I think it’s hard to get people, especially little ones, to care about climate change if they don’t see and feel the effects in their everyday life. However connecting people to their seasons and surroundings is one way to encourage action. For example, some might be happy that the winters are getting warmer. Who wants to freeze? A 60 degree day in December sounds heavenly! But not all of us feel that way. Sure, I like a nice day, but it also scares me. In fact, these warmer seasons is one reason why I felt impassioned about starting with site with Hannah. I used to dread winter but I’ve now learned to ski and am sad when the day is warm and the snow turns to slush. Building outdoor enjoyment into our lives (such as the lake in the summer and ski slopes in the winter) helps us notice when the Earth’s climate goes astray.
Celebrating the Solstice with children is another tradition that builds that relationship, so we’ve started doing a small non-religious ceremony every December 21st with our girls. It’s short and sweet (they are under 10, after all), but we hit the main points. We sit in a circle in a quiet room, read a book about the solstice and talk about why we’re thankful for the Earth and winter. No reason is too simple or small – hot chocolate, feeling cozy inside, snowmen, sledding! The list is endless. And what happens if those things go away because the climate changes? It causes us to care.
Here’s a page from the book I’ve borrowed from the library for next week. I encourage you to do something similar. Again, this is a ritual that can celebrated across/without religion in a very simple way. The main point is to teach your children well. For me, that goal includes raising future environmentalists. Plus, it’s another nice activity to do at home during this difficult time. – Rachel