CLIMATE EMERGENCY is the responsibility of all of us, BUT creating a relationship for our caring for our planet has to start with our youth! And I have a simple relatively cheap solution for how to teach our youth to care for the environment — outlined below.
When I was a child growing up in the 1960’s & 70’s Earth Day was introduced. On Earth Day, my school was excused for the second half of the day to suit up, with gloves and trash bags, and sent out to COLLECT TRASH!
Honestly, as a kid, at first, I thought this sounded like punishment and not like education. BUT because it was required (and we were graded on our efforts) I did it. PLUS there was incentive: local legislators had hidden dollar bills in empty water bottles- and so as we were picking up the detritus of CARELESS and THOUGHTLESS ADULTS we were also looking for a reward.
I myself NEVER found one of these dollar bills, BUT what I did find was a lifetime of value in caring for the environment, as well as the satisfaction and gratification of creating a tangible difference to the neighborhood around me, and the benefits of establishing a sense of community and collaboration that has lasted for my entire life. These are qualities and lessons that are all hard to establish in urban environments– and yet they are the most important for city kids.
This is the second Project Idea that I am submitting. My first project was adding Trash Bins along Ocean Parkway, but that project really grew from, because every day that I see the trash the large amount of careless trash, garbage and litter so carelessly along the parkway (and in Prospect Park too) I realize how these polluters have no connection or awareness to their environment they are using and abusing: they do not see the value in preserving the beauty, health and integrity of the park life that we all share (much less the planet) and they also do not see how this type of thoughtlessness impacts everyone– themselves included.
How can we hope to save the planet on a macro level if we don’t educate our citizens to care about their environment on a micro level.
PS: MORE TRASH BINS in Prospect Park wouldn’t hurt- the park on a Monday morning after a weekend of activity is RIPE with garbage and RATS!
Thank you for your time and consideration.