While some advocates believe that zero population is the way to save the planet, others believe that having children, and educating them properly, can be the key to solving our environmental woes. Despite evidence that the very act of having children creates more of a carbon footprint than any amount of biking-versus-driving will ever compensate for, many parents, teachers, and, well, optimists believe that if educated and trained properly, children just might be able to fix the problems with which we are leaving them.
A burgeoning movement is connecting children with nature, teachers are working to incorporate the environment into the classroom and educate children to be the environmental stewards of the future, and programs nationwide have been bringing gardening to children as a crucial step in ensuring the future health of our planet.
The planet is in dire straits, but all hope is not yet lost. And while some are advocating for human extinction, we are by no means there; we are here and are certainly--unfortunately--leaving our mark. But there is time to reverse some of the damage, if we start now, and if we don't forget to educate the future generation to do the same.
So, if you have kids of your own, or if you spend any time with kids that are not your own, teach them about the environment. Instill a respect for nature; visit a park and look in awe up at the trees. Smell some flowers. Talk to them about how important it is, and why, to minimize their waste or to turn off the lights, and to understand where their food comes from; read to them; and most importantly, remember that they learn by example. The less impact you leave on the earth, the easier (and better) they will learn to do the same.