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to be more environmentally conscious,” advises Dr. Moshe Lewis, chief of physical medicine and rehab at the California Pacific Medical Center, in San Francisco. Surround the family with nature. “Kids are naturally curious. As they learn about the natural habitat of animals, their importance in the ecosystem and how beautiful they are, they develop an appreciation for the diverse flora and fauna species on Earth,” says Lewis. Barbara Smith started the Bow Wow Meow Kids Club at the Almost Home humane shelter, in Fort Dodge, Iowa, so that more children could visit the animals. “Volunteering at the shelter has more benefits for kids than just playing with cats and dogs,” says Smith. “It teaches how to be kind, how to earn trust and try to heal. It teaches them to be humane.” Involve kids in choosing good food. “I like to produce some food at home so we can lessen our footprints a bit more,” says Marsh. Two of her children help care for the family’s quails and collect eggs. The third creates cartoons about the downside of factory farms.

dren feel fearful or even guilty that they can’t help. A parent can help calm their nerves, offer constructive perspective and help them feel like part of the solution. “Keep the tone of conversation on possibilities, rather than impending doom,” counsels Licensed Mental Health Counselor Brooke Randolph, of Indianapolis, Indiana. “Focus on what could happen, instead of what will.” Look for the positives. “A single choice is not causing global warming or the extinction of a species; rather, it is a build-up of several choices, made by many people, over and over again.” Talk about current incremental changes that are helping. Make doable, Earth-friendly goals and act together to make a difference. “No matter how small it is,” says Randolph, “if children feel they are doing something positive, they can feel more in control.” Finally, encourage self-expression. “For kids, being able to verbalize or express their feelings is critical,” says Lewis. “Sometimes, this requires more than just talk therapy. I have found that art and other creative expressions are a way to work through various emotions.”

Tough Talking Environmental challenges can appear daunting, and may make chil-

Hilary Ferrand is a freelance writer in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

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