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Kids Can Help Their Parents Be Green
We all know kids say the darndest things. I’ve got two here right now that I am caring for while their mother, a friend, handles an emergency. Neither of the two boys, ages five and three, quite understand the meaning of the phrase “inside voice.” The three year old keeps chanting the word “cheeseburger” while he eats a banana.
But sometime kids say helpful things and according to a group of researchers at Imperial College London this means the lessons children learn about protecting the environment can be passed up to adults.
The entire study called “Child-orientated environmental education influences adult knowledge and household behaviour” is available online at IOP Science but can also be found in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
The study was conducted on Mahé Island in the Republic of Seychelles. Researchers say there is a strong history of environmental education there on Mahé, the largest island of the archipelago.
“School children in the Seychelles are fortunate to have a curriculum that emphasises the teaching of environmental concepts across a broad range of subjects," said lead author Peter Damerell of Imperial's Department of Life Sciences, "In addition, NGO-supported wildlife clubs are present within all education institutions and represent an opportunity to undertake more detailed and interactive activities than are possible within the classroom setting alone."
Mahé Island is home to an array of distinct flora including the critically endangered Medusagyne oppositifolia or "Jellyfish tree," an evergreen shrub endemic to the island.
For the purpose of the study the authors chose to focus on the degradation of freshwater habitats in the country's wetlands caused by litter, wetland reclamation, and household wastewater.
Fifteen wildlife clubs provided environmental education to primary and secondary school children. A select group of the children participated in a series of activities about the wetlands and the remaining children worked on alternative environmental topics.
In total over a hundred students and their parents were asked to answer questionnaires. The children’s surveys focused on wetland knowledge while the parents’ was about water usage, specifically how conscious they were about water shortages.
85% of the questionnaires were returned with enough information for the researchers to tabulate directly comparable knowledge scores for both parents and students. The surveys showed that when a child participated in wetland activities not only did it increase their parent's knowledge of the wetlands but the parents were more likely to conserve water if their child participated in the activities.
"By providing evidence that shows children can cause their parents to take up more environmental practices, we hope that many more studies will attempt to look at how much knowledge is transferred under different scenarios, and which pieces of information are most likely to change household practices," concluded Damerell.
Perhaps soon I will understand the innate “cheeseburgerness” of the banana.
1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.
1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.
2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.