Most parents sign their kids up for a sport at one point or another. My oldest two, for example, are currently enrolled in karate and have been asking about soccer. It’s nice being able to keep them active.
While signing up your kids for sports isn’t necessarily a time many parents think about the environment, maybe it should be. There are more and less green sports for them to choose from.
Karate is a fairly green example. The class my kids are in takes place at the local Elks Lodge, so all it requires is the uniforms and the gas to go to and from class. They’re evening classes about 3 miles away on very hilly roads, so not a practical walk for a 7 and 5 year old. At least not if I want them to have energy for class. Not to mention the return home.
As the kids get to higher levels, there are some more resources used, but it’s not all bad. It’s not like they’re going to be breaking bricks right from the start, and one of the things their sensei showed us was the reusable breaking boards they have for teaching them some time down the road how to do that. Certainly better than boards that only break once.
Their choice of soccer isn’t as green, although it could be worse. The bad part is simply the care of the playing fields, which in most places means using a lot of chemicals on the fields and trimming the grass quite short. But at least the equipment needs are minimal.
For those who are into it, hunting and fishing can actually be quite green. This is because the licensing most often goes toward conservation efforts and there are generally sensible limits geared toward maintaining the resources. There can be issues with less than green equipment, however, not to mention the ethical considerations many have toward eating meat.
Bicycling is another great green choice. The bikes take some resources to maintain, but not a lot and as kids outgrow them bicycles can be handed down or sold. Bikes are easy to buy online or locally. Best of all, even if the kids use bikes for sport they also have a practical purpose as transportation.
If you’re up for letting your kids do it, rock climbing can be another green choice. Minimal equipment and you take it all home with you at the end of the day. Rock climbing can help to develop quite an appreciation for nature also.
Hiking and camping are also great choices, provided you stick to established trails and bring back out everything you bring in. You can even make improvements if you come prepared to haul other people’s trash back out.
For all sports, be sure that you consider the environment when you buy equipment. Buying used is always a great choice, but if you need new consider what materials you’re buying. Amazon Green has a sports section, although you still need to consider whether it’s green or greenwashed.
Always remember how very important it is for children to be active, especially outdoors. It’s not just about keeping our kids fit and healthy. It’s building an appreciation for activity and the outdoors. You can’t love nature if you only see it on TV.