* Encourage your teenager to volunteer with local environmental groups. That way they will get terrific hands-on experience with real environmental issues and other concerned citizens as well as making a real difference. You may also suggest that they get involved with local community clean-up efforts or a community garden.
* Participate side by side with them and set a good example. See if you can get the whole family (or at least another family member) to get involved in community volunteer projects.
* Consider some eco-friendly projects, such as getting them to sew and decorate his or her own cloth tote.
* Help them grow some of his or her own food. Set aside a plot of your yard, make a vegetable garden box, or use containers.
* Encourage your teen to participate in day-to-day decisions and activities. For example, let your teen plan an eco-friendly meal. He or she can plan the menu and shop for the necessary groceries. This can be an eye-opener as well – your teen can get a realistic view of what goes into eating green.
* Instill green habits in your household, and be sure to say why you have such habits. For example, teach your teenager about water conservation and its importance by limiting shower time or setting up a rain barrel. Try to make sure the whole family participates – if your family limits time spent in the shower, for example, make sure that everyone abides by the rule.
* Design an eco-friendly bedroom together with your teenager. Teenagers love to have their own space, and will be likely to get on board with a green philosophy if it involves creating their own personalized area. Furnish the room with second-hand furniture (consider a DIY furniture refurbishing project), paint the walls with eco-friendly paint, and use energy-efficient lighting. Taking safety into consideration, see about using candles in hurricane shades or in wall sconces for lighting.
* Check out “green teen” websites. There are many sites that are dedicated to informing teenagers of green issues.
– Ecosalon.com covers eco-friendly approaches to fashion, food, and personal care. It has advice and news articles to keep them informed and help him or her discover and develop his or her green lifestyle.
– Earth911.com covers news and emphasizes recycling. You can search Earth911 for recycling centers near you.
– TheDailyGreen.com calls itself “the consumer’s guide to the green revolution.” More than just a news site, The Daily Green offers practical tips on how to get started going green.
For additional teen-oriented sites about going green, do an internet search for “green teen websites.” After looking at these examples, perhaps you may want to encourage your teen to start his or her own green site.
We hope that Teaching Green Values To Your Teens helps both you and your teen live a more fulfilling green lifestyle!