Age makes no difference: kids and adults join forces for the environment

How do we teach young people to safeguard natural resources while connecting them with the older generation? Beautiful Israel's answer is its "Working together for the Environment" program.


For the past 6 years, CBI’s Center for Environmental Studies has administered this water conservation educational enrichment activity for more than 100 elementary schools in metropolitan Tel Aviv, in cooperation with IGUDAN, the Dan region’s association for environmental infrastructure.



This year’s program featured encounters between the children and residents of a senior citizens’ nursing home. The children taught the seniors about the importance of recycling waste water, about the environmental pollution caused by the improper disposal of wipes and hygienic products in toilets and about how to include concepts of sustainability in their everyday routines. Shafdan, the largest wastewater treatment plant in the Middle East, must purify some 140 million cubic meters of water each year – produced by the 2.5 million inhabitants of the Dan region. Shafdan’s output accounts for some 10% of Israel's total annual water consumption and provides some 70% of the water used for crop irrigation in the southern Negev desert region. But this agricultural ‘miracle’ depends upon maintaining the highest possible sewage water quality.


Both the school children and seniors enjoyed and benefitted from their encounters, sharing joy and knowledge, and narrowing the generation gap. Some of the children felt as if they’d acquired a new "grandpa" or "grandma". The seniors looked forward to meeting the young people. No less important: programs like help young people prepare to become agents of environmental change in their communities.