Youths as the solution
By: Dodi Prananda
Many of us, even if our campus religious fellowships don’t involve high school students or younger children, come into contact regularly with them at our congregations, or through activities like tutoring, or caring for younger siblings; perhaps some of us even have children of our own. As we think about engaging our campuses, our neighborhoods, and our religious communities to take action against global warming, then, we might want to keep in mind that we not only need to educate and change the habits of ourselves and those older than us, but we also need to help teach the next generation to do so as well. Unfortunate as it may be, today’s youth are the ones who will be dealing with global warming in very tangible ways as soon as they are adults; hence teaching them about the situation sooner rather than later may not be a bad idea.
So for those of you involved in youth education, or interested in teaching youth in your congregation about global warming and possibly involving them in the Day of Prayer, you might want to check out the new youth edition of the companion guide to An Inconvenient Truth coming out April 10th. Designed for youth in grades 5-8, it’s quite a bit slimmer than the original volume but still contains many of the striking images and the key information about global warming. My guess is getting a 6th-grader to check out some of these photos may be a much easier task than getting them to sit and watch Al Gore for a couple hours. For other educational materials, you can also check out StopGlobalWarming’s classroom resources, which features a “Take Action” sheet with ideas for changes that students can encourage their families to make at home.
Save the Earth
Baby steps are the key to big change. There are lots of little ways to make a difference. Change the incandescent light bulbs in your home to compact fluorescent bulbs; ride your bike, carpool with friends or take public transit to school and work; shut off and unplug electrical equipment when it’s not being used are all ways to save energy and money. Need more ideas?
* Get educated! How much do you know about global warming? For a quick primer, check out Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (the book or movie), The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook by David de Rothschild or the many other books available at the Chicago Public Library.
* Get involved! There are lots of ways to make a difference in your community, from writing to local politicians to just organizing the teens in your neighborhood and talking about living a more sustainable lifestyle.
* Get empowered! Many of our day-to-day activities have a major impact on this planet we call Earth and some of the effects are as yet unknown. There is so much more to learn about our planet.
Check out some of the resources below for information about the climate crisis, going green and other ways you can save the planet.