(Photo Credit: germanborrillo via Compfight cc)
Today I’m welcoming Ovo Energy to the blog, for some brilliant tips on teaching children about renewable energy.
Over to Ovo….
Your children are growing up in a very different world to the one in which you were a child. They use computers as often as you used a pen or a pencil, their toys or entertainment are more likely to require a power source than yours did and they see solar panels and wind turbines on a regular basis. When they are adults, the world will have changed even more and they will be the ones who have to continue shaping it; this is why it’s important to help them to develop a sense of the importance of having a responsible attitude towards energy use.
Teach them the cost
It’s generally the case that a person will value something more when they understand the cost of replacing it or realise what life would be like without it. You can help your children to appreciate energy by showing them how much of it we use throughout the day; if you have an energy monitor in your home, you can use it to show the effect of running the dishwasher, for example. If you don’t have a monitor, your gas or electricity meter can also serve to show what you have used. Once they see how much each appliance uses, they are more likely to take some responsibility for their own energy use. In addition to this, you can explain how electricity prices have risen and how to reduce costs with simple daily actions.
Use and discuss renewables
You don’t need to have solar panels fitted to your property to give your family an appreciation of the benefits of renewable energy, although it’s a great idea to do that if you can. There are many small items that use renewable energy, such as porch lights or lights for the garden, which operate by drawing energy from the sun via photovoltaic cells. These are inexpensive, especially when you take into account the cost of replacing batteries over the lifetime of the light. There are also many opportunities to point out the use of renewable technology as you travel to and from school or the shops. Draw solar panels or wind turbines to their attention and talk about how they work. If you don’t understand them yourself, be honest about that and investigate them online with your child.
Choose a responsible energy provider
While you’re talking to your family about where energy comes from, it would be very useful if you could show them that your own household’s energy is ethically sourced. If you can’t get green energy from your current provider, it’s easy to change to one that will give you that choice and you can go onto their website to show your children what renewable methods are being used. They may be very surprised to discover that electricity can be generated by bio-waste from vegetable growing or even from animal waste as well as through solar panels, wind turbines and other methods.
There are a great many excellent books available to teach children of different age groups about renewable energy. Some are straightforward information books with pictures and explanations, but there are also fictionalised works to capture younger children’s imaginations. Ask at your local library for advice about the topic if you’d prefer not to buy the books. As well as these, there are a large number of videos and games online that will appeal to the children and help them to understand the issues and the methods concerned. There are even some fun activities involving home-made windmills or water traps that give children the complete hands-on experience of the power all around us.
By giving your children this kind of information early on in their lives, you are encouraging them to have a greater understanding of the importance of sustainability for the environment. It can only be a good thing if you help to raise a generation who care enough about the world around them to take steps to preserve it to the best of their ability.
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