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Photo: Lingokids

The academic journal, Science, recently published a study that shows children today will live through three times as many climate disasters as their grandparents. With people around the world concerned about the current climate crisis, it’s more important than ever to have talks with your children about what global warming is and how to slow it down.

Helping Kids Understand the Climate Emergency
How do we help our children learn that they can take part in helping slow down climate change? We need to emphasize that small actions can lead to big changes.

First, it’s important to explain to them what climate change is and how it can negatively impact the earth, animals, plants, and our daily lives. This isn’t the easiest thing to do, since even as adults, we struggle to understand what climate change and global warming truly means. Conversations about energy sources and carbon dioxide emissions can be overwhelming to children. Instead, we need to talk about concepts and ideas that are familiar and relatable.

For example, you can talk about global warming in relation to how it affects polar bears. The glacial areas where polar bears live are melting away and getting too warm, making it harder for them to thrive. (The temperature has increased 1.9ºF in the past 100 years, according to NASA, and it will be 8.6ºF hotter by 2100.)

Another example is talking about the rise of ocean waters from the melting ice, which can affect coastal areas where people live or go on vacation. Or pollution occuring in the ocean because of people not recycling is another topic that can be talked about. There is so much trash in the oceans that it is making the animals and plants that live in it get sick. If we recycle, it can help with the amount of trash that enters our oceans.

There are lots of books that can help explain climate change and what we all can do to help. For example: Old Enough to Save the Planet or The Story of Climate Change are great options. You can also teach your children about young environmental activists like Greta Thunberg, who started the international movement #fridaysforfuture.

10 Steps Children and Their Parents Can Do to Help the Environment

Modeling behavior is key. Be the example to your children and show them one person can make a big difference with these easy to do examples:

  1. Turn off computers, televisions, and other devices when not in use.

  2. Save water by taking shorter showers and turning off the water when brushing your teeth.

  3. Use reusable food containers and water bottles at school instead of plastic ones that are used once and thrown away. Let your kids pick out their own special containers and bottles to pack for school.

  4. Turn off the lights after leaving a room. Open a window in the morning to let in colder air instead of turning on the a/c. During colder months, wear warmer clothing and pajamas instead of turning up the heater. Power plants emit a lot of air pollution, so cutting back our energy usage is important.

  5. Recycle. Make it a fun activity for kids by having different colored bins for the different items and make it part of their daily activities.

  6. Reuse. Find items in your recycling bins that can be repurposed for crafts or imaginative play.

  7. Walk or ride a bike instead of driving. It’s a great way to save on gas, get exercise and spend time as a family.

  8. Create a vegetable garden together to help everyone be more excited to eat more vegetables and less meat. #meatlessMonday

  9. Teach them to always put their trash in trash cans or recycling bins. Go for a walk in a neighborhood park or beach and pick up any trash you see! Make it a fun competition and see who can collect the most!

  10. Use cold water when washing laundry and hang dry your clothes instead of using the dryer to save energy.

Encourage your children to have these conversations with their classmates and teachers. Have them ask their teacher what they can do at school to help make it part of their daily activities. Always emphasize and praise that their small contributions can lead to big changes that are beneficial for our world.

How Can Lingokids Help Your Kids Understand the Climate Catastrophe
At Lingokids, we firmly believe that children learn by example. We want to make a difference and help you raise the children of the future. For example: improving upon their critical thinking about important issues like climate change or their creativity when it comes to thinking about how they can help their neighborhoods.

At Lingokids you can find entire in-game lessons that are focused on protecting the earth. Your child can enjoy games, songs, and traceables while learning about recycling and sustainable habits. Throughout the app, they can also learn about animals and ecosystems all over the world, from the North Pole to tropical rainforests.

By expanding children’s awareness of these environments at an early age, we can set the stage for conversations and then actions around protecting endangered animals and nature conservation.

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Photo: lisaclarke via Flickr

Right when we thought we’re saving the planet by switching from plastic bags to canvas or cotton tote bags, a study on grocery carrier bags conducted by the UK’s Environment Agency proves us wrong. Retailers started pushing tote bags as early as 2007 to promote sustainability, on the assumption that reusing the same bag can help curb customers’ carbon footprints. Some stores include a five or ten cent fee per plastic bag you use, just so we can be more environmentally conscious.

According to the study, the conventional plastic bags you see at grocery stores are made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and have the smallest per-use environmental impact. Cotton and canvas tote bags, by contrast, exhibited the highest and most severe global-warming potential by far since they require more resources (such as CO2) to produce and distribute. It said reusing a single plastic bag three times has the same environmental impact as using a cotton tote bag 393 times. Eek.

But what about the all those plastic bags in the oceans?

“The impact was considerably larger in categories such as acidification and aquatic & terrestrial ecotoxicity due to the energy used to produce cotton yarn and the fertilizers used during the growth of the cotton,” the study says. Yeah, leaching sucks.

To read more about this topic, check out Noah Dillon’s, of The Atlantic, take on this.

Are you on team plastic bag or team tote bag? Let us know in the comments below.



Helping Kids Cool the Earth

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A New Way for Parents to Volunteer   CooltheEarthpic

It’s not always easy to take action, even, or especially, against a looming global threat like climate change. Marin parents Carleen and Jeff Cullen saw “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2007 and couldn’t sit idly by, even though they realized how difficult it is for people to change. They brought their community together and Cool the Earth was born to take Bay Area global warming and environmental education to the K-8 schools, where kids become inspired to make a real difference.

Now every cool parent has the opportunity to bring Cool the Earth to their child’s school. You don’t need any teaching experience or climate change credentials to make this ready-to-run program work. All you need is a team of parent volunteers who love the energy of working with kids as much as you do. From there, Cool the Earth provides the materials and the fun.

It starts with a kick-off assembly, where parents, teachers, and kids can put their acting hats on, wearing Cool the Earth costumes and acting out earth-saving scenarios. On assembly day, students will receive Action Coupons, earning Cool the Earth trading cards for energy-saving actions they take with their families throughout the year. The program also entails monthly campus activities highlighting that require a total of 6-8 combined volunteer hours. To get involved, enroll through the Cool the Earth website.

—Renee M. Rutledge

Be Cool

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112It just got a bit easier to be green. Meet your friends in the fight to help our hot planet.

When Seattle mom Kristy Royce invited friends to watch Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth, the movie sparked conversation about global warming and what local families can do to lessen our impact. That initial chat stuck with Kirsten McCaa, who in 2007 joined with Royce to co-found, and now acts as Director. is chock full of facts, tips, and questions answered by the group’s scientific board of advisors. One family’s efforts are highlighted each week, and larger initiatives are introduced; founded Walking School Bus, a plan to facilitate walking instead of driving in the morning.

This Saturday, April 19, from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm. is sponsoring an Earth Day kickoff party at the Olympic Sculpture Park’s PACCAR Pavilion, 2901Western Ave. (Belltown). Stop by, meet the ladies and their kiddos, and learn strategies for reducing your family’s climate footprint. Junior can create a critter out of soil, play games, and listen to stories. Home energy kits will be available.

Local chapters connect in playgroups, moms night out groups, or book clubs. Chapters are going strong in West Seattle, Magnolia, and Greenwood. The group welcomes new members —join an existing group or learn more about starting a branch in your neighborhood.