Our Throwaway Culture - raising kids to consume wisely
A must-have parenting book full of fun activities, humour, beautiful pictures & stories of children who are changing the world
Our Throwaway Culture
This is the first in a series of beautiful how-to publications on raising young children (under 10) 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 is focused on our disposable, wasteful culture, with a focus on single-use plastic.
With easy, fun activities throughout to engage children 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. It covers everything you need to know about our disposable lifestyles and how to make changes at home that work for you and your family. With inspired design, humour and beautiful pictures, it draws 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, informed children who understand the importance of safeguarding the natural world and how our consumption affects communities around the world. Who has learned that living in line with values of compassion, fairness and a sense of personal responsibility can contribute to higher self-esteem and happiness. You will be guided on how to make changes at home, that small changes matter and that leading by example is very powerful to young children.
Critically, 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 live. The book 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. There are many more.
‘Our Throwaway Culture’ walks 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. This is about getting a head start in life and learning the basics of speaking up and speaking out by furnishing children with creative and effective tools to challenge the status quo. Along the way they will learn new skills, make new friends, broaden their horizons and have fun.
Above all, this is a book of passion, optimism and agency. If we raise the next generation to consume wisely, the quality of their lives and of others’ around the world will be immeasurably better. It is about showing our children how to take control of their own futures and remembering that parents are the most influential role models children have in their young lives.
If you have this book, you’ve got it covered.
Why a book for parents?
Parents are a largely untapped but powerful resource for tackling the biggest social and environmental challenges of our time. They are concerned about their children being happy in an increasingly interconnected, online world dominated by clever marketing and exploitative business practices.
Parents, I think especially those with young children, are also time-poor and 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 entirely accessible to those with limited or no knowledge of environmental sustainability, corporate social responsibility and consumerism. Underlying themes of public health, ethics, child safety and well-being and community empowerment will resonate with all parents regardless of income, cultural background or geographic location.
I’ve chosen to print the book rather than produce an electronic version because when we read print we pause to consider, we bookmark, we revisit and we annotate. The printed page is free from hyperlinked distractions. In our fast world, it’s slow media. Take your time with this book, dip in and out, no pressure, no hurry. The topic deserves deliberation. And is to be enjoyed.
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, gender stereotyping and child labour, ethical investment, web addiction 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, printing, packing and delivery within the UK of publications plus childcare costs to finish writing the book. (Delivery overseas is possible but will incur additional costs). Funds do not include the author's time or any of the marketing.
The printing company I have chosen has spent more than twenty years striving to be a more responsible business. They have won multiple awards for their efforts in creating a completely waterless printing process that uses inks free of harsh chemicals. They use 100% recycled paper, 100% renewable energy and send absolutely nothing to landfill - if employees bring crisps to work they have to take the non-recyclable packaging home with them. Selecting the right printing company has been an important part of this project and means even more to the next generation, who need us to try to make better choices.
About the author
I am a mother of two children under 5, based in Scotland and I have a professional background in sustainability, research and journalism.
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, about the resources that go into the things we throw away, the consequences of our disposable culture, and how to teach her the importance of standing up for what you believe in.
I started researching 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.
If you have any questions, please get in touch.
Risks and challenges
I have already secured a graphic designer and a printer who are ready to get to work once I have completed the book.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)