‘Our Throwaway Culture’ is the first in a series of beautiful how-to publications aimed at parents on raising children to take care of the natural world, their communities and themselves. To teach them one of the most important life skills there is – being a conscious consumer. This first instalment in the ‘Big Dreams, Little Footprints’ series looks at our disposable, wasteful culture, with a focus on single-use plastic.
With easy, fun activities throughout to engage children under 10 on waste, pollution and resourcefulness, you will learn all the key facts so you can offer simple answers to complex questions to satisfy your child’s enquiring mind. The publication takes you on a real family adventure, with inspired design, humour and beautiful pictures, drawing together the best initiatives, resources, ideas and educational tools from around the world.
This book may not change the world but it will almost certainly change you. I say this from experience. You’ll be taken on a journey by a parent who is determined to raise resilient children who understand the importance of safeguarding the natural world and treating others fairly and in doing so, learning what makes you happy. You will learn how to make changes at home, that small changes matter and that leading by example is very powerful to young children. That it’s about succeeding at life rather than in life, by living in line with values of kindness, fairness and a sense of personal responsibility. This book will leave you feeling optimistic about your children’s future because anything’s possible and even children, as you will see, have the power to change how we all live.
‘Our Throwaway Culture’ talks you through the basics of community-based and global activism so your child will grow up being able to both navigate and command a turbulent, uncertain world dominated by resource scarcity, a changing climate, poverty and conflict.
For inspiration, the series celebrates the passion, determination and achievements of children around the world who are protecting the environment and the communities they live in, by telling their stories. In this book there’s the 7-year-old in India giving powerpoint presentations to restaurants about plastic waste, the pre-teen sisters in Bali who almost went on hunger strike in order to meet the country’s Governor about a ban on plastic bags, the 5 year old who was told he might have ‘social integration’ issues if he carried on speaking up about beach litter in California.
This is about getting a head start in life by learning the basics of speaking up and speaking out by furnishing children with creative and effective tools to seek change and challenge the status quo. Along the way they will learn new skills, make new friends, broaden their horizons and have fun.
If you have this book, you’ve got it covered.
Why a book for parents?
Parents are a largely untapped but intensely rich resource for tackling the biggest social and environmental challenges of our time. Parents are worried about their children being happy in an increasingly interconnected, online world dominated by aggressive marketing and exploitative business practices.
Parents, perhaps especially those with very young children, are also time-poor and very weary and for the large part are not educators. This book is a no-nonsense guide combining both quick and easy, and more ambitious activities to do with your child. It also offers opportunities for both small-scale and larger changes you can make at home, at work and in your community. This book is a one-stop-shop – you need look no further for guidance on one of the most widely-discussed issues of 2018. The book is also accessible to those with limited or no knowledge of environmental sustainability, corporate social responsibility and consumerism. Underlying themes of public health, child safety and well-being and community empowerment will resonate with all parents regardless of income, cultural background or geographic location.
Future instalments will cover habitat destruction and the broken food system, hidden chemicals and pollution, online safety and mental health, toys and branding, biodiversity loss, climate change and air pollution, sustainable fashion and child labour, gender stereotyping, skills for the future, electronic gadgets and resource scarcity, fair trade, poverty and human rights, inter-cultural understanding and responsible tourism.
Where does the money go?
Funding will cover the design of the publication, website fees and childcare costs to finish writing the book, set up the website and establish a presence on social media.
Other funding sources
I am also applying for grants to fund this and future books in the series and I am still keen to print it for those (me!) who find it easier to have a physical ‘workbook’ to leaf through, be inspired by and to act on.
The bigger plan
My aim is to grow a mutually supportive online community around ‘Big Dreams, Little Footprints’ for sharing new ideas, successes, challenges. I would also like to establish regular online tutorials for individuals and theme-specific quarterly webinars for larger groups to support parents and educators in engaging children on environmentalism, consumerism and activism. Finally, if anyone is interested in getting involved in a Steering Group that will help shape the strategic direction of ‘Big Dreams, Little Footprints’, please do get in touch (email@example.com).
About the author
I live in Scotland and have a 1 year old son and 4 year old daughter. I have a professional background in sustainability, social responsibility and behaviour change but like most parents, I am not an educator. I decided to write a kind of manifesto for the sort of parent I wanted to be when I wasn’t sure how to talk to my 4 year old about having less stuff, thinking about the resources that go into the things we throw away, the consequences of our disposable culture, and teaching her the importance of standing up for change.
I started writing this book in early 2018 and see myself as the curator as much as the creator since the book draws on the ambitions and achievements of others from around the world. Given the very limited environmental education in schools across the UK, and there’s nothing on consumerism, I know that if I don’t equip my children to consume wisely, then no one else will.
I also have a background in research (BBC, think tank, UN) so everything in this publication is meticulously referenced.
For more of an insight into the book, here is a Q&A I did with parent blogger 'Motherhood: The Real Deal' in December 2018 - https://motherhoodtherealdeal.com/parenthood/teaching-children-about-sustainability
Risks and challenges
I have already secured a graphic designer for the book and foresee no challenges in meeting the June 2019 deadline for publication and website launch.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)