Preserving the world for our children’s future begins with reducing our carbon footprint and impact on nature. Here’s how to get started…
1. Cut Back On Plastic.
Plastics are made from CO2 producing fossil fuels and they also have a devastating impact on wildlife. An estimated eight million tons of plastic enter our oceans and waterways every year with dire consequences. When a turtle eats a plastic bag, mistaking it for a jellyfish, it can be fatal. Meanwhile, plastic ingested by fish brings toxins into the food chain for us to eat.
Eliminate plastic from family life by opting for reusable bags, water bottles, and cups. Kids love straws but they are rarely recyclable and the fifth most frequent form of trash picked up off coastlines. Instead of buying cheap plastic toys that break quickly, opt for good-quality wooden toys that are more sustainable.
2. Ditch The Thoughtless Fashion.
With 80 billion items of clothing consumed across the world annually, fashion has a huge carbon footprint. The trend for cheap, fast fashion means more non-biodegradable clothing heads for landfills, where it releases harmful gases and toxins into the environment.
You can combat this by buying from consignment stores, accepting hand-me-downs, and choosing sustainable clothing for your kids.
Download the Good On You Ethical Fashion App to find children’s fashion retailers with a sustainable approach.
3. Clean Up Your Act.
Chemical-heavy cleaning products are often bad for the environment.
Instead, try cleaning with vinegar and baking soda or buy products made from recycled, sustainable, and plant-derived ingredients. Check out Grove Collaborative a subscription service that mail out sustainable purchases and offsets the carbon.
4. Shop Local.
The less your food travels the smaller the carbon footprint. Check out the Eat Well Guide to discover farms, markets, restaurants, and other sources of local, sustainable food.
Seek out sustainable or ethical products at the grocery store and cut down on your meat consumption. By introducing Meat Free Mondays and preparing more plant-based meals you will reduce your carbon footprint.
Plan your meals and eat what you buy. A staggering 1.3 billion tons of edible food is wasted every year - four times the amount needed to feed 815 million malnourished people around the world.
5. Think Zero Waste.
Babies and toddlers generate a lot of waste but could you swap disposable diapers for cloth, or use a washcloth instead of a baby wipe? Ditch store-bought fruit pouches and baby wafers and make your own apple sauce or healthy snacks from scratch.
Throwing out food might not seem like a big deal but the food rejected by your tot take a really long time to decompose in landfills. Slow rotting food results in higher amounts of methane – a gas 21 times more destructive to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
Reduce your impact by buying compostable waste bags or turn food scraps into rich compost for your garden. Many cities offer free composting workshops or information, so check out your city website for resources.
6. Nurture The Natural World.
Consider planting a pollinator garden with your child to aid the butterflies and bees that pollinate our crops and flowers. Talk about animals and habitat and how every creature has its own important place in a functioning ecosystem.
If you go to the beach take a trash bag and pick up the discarded plastic that you see.
By teaching our kids to love and respect the natural world we help them grow up to be considerate, empathetic, and happier.
Charlotte Ward is a British writer, tree hugger and toddler entertainer. She is based in California where she can be found enjoying the outdoor life with her husband, son and hyperactive dog-child.