Five Ways You Can Teach Your Grandchildren About Sustainable Travel

by | Apr 23, 2024

a woman pointing to her grandchild in the forest to teach grandchildren about sustainable travel
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Featured image: Teaching our grandchildren about our shared Earth can start at a young age | Photo by Envato

What on Earth can we do, as grandparents?

by Kathy Buckworth

Every year when Earth Day rolls around, we are hyper conscious of cleaning up our neighbourhood parks, making sure our compost bins are filled, and we look for new ways to reduce, re-use and recycle, the basic tenets of environmentalism.

Just like kids are told “every day is Kids’ Day” when they ask why there isn’t an equivalent to Mother’s or Father’s Day, every day should really be Earth Day. While it’s great to pause and focus on April 22nd, and through the Earth Month of April, as grandparents and role models for many things, we need to make sure that our grandkids see us walking the talk, every day.

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Five things we can do as teachers and role models

Travel has its own environmental issues, of course, but if we travel, it is important to seek out sustainable and best practices in the countries we visit. Showing our grandkids how other cultures and industries work to retain as much of the earth’s balance as we feasibly can, will have long term impacts on their thinking and future travel plans.

A new survey reveals that 70% of Canadian travellers want to travel more sustainably over the next 12 months. In fact, 40% of them would actually feel guilty making less sustainable travel choices. We do believe it is the right thing to do. Now to act on it.

1. Walk instead of taking a car

Walking is in fact something we can do, instead of driving a car, while we talk about how great it is to be out in nature, and how we can preserve what we have today. When we travel, we can also encourage use of public transit rather than taxis.

2. Go on a hike or visit a local market

Taking the grandkids out on a hike can be easy and fun, no matter the age (of yourself and your grandkids). Check out trails in your area, or simply take a walk down the street to a neighbourhood park, or maybe down to a local Farmer’s Market. Supporting local farmers and suppliers is always a good idea, and showing the kids where the produce they eat actually comes from is invaluable in their understanding of sustainable practices.

woman walking with grandchild in field for earth day

Walking with grandkids is the best! / Photo by Kathy Buckworth

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3. Recycle and shop at consignment stores

Shopping at consignment stores helps on the re-use side, and can help manage your budget as well. Passing down clothes through the generations not only is smart from a budget and environmental perspective, but also can provide great storytelling about a garment’s past before landing on the shoulders of an Alpha Gen grandkid.

4. Include sustainable experiences when you travel with your grandkids

Recently I traveled to Freeport in the Bahamas and visited Coral Vita, a coral farm dedicated to replacing and reinforcing the coral which has been devasted by climate change (Hurricane Dorian in 2019) as well as long term environmental damage by humans (cruise ships, etc.)

By growing new coral in coral beds, and transplanting them into the ocean, they are working to offset the anticipated 90% of coral loss to come. I “adopted” a piece of coral on behalf of my grandchildren, and you can too, here.

multigenerational travel at cora vita earth day bahamas

. I “adopted” a piece of coral on behalf of my grandchildren, and you can too, here./ Photo by Kathy Buckworth  

Libreria Piccolomini fresco in Siena Cathedral

Coral Vita is a coral farm dedicated to replacing and reinforcing coral devasted by climate change/ Photo by Kathy Buckworth

5.  Eat local food when you travel and show your grandchildren where food comes from

Meanwhile, on the coast of Mayo County, Ireland, Crough Patrick Seafoods is an oyster farm on the shores of the rugged Atlantic. This form of aqua-culture promotes a “shore to door” culinary experience.  For a quarter of a century the Gannon family has produced shellfish in mari-culture sites on the shores of Clew Bay beside Croagh Patrick for which the company is named. The waters of this beautiful section of Clew Bay at Rosslaher are graded A, meaning they are pristine and free from any contamination.

As the oysters grow, they take on the particular characteristics of the bay, acquiring a unique and unparalleled taste. This is a sustainable and environmentally friendly oyster farm. Visitors are also welcome to forage for themselves, allowing a first-hand experience to understand where the food we eat comes from.

sustainable travel oysters in Ireland earth day

Visiting Crough Patrick Seafoods, an oyster farm on the shores of the rugged Atlantic in Mayo County, Ireland/ Photo by Kathy Buckworth

Multigenerational travel is always a learning experience for both grandparents and grandkids, and layering in the opportunity to understand the impact we have on the world around us is more imperative now, more than ever.

How do you teach your grandchildren about the Earth? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. 

Read More on Multi-Generational Travel 

Kathy Buckworth is an award-winning writer, spokesperson, content creator and media personality. She is the author of six non-fiction books. Kathy is the creator, host, writer and researcher for the Zoomer Radio show and podcast, Go-To Grandma, which launched in 2021. She has interviewed hundreds of guests, and the show is in the top three sponsored shows on Zoomer. She is also the co-host of the Elder Wisdom Podcast, which has just reached 100,000 downloads.


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