As early as 2007, Oscar-winning Australian actress, Cate Blanchett, said in an interview with People Magazine, Im extremely concerned about climate change as a mother because I want to ensure, for my children, a very safe and sustainable future. Its great to see my children engaged in these things, like when you put the water on when you put the toothbrush under the tap, you turn it off the minute you take it out and you dont let the water run.Along with her husband Andrew Upton, she won the 2010 Green Globe Award for her efforts in making the Sydney Theatre Company more sustainable. Shes also ensured solar panelling, energy-efficient lights, and grey water recycling at her home, among other changes. Blanchett paved the way almost two decades ago, but since then, there has been a mass movement led by millennials and older Gen-Zers, who want to raise environmentally-conscious children. Heres how you can take the first steps.Walk The TalkAccording to the Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019, 57 per cent of millennial moms say that they would be loyal to childrens brands that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. This attitude trickles down to kids as well. Indian households have been sustainable for centuries, and it is only now that the eco-system has been disrupted, says sustainability product designer Veda Rajgopal. Remember the old dupatta that your mum cut up to use as dusters and eventually kitchen rags? Or the quintessential bucket-and-mug bath that saves a tonne of water, when compared to a shower? Or even leftovers that are recycled into parathas the next day? These are practices that we pass on from generation to generation. If your kids see you leading a clean, green life, reducing your carbon footprint, and exploring the outdoors, theyre more likely to follow suit. Support brands and products that advocate this philosophy as well, such as bamboo bristle toothbrushes.Teach Them How To Minimise, Segregate Dispose Of WasteIntroduce your child to the concept of waste, how it is created, and what it does to the environment. The first step is to teach your kids to buy or reach out only for what they really need. Anything else just adds to the mountain of unused waste that ends up in a landfill, says Veda. It could be something as simple as always carrying your own water bottle instead of picking up bottled water. Educate them about single-use plastics that pollute the environment, every time they reach out for a packet of chips. Focus on nutritious, home-cooked meals or fresh fruits. If you cannot avoid waste, get them to start segregating it efficiently into wet and dry waste/plastics, paper, and food waste.Eat SustainablyHeres the bad news. According to the United Nations Environmental Programme, approximately 30 per cent of global food production is wasted, which is, in turn, responsible for around eight per cent of carbon emissions. And now for some good news; according to research from Mintel, meat-eaters dipped by five per cent from March 2021 to April 2022. This same percentage said they followed a flexitarian diet, which has benefits for the environment with an emphasis on plant-based food and a significant reduction in dairy, meat, and seafood. You can teach your child to only take what they need and finish whats on their plate. Plan your own meals efficiently. Only cook what you intend to eat. Make kids aware of the benefits of local produce, and the reduced carbon footprint that comes with a shorter value chain. Encourage a plant-based diet wherever possible and ask them to check food labels for transparency.Pass It OnTheres nothing wrong with toys or books that have been pre-loved. As my son grew up, I was surprised by how much good stuff came my way via friends and family, says Madurai-based caterer, Christina Arulraj. We got toys, books, clothes, games its not like I never bought him any new stuff, but a lot of his needs were taken care of. There is a bias about giving your child second-hand things. Most kids outgrow everything after a short period of time, so it helps if they are told at a young age that everything doesnt need to be new especially if it ends up in a landfill in a year or two. And in the case of cribs and car seats that tend to be expensive, you could save a packet and put it towards an education fund instead. If you take these things from trusted sources and sanitise them well before use, it is perfectly safe. Also, sort out clothes and other essentials at regular intervals and pass them on to the next person who may need them.Be Energy EfficientWater, water everywhere, not a drop to drink! Although three-quarters of the earth is covered with water, drinking water is limited and scarce. Teach your child to use water wisely while brushing, bathing, or washing their hands. Switching off lights, fans, and other electrical fittings while leaving the room conserves electricity. Even after electrical appliances are switched off, they consume electricity. Tell your kids to unplug these after they finish using them.Lastly, educate your kids about the planet and why it is important to protect it. Read books on the topic. Get them to join a nature club or volunteer for activities like beach clean-ups. Spending time in nature, with flora and fauna, helps them develop a sense of wonder and appreciation for the planet. In an interview to commemorate Childrens Day last year, actor Dia Mirza said about her son, 'Avyaan started talking to plants before he started communicating with us. He already has a favourite plant, a favourite animal, and every day, his eyes light up when he goes to the garden with us and discovers something new. The point is that we cannot protect what we do not love and only when we teach our kids to value and cherish the planet, will they feel responsible for its well-being when they grow up.'