It’s true what they say that it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. But hey, we grown ups are slowly learning to do our share to lessen the world’s carbon emissions. It’s not too late, yet, after all.
It is, however, best for us to help young kids start living sustainably so that it would become a habit for them as they grow up. Hopefully by the time they would have kids of their own, keeping the planet blue by living green would be the norm.
You don’t have kids? That’s okay. You probably have young siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, neighbours, or students who whom you can teach by example.
Reduce, Reuse, Recyle
- Instead of buying single use containers like bottled water or juice (or asking a parent/guardian to buy one for you) when you’re out of the house, plan ahead and bring your own water or juice a jug.
- Refuse store bags by bringing your own recyclable shopping bags.
- Explain to kids that it is better to use durable items, like a reusable shaver instead of a disposable one that you would have to throw away after using a only a few times.
- Say no to junk mail and put a sign on your mailbox. When possible, manage your bills online, read news, catalogs, stock reports and other information through the Internet, instead of a paper format.
- Choose recyclable packages when buying groceries and throw them in the proper recycling bin if you cannot reuse them at home.
- Take quick showers, instead of baths. And even then, no more than you need to. Long baths or showers may be fun, but a waste of precious water.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
- Harvest rain water in a barrel for later use to wash your car and to water plants in your garden.
- Mulch your garden, since mulch reduces evaporation, making sure that your plants get the full benefit of watering.
- Turn off lights in a room not in use, as well as any electronic appliance not in use. Use only low energy light bulbs, too.
- In winter during the day time, open the drapes or blinds to let the sun in, instead of using a heater.
- Set your home’s thermostat a few degrees lower. For each one-degree that you lower it, your family can save up to 5 percent on your home’s heating and cooling costs.
- Dry clothes naturally under the sun or in a shaded area in case of rain, instead of a dryer that would consume a lot of electricity.
- Start your own vegetable garden. My sister-in-law gave my daughter a book on gardening for kids and she got hooked. Us, too, in the process. So in our case, it was the other way around. Our child got us involved in gardening. Basically, kids would have heaps of fun with this and you all benefit from it, including saving some grocery shopping money.
- The article Gardening with Kids might be a helpful way for you to start.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
- The more natural or organic the food you eat, the less man-made chemicals in your body, the healthier you become.
- Start small with Meatless Mondays and build up to eating less meat and processed food.
- You don’t need to become a vegetarian, but both adults and kids need to make healthier choices.
Buy Locally and Fairtrade
- Buy from local farmers markets. They support a sustainable food system by offering locally-grown produce. Small family farms stay in business; land is protected from development, and consumers receive fresh food that does not travel far. Many markets sell more than just fruits and vegetables these days. You’ll also find a good selection of meat, wines, cheeses, herbs, flowers, baked goods, and handicrafts.
- You can also help millions of struggling farmers in developing countries around the world by choosing Fairtrade products every time you shop. All you have to do is look for the Fairtrade label.
Image: Alto Contracting