15 Steps to Becoming an Earth-Friendly Family
By Melissa Chapman
I think most single moms will attest to the fact that likely couldn’t have survived their children’s infancy and toddlerhood without disposable diapers, they probably rely on plastic bags for carting and storing stuff and would likely choose going to the movies over taking a hike in the forest.
But we moms cannot deny the seriousness of global warming and the horrific effects it will have on the earth we’re leaving to our children. How can we be green families and raise earth friendly kids? These children that we hold so dear, that we run ourselves ragged for, whose fragile psyches we painstakingly nurture, and whose college tuitions we save for as soon as they’re safely out of the womb.
Unfortunately, if we’re not careful, all that planning will not mean much if the world they’re living in is physically depleted of its natural resources, and their main concern is not about what type of career to pursue, but rather, just their basic survival.
BUT…this is a big but, right now we have a chance to keep global warming’s effects at bay (maybe even reverse it). Sharon Rowe, green living expert and founder of Eco-Bags Products Inc., believes that we teach our children to take care of the environment by showing them that WE care, by being the example.
“We like to ski as a family and all we need to do is show our kids pictures of how much snow we used to get in NY and compare it with our more recent, mild winters and explain how that is a direct impact of global warming” says Rowe. “We watch Animal Planet and talk about melting glaciers and the impact of rising sea levels. Kids get this stuff. They’re hearing about it at school, too. We’ve reduced our carbon footprint by converting our home to solar energy, walking to work and the train and recycling everything that the recycler will accept.”
The bottom line; to help shape how your children view the environment single moms needs to be living green examples for their kids. Here is Rowe’s list of the top 15 things a single mom can do to make her family more earth friendly, and prove that it is easy to be GREEN:
1) Turn off the water while brushing teeth. One way to illustrate how much water they waste if they leave it on is to put a bucket in the sink to collect it while the water’s running. They’ll be amazed and will begin to understand how precious water is as a resource.
2) Use small containers to send snacks to school instead of buying single-serving plastic bags.
3) Teach a child to “take all they want but eat all they take,” which makes them aware of how much they put on their plate and the wastefulness of throwing away food.
4) Find non-toxic household cleaners and avoid chemicals whenever possible. OR use the age-old vinegar and water solution for cleaning almost everything in the house at almost no cost!
5) Stop burning chemical-laden candles!
6) Use an insulated lunch bag that does not have a vinyl lining. These may contain lead.
7) Recycle and teach children about recycling. Talk with kids about plastic and waste. Ask them to help you sort your bottles for recycling. Make garbage monsters out of throwaway items.
8) Re-gift. Teach children that it’s more than okay to give a gift to someone if it’s new and you don’t want it! Why should all this stuff sit in a closet, creating clutter?
9) Make art projects from non-recyclable trash such as plastic liners in candy boxes, twist ties, etc. We used to create cardboard castles out of every box that came into our house. Show them how much gets thrown away that’s just packaging.
10) Bring Your Own Reusable Bags to the grocery store!
11) Offer to help on a trash clean-up day at a local park. Check out RiverKeepers.org for water-related clean-ups.
12) Do bottle collections.
13) Run an after school art project for kids with the idea from #9 above.
14) Call your local chapter of AMC or the Nature Conservancy and get maps of local parks. Go for a walk! Seek out nature walks and events to get your kids connected to nature, animals and the peace they find in nature. Without that connection it’s more difficult to get them to care.
15) Take up a new sport together: Hike, roller blade, bike, walk…it doesn’t matter as long as it’s outside and FUN.
“The most important things is that you, as the parent, be an example and have FUN with it,” says Rowe. Kids love to learn and they hate lectures – frame the lessons inside stories and running commentary so that they can hear the information without resisting it!”
Check out Sharon Rowe’s Company Ecobags and join in the chat on her blog at My Greenest Hour about ways to keep the planet green.
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