I do not consider myself to be a huge environmentalist but, I am proud to say that I saved my allowance to join Greenpeace in the 80s. As an adult, I now realize the importance of having an awareness about our impact on the earth and sharing this with our children.
We may not be able to save our planet from every black cloud, but it is important to be responsible and respectful to the earth on a daily basis.
There are simple steps that we can all take to help live in a more green, earth friendly way. We do not have to change our lives drastically and with a few adjustments, nothing will seem to be different (for the exception of the land fills not being as full, our energy and water bills not being quite as high, and our knowing that we are doing our part in living a conscious and environmentally friendly way).
The following is a list of simple steps that families can take to living green. It is not a complete list, but a starting point. The important thing here is that parents and caregivers discuss these steps and ENFORCE them. If parents teach children to live green at an early age, children will naturally respect the earth.
I know there are many more things we can do, so I encourage you to please send us your great tips too! The earth thanks you and so do we!
Steps to Living Green:
1. Turn off the lights and the TV when you are not in the room. Better yet, turn the TV off all together and grab a book!
2. Get energy efficient appliances. This will help save on your electric bills as well as helping the environment!
3. Change out all of your old incandescent light bulbs with the new energy efficient florescent bulbs. They not only save you money, but time- you do not need to replace them as often and there is less waste from needing fewer bulbs!
4. There is one thing that is better than these new energy saving light bulbs and that is natural light. If it is light out, open the shades and catch some rays! Natural sun light helps with seasonal depression and vitamin D!
5. Recycle all of your plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans. We have been hearing this for years, so do it! Every little bit counts.
6. Get a water purifying filtration system, or just a container with a filter like a Britta and STOP using those plastic water bottles! .
7. Buy a kitchen timer and put it next to each shower in your home. Take the 4 minute shower. One minute for shampoo, one for soap, one for conditioner and one to rinse. Shave with the water off in between soaping and rinsing. This is HUGE in helping with water consumption, especially if you have more than one child taking showers. Better yet, take showers with more than one person at a time and still keep it to minutes! Make it a game!
8. Turn the water off while brushing teeth and while washing hands. After a quick initial rinse, turn the water off during lather and turn on again for a thorough rinse to finish up. For extra dirty hands, use a washcloth to remove dirt, not running water!
9. Recycle toilet paper and towel rolls. Better yet, if your kids are in preschool or grade school, save up the rolls and give them to the school. Kids can always make great art or science projects using paper towel and toilet paper rolls!
10. Fix leaky faucets as soon as the start to leak. Do not procrastinate on this kind of stuff. It not only costs you money, but wastes way more water than you realize.
11. Switch your household cleaners, dish soaps and hand soaps to environmentally friendly ones. The chemicals in bleaches and harsh chemicals are not only bad for earth, they are bad for you! Think cancer and fertility issues, not that much fun.
12. Every time that you go to the store to stock up on supplies for the house or office, look for recycled or green products. This way, you will know you are at least trying to be green!
13. Organic is the way to go. Buy from local farmers if you can and buy most, if not all of your produce from the organic section. Again, this not only benefits the earth, but your body does not need all of those pesticides and chemicals- more cancer and infertility, yuck!
14. Even shampoos and cosmetics companies are starting to go green. And these products are actually good! Give them a try!
15. Be open to trying new things that are green. The more open you are, the sooner you will find out that this whole green movement is kind of fun and definitely makes you feel like you are being responsible! What could feel better than that?
Britt Michaelian, MA is the founder and CEO of Responsible Family Company. Her DVD, Care for Kids: The Essential Guide to Preparing Caregivers educates caregivers about medical emergencies. Sign up for her newsletter to receive a free Child Safety Report at http://www.responsiblefamily.com