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Nurturing a Sustainable Childhood

 Posted by on December 3, 2012
Dec 032012

Images from Worldwatch Europe's report

As a new parent, ensuring my child grows up as an ecowarrior and not a consumer has become a primary goal with every choice I make for my son—from what I feed him (breast milk) to how I dress him (used clothes and used cloth diapers) to what I teach him (is there a kid’s version of A People’s History of the United States?). So it was a wonderful opportunity to write the introduction to Worldwatch Europe’s new report, From Consumer Kids to Sustainable Childhood. The report is a valuable mix of:

  • current trends, like how kids in Europe spend 41.5 hours a week with media (TV, Internet, video games, radio)—more than the average European works;
  • case studies about parents grappling with consumerism;
  • a vision for what a childhood would look like if kids were raised not as consumers but as “guardians of sustainable living;”
  • and some concrete policies to get us to that vision.

While I won’t go into too much detail, I did want to point out a few exciting trends and examples.

1)      Did you know that half of Europeans families are choosing to have one child? That alone is a big step in making childhood more sustainable (considering how much ecological impact a child in a high-income country has) and gives me additional confidence in my choice of having “just one” child.

2)      There are 39,500 schools in Europe that have been awarded a “Green Flag,” meaning they’ve made a commitment to integrate environmental teachings into the curriculum and empower students to act to make their schools and communities better.

3)      According to the report, a ban on fast food advertising in Quebec led to a reduction of the number of fast food meals eaten by 22 million/year. Now we just need the rest of the world to follow suit.

So take a look at the report and watch the presentations from its launch, and if you’re a parent, guard your future ecowarriors from the henchmen of the consumer interests—at least until they’re old enough to defend themselves.

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  2. [...] love can get.) In a happy coincidence our partner Worldwatch Institute Europe produced a report on Sustainable Childhood that provides some ways to help ensure the next generation isn’t raised as consumers but as [...]

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