First off, we found that pre-K kids know a lot! They know that they are connected to their home, Earth, and when asked the question, "What happens when we make bad choices about how to treat our Earth?" they respond with something as intense and true as, "The Earth dies!" So we stand in awe of the 4-year-old teachers who are the future environmental stewards of this planet. We read from Me and Green, and had students engage in an activity about reducing, reusing and recycling, and imagined what happens when 300 million people in our country alone choose NOT to do this!
We also connected with 5th-8th graders. What a remarkable experience to talk and work with kids who are already well on their way to understanding the impact their choices make on the Earth. St. Paul's School is already involved in the Green Cup Challenge where the students track energy and water use and report their findings on line. Our challenge to them: you are the ambassadors, the mentors and the role models for those who follow. We talked about this responsibility and how they can manage it well. They are on board. These kids are aware. They are living it. And in a 2 minute activity about why it is important to preserve our Earth for those who follow, they created charts with responses such as, "So that future generations may have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink," and "So that species of animals will not be extinct." These are the same kids that we sometimes stereotype as having no sense of anything other than texting and iPods.
We had similar experiences with the 2nd and 3rd graders, who were truly excited and involved in discussing and participating in activities related to green! Again, refreshing and empowering.
Me and Green was written to assist teachers, parents and children with understanding connections to this planet, Earth, and we are excited and privileged to be talking with kids about these connections, and working with them to expand their knowledge about how to take better care of her. Education is always the key to change. It is the most rewarding work we can do.