I can’t recall the first time I learned about recycling or being eco-friendly. Much like today’s upcoming generations, reducing, reusing and recycling has become an integrated and assumed part of everyday life. It’s just something we do.
This past weekend I volunteered with EcoCaledon at Caledon Day. It had never quite dawned on me until that moment how important the practice of recycling was. As I ran a life size board game for children about being eco-friendly, I found myself stunned time and time again as children as young as four answered questions correctly about the environment. They were able to distinguish the difference of materials that go in compost, garbage or recycling. They answered questions about how much garbage Canadians produce per year and were easily able to name the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse and recycle). All the while, most parents watched in shock as their child answered questions that, some admitted, they didn’t even know the answer to themselves.
The main reason for this is the vast amount of education provided in schools today. From the minute children enter kindergarten, they are taught to separate their garbage from their recyclables. Some schools even have a compost program in place. Young children are taught about upholding their values as citizens of the world, about doing their share to ensure the earth stays clean and garbage production is kept to a minimum. It is great to see how simple it is to teach something like recycling to generations who will one day be leaders in this world. Perhaps they too, will be able to teach older generations the importance of reducing their impact on the earth.