Rich biodiversity: Trees, birds, and local ecology
Myriad trees, birds, insects, and ponds teeming with fishes offer children a real-time ecological lesson. These aren’t enclosures in a zoo but an intrinsic part of their daily lives. The variety of species, both flora and fauna, fosters curiosity and appreciation. Children who grow up identifying local birds or understanding the significance of certain trees or insects develop a profound connection to their environment. They learn that every creature, no matter how tiny, plays a vital role in the ecosystem. And as beautifully essayed by writer Alice Walker, “Anything we love can be saved.”
Water management and rainwater harvesting
One of the most crucial aspects of a sustainable community is the efficient management of water resources. Here, children don’t just read about rainwater harvesting in books, they see it in action. They witness how rainwater is collected, stored, and utilized for various purposes, reinforcing the importance of every drop. This hands-on exposure ensures they understand the full cycle of water usage. Thus, they are more likely to conserve water and implement sustainable practices in their own lives.
Waste management: More than just disposal
Sustainability is as much about reducing our footprint as it is about giving back to the environment. GoodEarth communities emphasize the importance of waste segregation, composting, and recycling. Children growing up thus are sensitive about their consumption patterns and the waste they generate. This ingrained sense of responsibility towards waste management ensures they carry these values into adulthood, making sustainable choices wherever they go.
Respect for sustainable materials
Living in homes predominantly built from sustainable materials, children develop an innate appreciation for their environment. They touch, feel, and experience the warmth of natural materials every day, fostering a deep respect for the resources the Earth provides. It’s not just about the aesthetics; it’s about understanding the stories, efforts, and values behind each brick, beam, and tile in their home.
Harnessing solar energy
Solar panels are a common sight in sustainable communities, and they are an incredible teaching tool. Children learn about the power of renewable energy sources early on. By seeing solar panels in action — converting sunlight into electricity — they understand that there’s an alternative to the conventional, often polluting, energy sources. This encourages a mind-set where seeking and implementing sustainable energy solutions becomes second nature.
The choice of raising our children in sustainable communities like the Malhar Eco-village isn’t just about picking a residence; it’s a profound decision on the values and principles we wish to instil in the next generation.
By immersing them in an environment where sustainability and respect for nature are woven into the fabric of everyday life, we are allowing these concepts to become internalised, not imposed upon. These children won’t view sustainability as an ‘alternative’ lifestyle or a ‘trend’; for them, it will be the norm.
As they grow, their decisions will be informed by this innate reverence for nature and an understanding of the delicate balance of our ecosystem.