WORLD VOICE: Climate Change – Through the Eyes of our Children

WORLD VOICE: Climate Change – Through the Eyes of our Children

IMG_1356 (2)This week, as I was catching up on news headlines, a notification appeared announcing the 80th birthday of David Suzuki. David Suzuki is one of the most recognized and respected environmental scientists and activists of our time. And, he is Canadian – something I am very proud of.  But when I shared this tidbit of information with my daughters, they didn’t share my enthusiasm. What I soon realized is that his name meant very little to them. How did this happen?

I remember being a child and thinking of David Suzuki as a homegrown hero. I would eventually study environmental science in university and graduate school, and then work as an environmental consultant. I think much of my career path was shaped by the Suzuki movement in Canada.

The very first fundraiser that I ever organized as a child was to save polar bears. Why were my daughters not feeling the same way? Sure, they love and respect nature, and spend their summer days exploring outdoors from dawn to dusk, but they were not nearly as passionate about environmental issues as I was when I was their age.

In response to this realization, I made a trip to our local bookstore and purchased a children’s book on climate change written by David Suzuki, himself. We then proceeded to hold mini-discussions within our family on various environmental issues. I have to admit, that I found it incredibly difficult. Climate change is scary. When you hear that a 2 degree Celsius change, in the global average temperature, can have devastating effects on the world in which we live, it underscores just how delicately balanced the earth really is.

Explaining this to young children is just as delicately balanced. How do you ensure they understand the severity of the issue, without making the situation terrifying and seemingly hopeless?

Through our discussions, my girls began to not only learn about the science behind climate change, but also about what they could do to limit their impact on the environment. They are becoming more and more passionate about environmental issues by the day. They now have countless ideas on how they can “help the environment”. One of their big concerns is parents idling cars in school pick-up zones. They plan on approaching their school to come up with a ban on idling, thereby reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It may be a small step, but it is a start. And, it allows school-aged children to not only have a direct part in reducing GHG emissions but also provides an avenue in which to have further climate change discussions at home, at school and within the community. I truly think that they understand the severity of climate change now, but their passion and commitment to change the future far outweighs their fear.

This all caused me to wonder how others, around the world, address the issue of climate change with their children.

Are there any resources or approaches that you use that others would benefit from knowing about?

This is an original post by Alison Fraser who is Founder and Director of Mom2Mom Africa.

Alison Fraser

Alison Fraser is the mother of three young girls ranging in age from 5 to 9 years old. She lives with her family in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. Alison works as an Environmental Toxicologist with a human environment consulting company and is an active member of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). She is also the founder and director of the Canadian Not for Profit Organization, Mom2Mom Africa, which serves to fund the school fees of children and young women in rural Tanzania. Recently recognized and awarded a "Women of Waterloo Region" award, Alison is very involved in charitable events within her community including Christmas Toy and School Backpack Drives for the local foodbank.

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USA: Wisdom from a Stranger

USA: Wisdom from a Stranger

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It’s been the kind of month in which the worn down clasp on my emotional baggage has popped open, spilling years of contents everywhere in disarray. I have been methodically working through the cleanup, but today, I felt the need to wander in nature for a mental health break.

I walked out the door with my furry companion, an amazing golden retriever who is the best dang dog who ever lived. Seriously, she’s awesome. I usually like to map out our adventures a bit more, but I didn’t have the reserves to make up my mind on where to go, so I decided to just leave the house and see where we would end up. (more…)

Tara Bergman (USA)

Tara is a native Pennsylvanian who moved to the Seattle area in 1998 (sight unseen) with her husband to start their grand life adventure together. Despite the difficult fact that their family is a plane ride away, the couple fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and have put down roots. They have 2 super charged little boys and recently moved out of the Seattle suburbs further east into the country, trading in a Starbucks on every corner for coyotes in the backyard. Tara loves the outdoors (hiking, biking, camping). And, when her family isn't out in nature, they are hunkered down at home with friends, sharing a meal, playing games, and generally having fun. She loves being a stay-at-home mom and sharing her experiences on World Moms Network!

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BRAZIL: On the Move, Part II – should we stay or should we go?

BRAZIL: On the Move, Part II – should we stay or should we go?

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This is the Part 2 of a two part post.  The first part is available here

We are thinking about moving.  Yesterday we visited two very nice houses at great prices and relatively close to where we live. I loved the first house in the sense that it has a practical, easy to clean design and would be great for the kids. However, there isn’t a single tree in the property! Also, it is completely exposed to neighbors and people in the street, which is something I do not like at all. The second house has lots of lovely trees, yet had an unpractical format that is not too child friendly. Among other things, it includes a high mezzanine that would be quite hard to keep the kids away from.

Basically, I would like to have the first house in the second house’s lot, which would be by the forest we live next to now!

Nevertheless, even though neither is perfect, either one of them would give us the chance to move and have a more organized, cozier home without undergoing the stress of home improvement projects. Plus, one of the advantages of moving – although it can also be a stress factor – is having a chance of reorganizing all of the stuff one has accumulated along the years and donating a bunch of items that are no longer necessary. Some even say that there are huge psychological benefits, as going through all that accumulated stuff can even stimulate the re-evaluation of an entire life and life style.

I believe the single greatest reason for staying, both for my husband and I, is the forest. I also like to think that living the way we do – with such close contact to the forest and all of its fauna and flora – will give our children a different perspective in life.

In his excellent book, Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience, Chinese geographer Yi-Fu Tuan discusses how one’s home and its architecture influences the perceptions of and relationship with the environment, comparing the case of China and the USA.

