Sustainability should be something that is on everyone’s mind, no matter how old we are, how many offspring we have for the future or how much time we have left with the Earth. If sustainability issues, commonly called green initiatives, are not addressed, there will be nothing left for anyone’s future. The issues need to be addressed by everyone if we, as a society, will be able to turn around global warming.
Educating The Elderly About Sustainability
Green education for the elderly should be kept to a smaller scale. Elderly people are not going to add solar or wind to their homes because they may not keep their homes long enough to see the profits. They are not going to participate in forcing big companies to go green because those campaigns sometimes require years of hard work. The elderly population needs tasks that are simple and provide shorter-term solutions.
One of the biggest avenues for educating the elderly about sustainability is recycling. If everyone recycled their trash, we could save millions of pounds of trash filling the landfills every year. The elderly can recycle plastics, glass and other materials. It is a solution that they can participate in right now, and it is a solution that provides short term benefits that the elderly can witness firsthand.
How do we reach out to the elderly, however? How do you properly educate them on the realities of recycling? We want to make sure to reach as many people as possible, and we want to make sure their efforts are tangible. We can begin in assisted living centers and in local neighborhoods. Assisted living centers should be holding classes for all interested residents concerning sustainability and what the residents can do to be sustainable today. These classes would cover recycling. Local communities need to reach out into the elderly population by holding events at local clubs, such as the Elks Club, the library or the town center. When these events are created to be open to the public, the elderly are very likely to join.
The courses taught at such centers or facilities should review what the elderly can recycle, how it can be recycled and why it should matter to them. Those who have offspring are reached most easily; of course they want to provide a place for their loved ones when they are gone. These courses need to be very clear as to why anyone should bother with recycling if they hope to get elderly folks in the habit. Instructors of these courses should be knowledgeable about the habits and abilities of the elderly, and should be holders of certain certifications or degrees, such as a masters in aging.
Manufacturers also need to step up and help educate the elderly on sustainability. They can do this by making it far more evident when their product is made from recycled materials. The wording needs to be bigger so the elderly can see that their recycling efforts are paying off. The recycling facilities can also work with manufacturers who provide products for the elderly then figure out how to use recycled products to serve the elderly. This would give people something tangible to witness in return for their recycling efforts.
The elderly are very intelligent but are used to moving through their day in a set routine. It may take extra effort for them to rinse out a juice bottle and set it aside for recycling, so it is important to show them why they should recycle and what happens when they do recycle. The future elderly may already be in the habit of recycling, but if we all work together, we could create a society of present day elderly people who are also in the habit. Sustainability needs to be taught and practiced by everyone if it is to be successful.