Are babies bad for the Earth?
Little feet can leave a big footprint, here are 20 ways to keep it to the minimum.
Those tiny feet can have a huge carbon footprint (meaning that lots of precious fossil fuels are consumed to produce, manufacture, package, transport and market the many things they need).
Here are 20 simple ways to reduce your baby’s carbon footprint. You’ll probably find they’ll save you a packet of cash, too. Reduce
Lower your baby’s environmental impact by reducing the amount of electricity, chemicals and natural resources required to support her lifestyle.
- Regulate your baby’s temperature by adding/removing layers of clothing before resorting to air-conditioning (which guzzles electricity).
- Disposable nappies? Consider biodegradable. A conventional disposable nappy can take hundreds of years to decompose.
- Cloth nappies? Use eco-friendly detergent and line-dry rather than tumble-dry (sunshine is also a fabulous natural bleach)
- Use biodegradable bum-wipes.
- Use bibs – save on water, electricity and detergent when you don’t have to change whole outfits after every spill or spit-up.
- Bathing your baby twice a day uses lots of water and can dry out Baby’s skin. Every other day is fine – just top-and-tail in between.
- Use products that are kind to the earth. Look for the Certified Organic and Beauty Without Cruelty logos.
- Stick to simple toys like books, blocks, dolls and puzzles. If you have electronic toys, use rechargeable batteries, and donate to a charity when you’re done with them.
- Local is lekker. Buying local not only boosts our economy; it also means less carbon is consumed in transporting items from faraway lands.
- Start a blog to capture all those memories. It will save time, money and chemically-treated paper not printing out all those photos, and is far more lasting and accessible than a scrapbook for all those world-wide fans!
Buying less new stuff – and discarding less into landfills – can take hundreds of kilograms out of the carbon cycle.
- Buy second-hand furniture or wooden items from sustainable sources. Fewer raw materials will be taken from the environment, and less carbon put into it through manufacturing.
- Whether vintage heirlooms or hand-me-downs, use second-hand clothes. Cotton – the predominant material used to make babies’ clothes as it is soft and breathable – is also one of the world’s most chemical-consuming crops, so re-using clothes lowers your baby’s chemical impact on the environment.
- Borrow prams, cots, high chairs, car-seats, etc from friends or relatives whose kids have outgrown them. This saves money, and eliminates the carbon required to process, package and transport these items new.
- Use what you’ve got. Credenzas make great changing-tables, armchairs are wonderful for feeding, and you probably have a large handbag/beach-bag that would make the perfect nappy-bag.
- Save empty glass food-jars and fill them with home-made food. Cheap, healthy, better for the planet.
- When you no longer need something, pass it on to a friend or donate it to charity. You’ll be doing good by them, and by the environment because you’re keeping the items out of landfills.
Trees offset carbon your carbon footprint by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen.
Are you aware of the impact your family has on the environment?
- Plant a tree when your baby is born and watch it grow with her.
- Mark special occasions like birthdays, holidays and milestones by planting trees.
- You can calculate how many trees you need to plant with a carbon calculator e.g. http://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx
- No green fingers? Sponsor trees to be planted online at sites like http://www.mokugift.com/