Another thing that bothers me is that the new owners of our house might not “take care” of the forest as we do. Of course we only “look after” a tiny piece of the forest right behind our house, but some of the animals have almost become part of the family. For example, there is a sloth that our daughter has named Melissa…but also the tiny squirrel that makes its chirping sounds early every morning, the tegus that live in a hole in our backyard, plus the humming birds, chameleons, possums, agoutis, and so many others!

The sad truth is that surprisingly, many of our neighbors don’t care much about the forest.  We often ask ourselves why they live here.  They place high walls between the forest and their properties. Sometimes they illegally cut down the closest trees out of fear that they may topple over their houses (even though rarely a professional is summoned to check if there is truth in that fear), or they clear the bushes and smaller trees because they believe it will ward away snakes. More than once we have patiently talked to people about these issues only to be repelled off angrily in a menacing tone.

On the other hand, I also worry about the possibility of an unhealthy attachment to the house itself on my part. I don’t think it is healthy to be overly attached to any object. I recently saw how difficult it was for my mother to move out of her huge and decaying house, even though she was living completely alone, widowed for the second time (and now the difficulty to sell or do something about it). Similarly, my mother-in-law lives alone with her eldest son in an old eight bedroom house which almost everyone in the family is extremely resistant to sell due to their childhood memories and attachments.

Thus the question remains. Should we remodel our house and make the best of it? Should we take the “simple” path and just move?  What have your experiences been with house remodeling and moving? Please share below!

This is part two of an original post to World Moms Blog by Ecoziva in Brazil.

Photo credit to the author.

Ecoziva (Brazil)

Eco, from the greek oikos means home; Ziva has many meanings and roots, including Hebrew (brilliance, light), Slovenian (goddess of life) and Sanskrit (blessing). In Brazil, where EcoZiva has lived for most of her life, giving birth is often termed “giving the light”; thus, she thought, a mother is “home to light” during the nine months of pregnancy, and so the penname EcoZiva came to be for World Moms Blog. Born in the USA in a multi-ethnic extended family, EcoZiva is married and the mother of two boys (aged 12 and three) and a five-year-old girl and a three yearboy. She is trained as a biologist and presently an university researcher/professor, but also a volunteer at the local environmental movement.

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MEXICO: Life Lessons at the Zoo

MEXICO: Life Lessons at the Zoo

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As a wife of one and a mom of four, it seems like I am always learning and discovering! I know I am not alone. Let’s just admit it: The world is a big place, life is a lesson, and children can be the best teachers.  Normally my series, Life Lessons with Mexico Mom,  is hosted on Los Gringos Locos, but today I am posting here on World Moms Blog.

Here are my insights and experiences as a Mexico Mom for this week, all taken from a family trip to our local zoo, Parque Zoológico Benito Juárez in Morelia:

Life Lesson 49: Flamingos look fake from a distance. When I spotted them I thought they couldn’t possibly be real. They were still as statues and their color is a vibrant peach. The flamingos were elegantly and perfectly formed. What a beautiful creation for us to enjoy! It turns out these birds were the real thing. Mommy was in awe over their beauty and I still am.

Life Lesson 50: I have no idea how to row a boat. I was the star of a real life comedy show called Mommy is Goofy. Just kidding… but I know that everyone who was watching must have had at least one laugh from my performance. We were going in circles for a while and when we started to move I hit at least three or four boats. I think we might have made it 50 feet before we had to turn around and come back to shore. All persons aboard survived.

Life Lesson 51: Petting a six month old tiger is amazing. We were able to do this along with our four kids. I think we were all in animal paradise. Her name is Esperanza which mean ‘hope’ in English. She was gorgeous and soft. Who would have known a tiger is soft! Esperanza is only six months old and her paws are the size of my hands. She was born in captivity and is well-cared for. She also has a hyena cub as a friend. They play tug of war and are quite a match for each other. Unforgettable!

BONUS – Life Lesson 52: Three grizzly bears standing eight feet tall is a sight to see. Their trainer was feeding them bread which apparently they love. But he would only throw a loaf when they stood tall. One of the loaves went into the water and the biggest bear went right in after it. What a cool ending to a wonderful family day at the Morelia Zoo in Michoacan, Mexico 🙂

What life lesson did you learn this past week? Please share it with us below. We want to hear your thoughts from around the world!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Tina Marie Ernspiker.  Tina can be found blogging over at Los Gringos Locos.  She is also on Facebook and Twitter.  

Photo credit to the author.

Tina Marie Ernspiker

Tina lives abroad in Mexico with her husband and four children. She is active with homeschool, travel, and her Bible ministry. Tina loves photography and writing thus she blogs. Come join her adventures!

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Washington, USA: Walking in the Woods

I had a wonderful Mother’s Day, being loved and cared for by my husband and sons. The day prior, I had been out to brunch and observed several multigenerational families getting a jumpstart on the holiday over pancakes. It reminded me of the nagging longing that I have felt for the past 14 years of living in the Pacific Northwest.

I love where I live, but I am a plane ride away from any blood relative. As someone who grew up in a big family and lived walking distance to my grandmother’s house, it is not something I have fully made peace with.

Part of me wished that I could be sitting around a table with my mother and grandmother at that moment. I decided to do what I always do when I need to mentally regroup. I went walking in the woods. (more…)

Tara Bergman (USA)

Tara is a native Pennsylvanian who moved to the Seattle area in 1998 (sight unseen) with her husband to start their grand life adventure together. Despite the difficult fact that their family is a plane ride away, the couple fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and have put down roots. They have 2 super charged little boys and recently moved out of the Seattle suburbs further east into the country, trading in a Starbucks on every corner for coyotes in the backyard. Tara loves the outdoors (hiking, biking, camping). And, when her family isn't out in nature, they are hunkered down at home with friends, sharing a meal, playing games, and generally having fun. She loves being a stay-at-home mom and sharing her experiences on World Moms Network!

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