
How do you share messages about sustainability with your children or community? I am always game for some new ideas!

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1 comment:

  1. I bet that was a great workshop. Sustainability with little ones is tough, at least I find it tough. We do simple things around here like talk about why I picked up some garbage on our hike help keep Mother Earth clean was the answer. And we talk about empathy and respect for each other, animals and the planet.

    We grow as much of our food as we can, we make what we can, and sometimes we do without because it just doesn't feel right to buy something.

    Now that I have written all this, it really isn't that tough, but I guess I don't yet make to much of an effort to actually discuss too much of this with him, it is just the way we live. So you are right, we need to model a sustainable, conscious approach to life and our children will follow suit.