There is a growing awareness in Jamaica about the state of our environment and how our actions influence the impact of climate change in our country. We see the advertisements on television, billboards and social media. Reusable products and sustainable practices have been making an appearance in many major businesses, franchises and even being integrated in some schools. We still have a long way to go before we achieve our full potential as global citizens; practicing responsible consumption, conservation and sustainable living as we move towards a greener future. However, our true impact for the future begins with our children.
Empower the youth in your homes, schools and communities by first providing a living example. Stay open to teachable moments that provide the opportunity to engage in discussions about what they can do to help the environment and how to “Live Green”. Introducing them to concepts such as: the “Three R’s” (Reuse, Reduce, Recycle), responsible consumption, conservation, composting and recycling in their day to day activities puts the power of change right in the palm of their hands. If given a little encouragement, the youth are prone to provide us with awe-inspiring moments of clarity. Knowledge and first-hand experiences encourage them to recognize their role in the future of the environment and their ability to be Change Makers today.
Teach them to switch off the lights and appliances when not in use. Visit local farms and markets to show your children where the food they eat comes from, how it’s grown and encourage kids to help you find the fruits and veggies to bring home. Start a backyard garden for the whole family to get involved and grow fresh produce all year round. Organize clean up groups with friends and family to clear up beaches, parks and small communities. Use reusable water bottles and other reusable goods, instead of single use plastics. Find fun and creative uses for the plastics you have previously accumulated, for example, a plastic art/fashion show.
What they learn now will affect our country for years to come and what they can teach us through their experiences will shape our tomorrow. They will be able to approach decisions about the environment as well-informed and knowledgeable members of our community and country. By implementing these practices we can set in motion the difference we need to make in our lifestyles and cause a huge shift in our country. Laying the foundation for a cleaner, greener Jamaica for future generations.
Gina May Mair is a communications consultant specializing in creative development and brand strategy. For the last decade, she has committed her energy to combining her passions and professional pursuits. This process has given birth to GREENcamp, Jamaica’s first eco camp for children and Eat FRESH a service which sources local sustainable seafood.