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NOW CLOSED Universal Children's Day: Why in the UK are we less optimistic about global issues than developing countries - share your views - you could win a £100 voucher

(108 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 18-Nov-13 12:04:41

Mumsnet are working closely with Unilever (now a member of our family friendly programme!) to provide opinion on a number of sustainability projects.

On Monday we asked whether your children inspired you to live more sustainably? Thanks for all the responses.

And today (Wednesday) Unilever say "Today is Universal Childrens Day and research from Unilever Project Sunlight reveals that 6 in 10 children are worried about global issues, but in spite of this remain twice as optimistic about the future than their parents. In fact, UK parents were less optimistic than those in developing countries"

So the additional question today is why do you think we are less optimistic in the UK?

Let us know on this thread your views on both questions and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £100 Sainsbury's voucher.

Thanks and good luck

MNHQ

CTay3 Mon 18-Nov-13 15:45:15

My son's school has 'green warriors' and the school encourages green initiatives with a number of theme weeks such as walk to school week. So he learns about green issues at school, which he then polices at home, turning off the tap while brushing his teeth or questioning which bin to put the rubbish in.

We recycle a lot and if I forget or go to put anything in the bin that could be recycled or composted ds reminds me grin I used to be a recycling officer when I was in school but we didn't do half the recycling that happens now

Preciousbane Mon 18-Nov-13 16:12:34

DS was on the school Eco committee at his primary school, he had to make a short speech and they got involved with lots of initiatives in the school. In secondary school the eco stuff is under the general umbrella of school council which he managed to get voted on to again.

He is always reminding his Dad to switch lights off.

gretagrape Mon 18-Nov-13 16:21:54

We are digging a plot of our garden up to grow some organic fruit and veg next year, we always choose British meat/fruit/veg over imported where available and use the local Pick Your Own farm in the summer.

We recycle, but most importantly we try to cut down on the waste coming INTO the house in the first place.

We buy secondhand goods - toys, books, clothes, furniture - so not creating more demand for cheap tat from China, and always choose natural materials over man-made.

And I try not to buy overpriced branded goods made on the cheap by multinational corporations who put a squeeze on competition by owning brands in every market sector.........

bestbefore Mon 18-Nov-13 16:29:04

I also recycle a lot more now....council does make it easier but I guess with children we also consume more and therefore have more waste now especially wine bottles

I hate toys with too much packaging

I use my own bags in the supermarket <polishes halo> - am on a challenge with myself and those "bags for life".

Yiska Mon 18-Nov-13 16:40:53

My DS was on the Green team and lots of initiatives seemed to come through the school. He was really keen we joined in 'walk-to-school' and he keeps turning down the heating <brrrr>.

Hearing Eddie the Penguin Saves the World songs over and over again is pretty compelling reason to scream recycle more.

MaddAddam Mon 18-Nov-13 17:00:47

With one child we went to Australia and Hong Kong (lots of air miles), with two we went to Spain (still some air miles) but with 3 under 5 we just tottered weakly to the local park. So that was quite a dramatic drop in carbon emissions.

And now they're a bit older and we could travel well emotionally the cost of 5 flights in peak holiday time is a bit eye watering so we've embraced the local camping options with gusto. Another drop in emissions due to having children.

In general though I think having children give a serious motivation to conserving the planet for them and their children. I feel quite obliged to try and leave them a decent ecosystem.

Lurkymclurker Mon 18-Nov-13 17:13:24

Dd has given us time to do more of those one day things, we go camping more, we eat more home cooked foods with local produce and we recycle a lot more.

We also use a lot more of the traditional cleaning products like baking soda, lemons and elbow grease as I worry more about chemicals and her exposure to them.

I guess having a child makes you a lot more conscious of the choices you make and of your carbon footprint so we've certainly cut back on holidays abroad.

Having a child probably increases your water use so I'm conscious of getting DS to shower with me rather than having a separate bath every evening.

I buy frozen veg to cut back on what we waste / leave to rot in the veg drawer of the fridge. We recycle as much as we can and I'm keen to compost our food waste and grow our own herbs and veg.

I use a mooncup rather than creating sanitary waste and am toilet training DS to get him out of nappies asap. Small steps...

Fumnudge Mon 18-Nov-13 17:26:54

She definitely nags to recycle every last scrap but the vest thing we do us growing our own. This year it was tomatoes, strawberry, peas and lettuce, we're bracing corn on the cob next year!
The carrots were a disaster though!

clubnail Mon 18-Nov-13 17:35:51

We have always been green, and recycle everthing where possible. Having a child, we went down the reusable nappy route. The disposable nappies destined for landfill are catastrophic. Didn't want to be part of that. He was also out of nappies at 12 months inside, so only using them for trips out, maybe one a day up til 18 months. A huge saving for the planet.
We will grow our own veg and fruit as soon as we move house (new year, hopefully). We want to leave a better planet for our DC.

