Changing how we travel, recycling more and introducing vegetarianism into our lives are all aspects which young people are well aware of. If there are any who drive the topic of improved environmental policy, it is this group of people and we should be proud of their incredible engagement. The fact that children and young people want to make a positive difference is clear and it is therefore up to us as adults to support and help them in this mission.
In this blog post we will focus on how Gimi can help to contribute. It's about giving inspiration to UN's global goal nr. 12 - responsible consumption and production.
An introduction to understanding impact
The World Wildlife Fund WWF usually talks about 5 Bs which impact the environment and how we as individuals have the opportunity to make a positive change through our daily actions. These B's consist of the bike, the beef, the bedroom, the business and the buying - which deals with questions about how we transport ourselves, what we eat, how we live, where we put our savings and how we consume.
For a child, it can be difficult to influence things such as the family's transport, the housing situation or investments. Many children today have an increasing influence over the family's meals, but in the end, it is the parents who decide what is on the table and during the day it is usually the school who decide what is being served.
One thing that children and young people, on the other hand, have the opportunity to make their own decisions about is how and where they spend their weekly or monthly allowance. This is their opportunity to make active choices based on values, price and needs. To get more insights on this in particular you can read last week's blog post about how kids spend their money. In order to support the children in making wise and thoughtful decisions that benefit our planet, here are 5 tips.
- Alternative choices
The first tip is to watch VA SYDs short video together with your child, where they in less than two minutes describe how easy it is to make alternative choices to reduce negative climate impact. For example, not to buy new things just because it is a sale and to take doggy bag if you can't eat everything on the plate. Choices that not only benefit the environment but are also positive for the wallet or the Gimi card.
By opting out of unnecessary purchases and instead buying things that have a long shelf life, personal expenses are not as high and we do not have to consume the earth's resources by producing new goods.
- Need to have or want to have
It's easy for us to throw ourselves in terms like "I need a new bag" when we actually mean "I want a new bag". It may feel like a banal difference to us, but for a child it can be of utmost importance to make that difference clear. Need is something that you cannot live without while want is something that gold-plates our everyday lives.
Tip number two is therefore to give your child a fun exercise where they can write down the things they usually use on a regular day. It can be high and low; toothbrush, bus ticket, macaroni, headphones and desk lamp. Then divide these things between "want to use" and "need to use" and thus you challenge your child to think about what they actually need. For all things that end up in "want to use" your child should then come up with alternative solutions - is it possible to replace the bus ticket with a bicycle and can the desk lamp be replaced with a candle?
This exercise, as you see, does not focus so much on climate impact or economics, but rather on creating a creative mindset and becoming aware of the situation. However, awareness is often seen as the first step towards a positive change.
- Recycle and reuse
Using things you have had for a long time can feel a little tired and boring. Unnecessary consumption is therefore often based on the fact that we are fed up with our existing things and therefore seek a kick by acquiring new things. However, we do not need to buy new things to experience this kick, it is just as good to get it for free or create it.
Tip number three is therefore about making some fun of what already exists. For example, you can arrange a swap day with the child's friends where they can exchange things with each other instead of throwing them away and buying new. Another tip is to make existing things new. See for example when the influencer Melissa Fröhlich turns her old clothes into new ones and becomes super satisfied. Of course, you can also choose to buy "new-old" by shopping on secondhand via the net, for example Blocket and Tradera or in a physical store. Good for both your wallet and the environment.
- Choose good alternatives
Obviously refraining from buying and recycling is the best, but sometimes it is not possible. Maybe your child wants to tag along to a dinner with friends or maybe your child will go to play sports immediately after school and needs to buy snacks from the store.
The fourth tip is therefore ultimately about choosing an alternative that makes as little environmental impact as possible. For example, you can tell your child to choose a vegetarian burger instead of a meat burget or choose a smoothie from Rscued which is made of fruit that would otherwise be thrown away. To make the choices more motivating, you could opt to use an app such as Deedster where the whole family can compete against each other for who can reduce their footprint the most! Sounds fun right.
- Motivate creativity
Thinking creatively is perhaps the most important thing, therefore the last tip is to watch UNDP:s video with your child. As you’ll see, they inspire you to come up with your own ideas on how to reduce climate impact, something you could watch together as a family and turn into a competition. In the Gimi app we have added a whole menu of chores related to the environment and the climate, it’s really simple to set up a new climate chore every week so check it out now!
Consuming smartly for the environment usually also means that there is more money left in the savings pot - which I’m sure you will agree is something most children value very highly!