A More Sustainable Lifestyle – By Kids

The ultimate solution to humanity’s numerous environmental problems is to develop a culture of sustainability.  A model for how to better incorporate sustainable practices in to our lives is now coming from an unexpected source – children.  Children involved in a sustainability program in Maryland are getting dressed in the dark, turning of the water faucet when brushing their teeth, and turning of their various electronic devices at night to save power.

These students are being educated in schools that impact the Chesapeake Bay, a watershed burdened by enourmous levels of pollution.  The Chesapeake Bay Program is seeking to remedy this pollution, in part, by introducing sustainable practices in schools and by teaching children how to become environmental stewards.  This program is known as the “Maryland Green Schools” program.

The introduction of sustainable practices and education in the 120 schools participating in Maryland Green Schools provide indications of the significant impact small individual changes can make on broad environmental issues.  From 2015-2017, these schools conserved more than 700k gallons of water and reduced energy consumption by 7 million kilowatt hours.  As a comparison, small changes to daily habits in 120 schools resulted in the emissions equivalent of removing 1,116 cars from the road each year.

While the program is focused on reducing polution and creating future environmental stewards, I think this article shows the vast power an individual can have when they make minor changes.  Children from 120 schools significantly reduced air pollution, energy use, water pollution, and conserved an incredible amount of water by chosing to slash wasteful usage of resource.  If everyone in the United States acted as consciously about their energy and water consumption, then we could collectively contribute to a better environment while creating a better future for ourselves.

Environmental problems can often seem beyond the scope of an individual’s ability to change, and often involve large-scale actors.  We cannot allow these feelings to prevent us from engaging with the problem.  Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem, take a page from a few Maryland children and make whatever life changes you can to reduce your impact.