If you visit different parts of the world, you will see a big difference in the way people approach sustainability. A lot of this is due to how people are educated and the habits that they develop. These habits form what is “acceptable” or “unacceptable” in different societies. For example, in Singapore is known for enforcing severe fines of $1000 to $5000 for littering, and jail time for repeat offenders.
As a result of this enforcement, Singaporeans take care to dispose their waste ethically. Whereas in other societies, such as some areas of China, the environment suffers because people’s habits are destructive to the environment and it is generally accepted.
Making a difference starts at home.
It’s important to start educating children from a young age about the habits that they should be using and how it benefits the environment. Here are some actions you can start teaching at home.
Educate them on the benefits of sustainable lighting solutions.
It’s really important to get children to understand the impact that lighting has on the environment. Lighting is used everywhere and contributes significantly towards carbon emissions, if the energy for the lights are generated by burning fossil fuels.
Get children to practice the habit of turning off lights whenever they leave the room.
It’s a small action that will save energy.
But as they get older, they can encourage others to practice this habit in their working or social environment. There are some children that are taught that more energy is consumed if lights are turned on repetitively. This myth has been proven to be false, so encourage children to turn off lights from any rooms or space that aren’t in use from an early age.
Teach them the benefits of energy-efficient lighting.
Have them understand that there is eco-friendly technology available that can help the environment. There will be times when people’s poor habits won’t change. When this happens, they can suggest to use LED lights, which will minimise energy consumption by up to 60%.
Get them to understand green lighting design.
People use artificial lighting to illuminate dark spaces.
Spaces that are designed well will make the best use of solar lighting and efficient use of artificial lighting to illuminate dark areas. Show them how they can design the interior of their spaces to maximise the amount of light that comes into a space. They might need to use reflective objects such as mirrors, glass or metal ornaments.
Get them to practice living a minimalist lifestyle.
Less is often more and gives people peace of mind.
There are several advertising messages promoting people to have more when they should actually have less. The additional clutter in their lives leads them to dispose of more waste in the future.
By getting them to practice a minimalist lifestyle, they can get into the habit of consuming less, recycling more and purchasing items that provide ‘zero’ impact to the environment. For example, instead of purchasing packaged food, have them purchase fresh fruits and vegetables that are biodegradable. Get them to only purchase items that can be recycled again in the future.
Teach them how to prioritise solar energy, lighting and heating in their day to day lives.
When the weather gets cold, people tend to go and switch on the heater.
If interior spaces become dark, people quickly opt to turn on artificial lights. And when people need electricity, they will typically opt for the cheapest solution, which is often from the burning of fossil fuels. Encourage children to get into the habit of prioritising solar solutions ahead of non-solar solutions.
Teach them the benefits of recycling.
Have children understand the benefits of a zero-waste lifestyle and how recycling habits can benefit the environment. Children can then become accustomed to disposing their waste ethically by seeking out recyclable options before sending any waste to landfill.
The habits that children learn when they are young will be with them for an entire lifetime.
It’s important for them to practice these when they are young as they can implement and influence others to adopt better sustainable habits when they reach adulthood.