If you have young children that are living with you, kids that have been introduced to the topic of climate change, you might have to explain to them what this actually means, especially if it is part of an assignment. Climate change is a very popular topic, one that has been discussed in depth for several decades, going all the way back to Vice President Al Gore making his famous speeches about the problems that were to come. Although he was not taken seriously back then, the reality that he was describing is occurring right now, and is a topic of interest with both adults and children. Here are a few ways that you can explain climate change to your kids using the following ideas.
What Is Climate Change?
By definition, our climate is representative of the weather conditions that we have around the world. Climate change is referencing both regional and global changes in our climate, a problem that has become worse in recent years due to too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This excess CO2 can increase the temperature of the world not only above ground, but also in the oceans, leading to significant changes in weather patterns. When the climate changes abruptly, it not only becomes more difficult to predict things like the weather and seasonal patterns, but it can lead to significant changes that can affect freshwater supplies, our forests, rainfall amounts, and lead to fires and droughts. You will want to begin with something very simple when you start to discuss this topic with your children using simple concepts related to nature.
Where To Begin
The topic of climate change is often introduced to elementary school children by the third or fourth grade, and age where they are moving past simple concepts and can now conceptualize much more complex topics. Climate change is often introduced while kids are learning about the water cycle, and how important it is for our environment to always be balanced. You could begin with how nature needs to be balanced at all times in order to have seasons, something that all people rely upon. This is especially true for farmers that need to have consistency when they are getting ready to plant, and subsequently harvest, allowing food to be grown. If kids are older, you might want to jump right into the topic of global warming, something that they may discuss in their classroom when talking about current events. Whether you start with how nature needs balance, or the concept of global warming, both of these topics can segue nicely into the problems that are caused when nature is not in balance.
Start Discussing Problems Caused By Climate Change
Once they have an understanding of how important it is to have balance in nature, you need to discuss the problems that can occur. You can point to a multitude of different articles that are regularly discussed such as crop failures, destructive storms, areas that receive little to no water, and also how climate change is causing the oceans to rise. Once they are aware of some of the larger problems that are occurring right now, problems that are consistently getting worse, they may start to see how important it is to maintain a proper climate in order to avoid what can be catastrophic changes that lead to disaster. This will allow you to move into potential solutions for the climate change problem that we are currently experiencing, specifically addressing how to stop or even reverse global warming.
Provide Them With Potential Solutions
At this point, the children will realize that something needs to be done about climate change, and you can then provide some possible solutions. By identifying what is causing climate change, specifically the increase in CO2 gases which is leading to a greenhouse effect, the key to solving the problem is diminishing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere every year. This will start to lower the overall temperature of the planet, and in doing so, all of the problems that are occurring due to the higher temperatures will begin to not be as bad. You can discuss how to reduce the release of greenhouse gases, many of which are produced by mankind and also the melting of permafrost at higher latitudes. You could discuss how trees absorb carbon dioxide, just like humans breathe, and by planting more trees this could help the situation. Finally, you could then discuss using more environmentally friendly forms of energy including solar power and electricity produced by windmills. This would reduce the amount of carbon monoxide that is produced by automobiles and factories, helping to lower overall global temperatures.
The answers that you provide your children may easily be understood if they are older, however younger kids may only be able to conceptualize the more simplistic solutions such as the planting of trees. Either way, by introducing what climate change is, presenting the problems that it is causing, along with the solutions, you can make kids more environmentally conscious. The children of today will be the adults of tomorrow, and by helping them understand how important things like recycling, using alternative fuel, and planting trees are, you can prepare them to help restore our world in the future.