Raising Environmental Awareness: Talking to Kids about the Gulf Oil Spill

Like many children, my boys are nature lovers. My garage houses their vast collections of rocks, sticks, pine cones, and leaves - not to mention bugs (now dead). They are budding naturalists - and see no reason why they shouldn't  pee outdoors if that's where they are when the urge hits them. (We're working on this.) Each month, they eagerly await the arrival of their subscription to "My Big Backyard" and "Ranger Rick,"  both published by the National Wildlife Federation. In school, they are each learning about the importance of respecting and protecting our environment. My kindergartner put everything in the recycling bin and is urging us to begin composting. My second grader turns off the shower when he shampoos his hair, and thinks that he should refrain from superfluous handwashing. (His idea of superfluous and mine differ.)

So it is especially difficult when they discover that their precious environment is in peril. The recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been an upsetting subject for them. As a parent, I am always challenged to discuss current events with my children in a way that is age-appropriate and sensitive, and doesn''t serve to increase their anxieties about the many things in the world that are outside of their control. To that end, I want to share with you a link to help you discuss the gulf oil spill with your children. Ranger Rick Article Hopefully, you will find this to be a useful resource in provoking thoughtful discussion of environmental issues. -- Laura