Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Love Surrounds Us: A Program on the UU Principles and Beloved Community for Grades K-1

Taking It Home: Caring for the Earth

"Brave Enough" Illustration by Nancy Meshkoff

Download the coloring sheet for "Brave Enough" (PDF). Make copies to give children to help them recall the story at home.

The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope. — Wendell Berry, 20th-century American poet and essayist

IN TODAY'S SESSION... the participants learned about the Unitarian Universalist Principle about caring for our planet. While all life shares this earth, human beings are the only ones who do things to destroy it and are also the only ones who can save it. We heard a story about Rachel Carson, one of the first environmental activists in America's history, and how she had to fight very hard for people to listen to her about how humans were hurting the environment.

EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Participants learned about pollution. Discuss what you know about your own area. Are there major pollution problems where you live? How do you feel about it? Is there something you can do to make it better?

EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Ask your child about their own habits around the house. What have they learned about the environment that will make them adjust some of their habits such as turning out lights or recycling paper and cans? How can they make sure the whole family has good environmentally friendly habits? Discuss with the entire family.

A Family Adventure. Many communities hold annual stream or river clean-ups. The American Rivers website will tell you where and when local efforts are planned. Arrange to have your entire family participate. After the clean-up day, discuss what the experience was like. How did everyone feel about the work? Were they surprised by the trash they found? Does it make them think about their own waste?

Family Discovery. Participants learned about a time in history when people in charge of companies did not fully comprehend the negative impact they made on the earth. Even individuals do not always realize how their day-to-day lives can have a negative impact on the environment. Go to the Nature website together and calculate your family's carbon footprint. Choose some ways you can all make less of a negative impact.

A Family Game. On the Environmental Protection Agency's website, find a number of kids' games including crossword puzzles and online games that help children learn about protecting the environment. What's Wrong with This Picture? invites the whole family to spot ways our everyday actions can harm the earth and suggests actions to take.

A Family Ritual. Make your walks count. Whether you are walking the dog or taking a family stroll after dinner, carry a waste bag with you and pick up garbage that you see along the way. Make sure you wear gloves when you pick up waste. Be sure to recycle and properly dispose of the items you find. Just for fun, keep a list of the things you find. After several months, you might be surprised by the unusual items people toss out their doors!