Sustainable Living for Parents
According to the United Nations, the world’s population will reach over 9 billion by 2050. Now, consider as a parent that each child you have will add just under 9500 metric tons of carbon dioxide to your carbon legacy. That’s 5.7 times what your lifetime emissions will be.
When you think about the growing population and the growing problems associated with larger carbon footprints, it can be alarming. But, the future doesn’t have to be so bleak. There is still time to turn things around, fight back against climate change, pollution, and other major environmental issues impacting our planet.
Choosing to take sustainability seriously will help now and in the future. By making a few simple life changes, prioritizing the environment, and teaching your children to do the same, you can offset your carbon emissions, as well as theirs, and reduce the negative environmental impact daily living can have on the planet.
Not sure where to get started? Let’s cover a few ideas that will make sustainable living simpler for you and your family.
Start With the Right Supplies
Even before your children are born, it can seem like you have an endless list of supplies to get. Start by educating yourself on sustainable and eco-friendly products. Many of them are made with ingredients that are safer and healthier for little ones, while others focus on using less packaging or being completely recyclable. You can start with the things you keep in your diaper bag and opt for organic, sustainable products, including:
- Cloth diapers
- A changing pad
As your kids get older, the products you buy for them should depend on your research. With a little bit of digging, you’ll find that everything from the trash bags you use in your kitchen to the soap and shampoo your kids use in the shower can be swapped out for products that are better for the environment.
Be sure to watch out for greenwashing in your efforts to pick better products. Because more people are choosing to live sustainably, companies are starting to take notice. Therefore, they’re trying to market their products in different ways, using words like “organic” or “natural” even if they’re not necessarily great for the planet. If something sounds too good to be true, or something seems “off” about a product, dig a little deeper.
Conserve Energy and Save Money
It’s not uncommon for parents to be on a budget. When you’re trying to raise multiple kids, it’s normal to have a fixed income. Stretching out your dollar is important. Thankfully, saving energy and saving money go hand-in-hand. You can make changes in your own home to conserve energy without needing any DIY skills.
Some of the easiest ways to cut back on your energy use include:
- Replacing old appliances with EnergyStar products
- Switching to LED lightbulbs
- Fully loading the dishwasher or washing machine before running a cycle
- Drying sheets, towels, and clothes on a line outside instead of running the dryer
You can feel good about what you’re doing for the environment with these changes. You’re also likely to notice some positive changes in your utility bills. It’s one small way to take care of yourself – a necessity as a parent! That’s especially true right after your child is born. Don’t beat yourself up about being perfect or not being “totally sustainable” right after having a child – depression of various kinds can set in when you try too hard, especially if you had a c-section or a particularly difficult pregnancy. You’ll get there. Take care of yourself first and then focus on the things you want to instill in your little one. Starting small with changes like the ones listed above can help.
Get Your Kids Involved
When you practice sustainable living yourself, it’s easy to instill eco-friendly habits in your kids from an early age. But, if you’ve just recently decided to ramp up your environmentally sound efforts, you can encourage your family to do the same. The best part? You can make it fun for your kids, too.
Most kids love being as hands-on as possible in everything they do. That’s great when it comes to promoting a sustainable lifestyle. Some of the best ways to educate your kids about the planet and encourage them to live greener include:
- Spending more time outside
- Planting/taking care of a garden
- Teaching them to recycle
- Riding bicycles together or walking instead of taking a car
- Getting involved in the community
When your kids can see and experience what it’s like to take care of the planet, they’re more likely to continue with that lifestyle and carry it with them into adulthood.
You can start small with your sustainability efforts. Teach your kids to turn off lights when they leave a room, or not to take long showers. Set up a recycling station in your house and teach them where everything goes. Talk to them about what’s going on in the world. These small changes can make a big difference and can help to ensure a more sustainable future for your kids.