What would you write for a time capsule to be opened in 200 years?
Me: “Sorry about the mess we made. The animals you can only read about, that we drove into extinction for their horns, their coats, or simply because we could not share the space. Sorry about the pollution, the air, land and water that we poisoned
. I hope some trees survived our addiction to convenience, over our responsibility to the planet. I hope you have learned to live in a way that is sustainable and mindful of the planet. Actually I just hope that someone survived to read this”
Am I an eco-extremist? Maybe. Mostly, I'm just an average mom who is convinced that urban city dwellers can do more to be sustainable and green
. As a family we’ve challenged ourselves to do just that over a year. You should think about joining us, some changes are simple and together we can have a big impact.
Why? Because our planet
can’t sustain the rate at which we are polluting and using its resources.
I want to share some simple tips for going green
, and also ask, is there a step too far? A point where being green might have a negative impact on our kids
?Tips for the eco-conscious beginner:
• change to energy saving light bulbs
• recycle, if your area doesn't offer curbside recycling
, ask your local government
• buy local fresh produce and support small businesses
• Cut out meat for 1-2 meals a week, use the extra money for free-range and organic
• grow your own vegetables, even if just a window box of herbs
• start a compost heap and/or get a wormery
• turn off taps when brushing teeth
• turn off lights when leaving a room
• unplug unused electronic equipment
• consider using cloth nappies, saving 2 tons of non-biodegradable waste per child
• consider using pre-loved second hand clothing, saving resources needed to make new clothes. Pass on the clothes your kids have outgrown
• cut down chemicals. For example: replace harmful household cleaners with vinegar and bicarb
• talk to your kids about the things that you are doing so they are involved and learn about caring for the planet.But can we take it too far?
• We waste a lot fresh drinking water flushing the toilet for urine. My kids have learned 'If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down'. I encourage them to wee outside as urine is actually a good fertilizer. Perhaps I should clarify that maybe they should flush at other people's houses and that weeing outside might not always be appropriate!
• Ban all air travel? Flights pump a huge amount of Co2 into the atmosphere. Should I say no flights? This would limit their contact with grandparents. I believe that family relationships are vital to a child. I think denying them this would be a step too far.
• Do I ban all junk food, sweets and anything slightly unhealthy? I worry that being extreme will lead to them being excessive when faced with sweets in other contexts like
birthday parties. All things in moderation – right?
• Will talk about the damage we are doing to the planet burden them too young or scare them? Should childhood be blissfully ignorant and carefree?
• Should I stop TV to curb our consumerism and media-driven lifestyles by protecting them from advertising, or will this just isolate them socially?
• If we cut down plastic in our home, what do I do when they are given plastic toys as presents? Do I make them give them away/ re-gift them, or just let them play with them regardless?
• By educating them you may run into the very real danger that your child innocently starts scolding an adult for not recycling or eating non free range chicken or flushing a wee etc. Children have no appropriateness-filters and often have no idea why it could be embarrassing to you when they enthusiastically tell others that they are killing polar bears by not turning the lights off.Are you worried about the effects we are having on the planet?
Do you try to live more eco friendly and green at home?
Do you think it can be taken a step too far?