By Alissa Forester
Going Green with your Kids
How much processed junk do I put into my body everyday? (As I write this I am opening a can of diet orange soda...) Can a "juice" drink that is only 20% juice really be good for me? How many dozens of plastic bags am I overwhelmed with each week? I now have bags filled with bags- sitting in my garage, waiting to be recycled. How much energy do I waste, simply because I am not intentional? How many Earth Days have come and gone without me noticing? I consume far too much, and I am aware of far too little. This is not okay, something needs to be done- something needs to change. Earth Day came this year, and it really gave me a good, swift kick in the pants. I finally realized that it doesn't take much effort, just a little intentionality- to be more environmentally friendly. I may have certain habits that I do just because my mom did them that way- and have I ever asked myself why I do what I do? Not really. I'd say it's mostly out of habit. So why not train myself (slowly) to do things a little differently (and within reason), to be intentional about being 'green.'
There are so many simple, easy, painless ways to take baby steps towards being green. I can do little things around my house daily, to do my part for the environment. But the most important part of it is involving my kids in the process. If I raise my kids to recycle, reduce, and reuse, it will become a habit for them- it will be all they know. And when they understand the importance of why we try to live green, the habit and the why translate to our kids being green adults. And this is something that they will pass on to their own children. So really, our actions now- as parents, in our homes, are so much more impactful than we could imagine. Our actions now will affect how multiple generations after us live life. As we involve our kids, we are including them in something so much bigger than us right now- we are teaching them to demand and create a better tomorrow.
There are some very simple first steps that us moms can
take (with our kids in tow) to be more green. These things apply to us in our
daily lives, and most of them can be done without blinking an eye. Pick three of
these things that you don't already do, and commit to adopting them over the
Simple ways to go green
1. Turn ff the lights when you leave the room. You can make this a job for your kiddos too, before long they'll be turning off every light behind you..
2. Turn off the faucet while you / the kids brush your teeth or wash dishes. Explain to your kids how the fishes need water to live, and if we waste water we are taking it away from the fishes.
3. Reuse scrap paper- can you say coloring / painting / stickering?
4. Lower the temperature of your hot water heater. This is so much safer for kids too, they can easily burn themselves when the hot water heater is blasting.
5. Wash laundry in cold water, and use a detergent made for cold water, such as Tide Coldwater.
6. Switch to cloth diapers- even just one a day will cut the amount found in landfills by 365 diapers per year
7. Wear clothes more than once before washing- our kid's clothes will last longer and look newer... that is if they aren't filthy.
8. Use nondisposable bags for grocery shopping- large bags and small ones for produce (*this is one of my three). I went to www.flipandtumble.com to purchase mine.
9. Shop at a local Farmer's Market. Buying fresh produce straight from the farm is a huge! Fresno State Farmer's Market and The Vineyard are open year-round. Clovis Farmer's Market opens up for the summer this May 11- for Fridays 5:30-9pm. Riverpark Farmers Market starts May 1, and is open Tuesdays from 5-9pm. (*one of my three)
10. Plant an herb or vegetable garden. Our kids literally see where their food comes from.
11. Collect rainwater to water your garden and household plants (put your kids to work!)
12. Drive the speed limit, and combine your errands for the week into one trip.
13. Create a home compost bin
14. Buy organic
15. Walk or ride your bike instead of driving. Start small by taking little trips by foot or bike, like to the park or local farmstand.
16. Switch to CFL light bulbs- they consume 75% less energy, but they need to be properly disposed of as they contain small amounts of mercury.
17. Line dry your clothes.
18. Repurpose something, anything! Reuse old jars, or donate items to a local charity.
19. Use Craigslist or Freecycle
20. Don't turn on lights for as long as possible- open
up the windows and enjoy the natural light! (*one of my
Explore why and how our environment is impacted by our actions. Some of these videos can be shared with your kids, just make sure to pre-screen for appropriateness.
Videos to watch:
-What's on your Plate
-The Story of Bottled Water
-The Story of Stuff
Books to Read:
- In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan- talks about how most of what we eat is not actually "food", I've read about half of it, and it was eye-opening.
- The Earthbound Cook by Myra Goodman- one of my favorite cookbook authors, in this second cookbook she talks about ways of green living.
- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver- this
woman and her family up and decided to only eat what was produced by what they
grew in their backyard or by locals in their neighborhood- for one full
Read more at www.HappyHourMom.com