I was inspired to write about this as my second blog entry of 2014 after reading an article in Healthy magazine about the real probabilities of a food crisis caused by the effects of extreme weather on food supply. The article puts forward at the very beginning that; “…global warming and our irresponsible eating habits could lead to food vanishing from the shops.” It suggests there’s a probability of our food supply being cut by 20% by 2050 if things continue the way they are now. Also, one Expert apparently claims that “the World’s chocolate will run out in 2020”! – Come on ladies, we can’t allow that to happen!

In addition to global warming being a factor, also insects are becoming more resilient to pesticides and destroying crops. Plus, with the World’s population becoming “bigger – and richer…it could mean common items become luxury”.

In this quote David Attenborough also puts across the stark reality of what could happen if we do not take action:

“It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural World will do it for us, and the natural World is doing it for us right now.”

So how does this relate to a successful “Family Team”? Everything that is in constant supply obviously needs to be replenished. If we continue to destroys the Earth’s capacity to provide us with supplies eventually the damage will be too great to repair within a lifetime and we’ll all have no choice but to face the damming effects this will cause. As Franklin D Roosevelt put’s forward; “A nations that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of the land purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” The World’s forests absorb carbon dioxide, the primary cause of global warming, whilst photosynthesizing to make their food. They also give out oxygen that is vital for human survival, as in addition to supporting cell respiration it is also crucial for our metabolism and immune system.

If we don’t take action against global warming as Sir David Attenborough predicts, the natural World takes action instead (and we’re all aware of the devastation this causes), and the resources that our children will need to create their own success will be in steady depletion. As Maslow put’s forward in his hierarchy of needs; “People are programmed to take care of lower order needs before higher order needs”. Therefore people who do survive the effects of global warming will be more focused on needs such a finding/ growing food, shelter and reproduction; not education, discovering their passion and achieving self-actualisation, that most of us wish for our children when they are born. It may not happen in our life-time, so let’s do our upmost not allow it happen it theirs either. If we want children to be able to achieve their full potential let’s not take away the resources that they and their children will need to use to create their own success. Most loving parents would do anything for their children’s well-being; so let’s begin by taking action against global warming so they can grow up in a sustainable and beautiful World.

If the thought of being greener has you thinking; life’s busy enough already, how can I possibly fit that in? – Let me tell you exactly how and show you how it will actually support your children’s holistic development.

The key areas of development are; physical, intellectual, linguist, social emotional and spiritual. I’m going to show you how that little bit of extra effort will support each one. For a start, the physical action of recycling obviously supports children’s physical development and will help give them a “be bothered”, instead of a “can’t be bothered” attitude to life. When taking a bag load of stuff to your local recycle centre, children love being given the task of putting everything in the correct recycle bin. As they are still growing this often involves them having to stretch up and move from bin to bin – a great way to support to their physical development.

There are several ways being greener can support intellectual development. Firstly by telling your children about why it is important to recycle. Children really appreciate being considered grown-up enough to be informed of the reason something they have to do is important. They also are much more will to do something when given a valid reason. Plus, have you considered how a cleaner, more oxygen rich environment alone will greatly support children’s intellectual development?

Getting things ready to go and be recycled this provides a great sorting activity for young children. They love to be included in doing the things that they see adults do. This also nurtures children’s sense of order as it helps them to compartmentalise what they are learning; thus allowing them to be open to further learning. So get your children telling you whether things need to go in paper, plastic, tin, or glass (NB they don’t have to come in contact with it to tell you that it’s glass!).

I’ve known of many very small children (10 – 18 months) to put their things in the bin because they don’t yet understand what the bin is for and they love the action of putting one object inside another; so why not give them the correct “items” to put in each recycle bin? – You’d be surprised at how quickly even very young children will learn which item goes in which bin!

This brings us to the next area of development, language. Well children will be learning lots of new vocabulary if you start to regularly get them involved in recycling. This also includes the colour of the glass (green, brown, clear), because they are required to go in separate recycle bins.

You may be thinking here, well I understand how recycling can support the first three areas of development; how does it support social, emotional and spiritual development? Let me tell you how.

Socially your child will have more confidence as they are more involved in everyday family life and this will contributes to their life skills and knowledge about the World around them. Most successful people will tell you that this is almost more important to holistic success (NB success in work, love and play), than any academic subject. Reason being it provides stability; people feel at ease when they know how things work, including society and its social values and expectations.

Emotionally it definitely helps to create a more stress-free environment both within the home and the surrounding community. This is because you are clearing out rubbish/ useless items that just create a build-up of clutter making the environment less relaxing and thus more stressful. You make think that a bit of clutter doesn’t bother you. Well subconsciously your mind doesn’t like it as it goes again logic (why keep rubbish?) and therefore disrupts your minds sense of order. It also, if not consciously, will subconsciously be added to the mental list of things to do. Have you ever felt more relaxed in a quality hotel? – That’s as much due to the lack of clutter as it is because things are done for you. It’s worth bearing in mind that the state of your home environment is a reflection of your state of mind. Even if you are a fairly organised person who lives in a disorderly environment; just think for a second how much more efficient you could be if you had an orderly home environment. You’d feel a lot calmer and more relaxed knowing you had a shorter to do list and that everything you needed could be located easily.

Another point to consider when thinking about recycling and emotional well-being is that people who put effort into things are happier and they achieve more because they get things done. When you put effort into doing something, no matter how small, it always makes you feel good, especially when it’s for a good cause, or if you’ve really had to motivate yourself. This will increase the feel good factor by creating a sense of pride. The effort you’ve made feels as good as the results you’ve achieved.

David Suzuki outlines the benefits of making effort to combat climate change: “Doing all we can to combat climate change comes with numerous benefits, from reducing pollution and associated health care cost to strengthening and diversifying the economy by shifting to renewable energy amongst other measures”.

Finally, recycling helps nurture children’s spiritual development because you and your children especially, will feel a sense of contribution that extends beyond the family as it also serves the wider community and the World. To me, part of spiritual development is looking beyond ourselves and seeing the “bigger picture” and how/where “we” fit in. Children love a sense of belonging and feeling that they have contributed towards a greater purpose, as it gives a sense of importance. Also, children encouraged to recycle will grow up being more considerate individuals as they have been encouraged to contribute towards a greater good and take care of things outside of themselves.

It’s also essentially contributing toward the survival of the species (which when you consider what Sir David Attenborough is saying, is very true) and believe it or not this subconsciously gives a feel of being valued and needed i.e. not rejected. This may seem extreme but our more basic instincts still have a profound effect over our well-being and it’s better to go with things than try to resist. It’s important for children to feel excepted in society as well as within the family, especially when they are at school where they spend large amounts of time away from the home environment.

Other ways to be “green” and support your “Family Team” is by eating seasonally from nature. – Yes it actually supports nature and your body (NB as it gives the right nutrients at the right time) to eat seasonally because things are in plenty when they are in season, and this also means it’s more cost effective! This is very supportive of physical, intellectual and emotional development. – Yes, food does affect a person’s mind and emotional state as much as it affects the body. Finally, try and walk whenever possible, as this not only provide great exercise but will further help reduce carbon emissions caused by car fumes.

In case you’re wondering whether the efforts of one “Family Team” can really make a difference, any environmental expert will tell you that it definitely will. I recycle as if the World depends on me too. – As Tesco’s say; “Every Little Helps”! So, I greatly encourage you to put the effort into being a “Green Family Team”! Smile