by Danyelle Little, The Cubicle Chick
My eight year old and I are always looking for ways to spend time together. She is very cognizant of activities and things that we can do in the home that are eco-friendly and gentle on the planet. As a matter of fact, both of my children make me aware of how “not green” I am from time to time. Of course, I grew up living in a world that was okay with paper plates, plastic cups and utensils, and throwing away everything in one trashcan was normal. Thanks to them, I think about the things I am doing before I do them—is this a green way to dispose of this item? Is there an alternative that is more eco-friendly and safer for the environment?
My daughter is really good at taking care of the planet in her own special way. For instance, when I am using paper and I am done with it, she conserves the paper and uses the back of it for her math homework. She uses this paper that I would have normally discarded as scratch paper, giving it yet another life. And when she’s done, it goes in the recycling bin.
I also used to run the dishwasher when it was only half full. But after an Earth Day demonstration in her class, she noticed that I would run the dishwasher with only a few things in it. So now, if I don’t have enough items in the dishwasher, I either wash the dishes by hand or wait until it becomes full to run. Better on the environment and our electricity bill.
My daughter also looks for things that have a “green” or “safe for the environment” label on it when we go grocery shopping. This is something I never used to look at, but she has trained me to be more aware of my shopping habits. I am so proud of her for holding me accountable because of course, she reflects my behavior.
I still have to remember to throw certain things in the recycle bin instead of the trash. My son is the one who usually points out when I’ve discarded the newspaper in the trash. Not only does it fill up the trashcan quickly (you know how big and bulky those Sunday papers can be), but it’s also not friendly to our environment. So in the recycle bin it goes, after a little chastising from him of course.
It’s the simple things we can do to live a greener, more sustainable life, that will make a difference. We can walk and ride bikes instead of using our cars, especially if we are going to nearby places. We can also turn off lights when we are not in the room to conserve energy. Using eco-friendly bulbs can also lead to using less electricity. These things are rather easy to do and go a long way in terms of living a greener lifestyle. Purchasing eco-friendly appliances such as washers and dryers that use less water can really do wonders, not only for your utility bills, but also for the world.
Do your children teach you how to be more green? What little things have you started doing that are green?