By BeKura W. Shabazz
On May 30 at KinderCare in Chester, children gathered all around a big colorful alphabet carpet to learn their first lessons about climate change, why it is important to take care of the earth and what are some of the things that they can do to help keep our planet healthy.
Most of them acknowledged that they did not want a big stinky earth and that their parents make them clean up their messes at home, so why is this such a big problem for us adults to grasp hold to? Maybe we should look to the children for answers.
In a lesson about oceans, toddlers ages 2-4 admitted it is not a good thing to see trash in the oceans where they like to swim and have fun. They said, “Trash belongs in trash cans,” and they are right. When asked about smelly smells in the air and if that was a good thing, they all said the air was dirty! Wait, they are only toddlers and even they know our air is dirty. When asked, if this was a good thing, they all agreed “no” was the answer.
We then learned about trees and plants and how they keep our air clean for us, they were happy to be able to repot their own classroom plant and even more happy to learn that they would be responsible for taking care of their plant. If adults could be so enthused about taking care of the planet too.
Then we talked about summer, and they all loved summer, but said it’s hot outside and we need water. I asked, do you want clean water or dirty water? They all yelled clean!!! For some folks we know that asking for clean water has been nothing shy of being criminal, we are not too far behind here in Virginia.
I explained, “Did you know that the planet gets hot too, and that it is getting hotter and that is why we feel hotter when we go outside?” They said “no.” I said, “Do you know what hotter temperatures can do to our plants?” One little fella said, “It can [put] them on fire.” How cute, I replied, “No, but it can make them not grow, and you know what happens when our plants and flowers can’t grow? Our bees that we just studied can’t eat, and then we can get some of the foods we like to eat.” This made them unhappy. They didn’t want anything to happen to the bees. I then asked, “Well do you want to help save the bees and all these other things we talked about”? They all said yes! One little tot said she would help clean the earth by putting it in the bathtub! Some others said they would put trash in the trash cans. They all had ways to help; they all thought saving the planet was important.
They are ages 2-4. Now why can’t we be more like them and encourage our EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the current presidential administration to take after these children? The concept is easy. We need the planet to live and our children agree!