Kveta Mon 18-Nov-13 17:38:23

I'm not sure they have actually - we didn't use formula or pre-prepared baby food, but did use disposable nappies, and once DS arrived I couldn't commute via public transport anymore, so had to start using the car to get around. So I think on balance we didn't make a positive change there at all.

However, now I am not working, we try to walk everywhere, as I think it's good for all of us to get out in the fresh air, plus it wears the DC out. theoretically, anyway. I do cook much more from basic ingredients rather than ever relying on ready meals, but we rarely used ready meals pre-DC anyway. And we recycle more because the council has enabled us to do so.

Maybe we will be more eco-friendly as they get older, start sleeping, and we are less desperate just to survive from one day to the next?

BlackberrySeason Mon 18-Nov-13 18:24:07

Just by being born - thinking about wanting a non-polluted planet to hand on.

EauRouge Mon 18-Nov-13 18:43:12

I'm a keen gardener and I'm encouraging my DDs to join in so they can see how food is grown and harvested. I'm hoping that when we move we'll have a bit more land so that we can become semi-self-sufficient. DD1 has already said that her job is going to be looking after the ducks.

We also talk about not wasting water, electricity or other resources (loo roll being the main one that gets wasted) and they both know what goes in the compost and what goes in the recycling.

I was aware of all this before they were born but now that they're here, I do wonder how things will be for them when they grow up- which resources will be more scarce for example. I think skills like growing their own food and raising livestock could be very useful to them in the future.

Before ds1 was born we grew our own vegetables etc but not much more. After DS1 was born both dh and I really committed to living differently for the sake of our children, we want them to grow up respecting the planet, respecting what we eat and where it comes from and moving away from a consumerism culture. We now are very fortunate to live on a small holding so able to grow all our food and rear our own meat. We recycle everything possible, re-using what we can at home and then recycling other bits. We try to limit what we buy from shops. We make almost all our own food from scratch including bread, cheese, and more fun things like wine, cider etc. DH spends hours with the children teaching them what they can eat from the wild, and what other resources they can use for making things etc. We try to reflect these morals in most of what we do, for example most of our heat, hot water etc comes from a log burner; at Christmas we make the children's main presents out of recycled items, last year we made a full farm set and have made a rocking horse for example.
We love our way of life now, but do recognise we are extremely lucky to be able to live like we do.

milliemoon Mon 18-Nov-13 19:33:53

I recycle as much as I can now. When my son arrived we went from having about one black bag of rubbish a week to sometimes three or four. Recycling helps keep it down and it's good to think I'm doing my bit for the planet and my son's future!

I have to add nothing quite as lovely as ds choosing which vegetables to eat for dinner from his veg garden then us cooking them together. He eats everything, and also has a real respect for the meat we eat and the animals welfare.

gazzalw Mon 18-Nov-13 19:40:53

Our DCs have both been eco-warriors at primary school and the lessons they've learned at school have been brought home and reinforced by them. Having said that, we have a bit of a reduce/re-use/recycle mantra to the way we live our lives - I think our twenty-something selves would probably regard us as environmental 'nuts'. We find it addictive really - once the children learn to recycle and reduce energy waste as we do it becomes impossible not to adhere to the 3R rule!

VerySmallSqueak Mon 18-Nov-13 20:02:10

I think the arrival of the children has made me think more globally.

All this is not just to protect our childrens futures ,but also to try to protect the here and now for others on this planet.

I have definitely become more into wanting to spread the wealth and resources globally,and there's only enough to go round if we tackle our own greed and teach our kids to tread lightly.

Theimpossiblegirl Mon 18-Nov-13 20:45:46

Having children made me think beyond my own lifetime. We need to do more to care for the environment as the planet they are due to inherit is a bit of a state really.

The best way to teach kids is leading by example, so we recycle, try to combine journeys, monitor our energy usage and try to live non-wasteful lives.

We grow some of our own food and try to buy local produce when we can.

We also actively support charities such as Greenpeace.

It all seems so little though, when there is so much to be done and so few people even bother.

BitchinInTheKitchen Mon 18-Nov-13 21:29:40

I hated the thought of all the landfill a baby would generate so both of mine had washable nappies from birth rather than Pampers etc.

I always had some disposable ones in for emergencies but the washable ones were fantastic.

sharond101 Mon 18-Nov-13 21:35:21

My DS is only 18mo but since his arrival I have made a pledge to be a good example to him and now walk to the shops, take my own carrier bags and recycle everything where possible. He likes to touch buttons and switches so that helps in putting all the lights out. We are also saving money by going to baby boot sales and buying toys and clothes second hand.

Punkatheart Mon 18-Nov-13 23:15:08

To watch my little girl's joy digging up our teeny-tiny potatoes is a gorgeous memory. She is older now and I have less energy for growing food - but I do grow herbs.

nobalance Tue 19-Nov-13 07:52:04

Them being here reminds us of the need to preserve our planet, for our children and their childrens' children...

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