Do you ever have a moment when you look at your son or daughter and wonder what the world will look like when they’re grown up? When the wide eyed bundle of joy at your lap is no longer drooling into a napkin, scraping knees on a school playground or merrily sitting on the floor playing with their toys as though they haven’t a care in the world?
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When they’re adults just like you, with problems and concerns of their very own. What will they do for a living? Will there even be jobs when they’re grown up or will everyone just sit in a lounger sipping cold drinks while robots do all the work just like in Wall E? When their children are born, every parent undergoes a fundamental change in their brain chemistry. All of their old worries and issues go out of the window and their sole consideration is ensuring that the tiny life for which they’re responsible is happy, healthy and safe. We do our best to love, support, educate and edify our kids so that they’re able to navigate the perils and pitfalls of adult life.
Unfortunately, we no longer live in an age where that’s enough. The world is changing at such an alarming rate that unless we take steps to effect positive and long lasting change now, there may be nothing that our kids can do to change the irreversible damage we’ve wrought upon our planet. Greater minds than ours estimate that unless we, as a species start taking much better care of our planet we may well render it uninhabitable within 100 years. That means that we may doom our world within our children’s (or at the very least our grandchildren’s lifetime). Our generation is the first to bear the responsibility not only of raising their children right, but ensuring that there’s enough of a planet left for them to enjoy. If we’re to do this effectively, we all need to do our part.
The good news is that we don’t need to climb up to the roof to install solar panels or spend our each and every evening reading quietly by candlelight to make a difference. It’s simply a matter of fixing a few bad habits that our uber convenient lifestyles have pushed us into. By raising your kids in a sustainable household, you’re not only helping to make the world a better place, you’re setting a great example for them. And you can start doing this right now. All you need to do is ditch some of these bad habits…
Using environmentally harmful cleaning products
Every parent knows that raising a happy, healthy child starts with a clean, tidy and hygienic home. Unfortunately, this noble pursuit has led us to some pretty bad habits. Not only have we begin using cleaning products laced with harmful chemicals to keep our kids safe, we’re using way too many of them. The simple truth is that you don’t need one bottle for the kitchen, one bottle for the bathroom, one bottle for floors and one bottle for sinks.
Our over reliance on harmful cleaning products could potentially see us flush and rinse volatile organic compounds into our water supplies which, over time can have a devastating effect on the environment. Moreover, most of these are packaged in non recyclable plastics which inevitably end up in landfill where they can leach yet more harmful compounds into the sea.
The good news is that this is fairly easily remedied. There are brands like this laundry soap manufacturer who are committed to creating more environmentally friendly products using natural ingredients. Moreover, they are made using renewable solar energy and because they’re made locally, they have less of a carbon footprint. Of course, if you wanted to go completely zero waste on your cleaning products, you’d be amazed at what you can accomplish with just a little bicarbonate of soda and some apple cider vinegar.
Adopting an “out of sight, out of mind” approach to our waste
“Out of sight, out of mind” is an extremely tempting attitude to adopt, but when it’s applied to household waste, it can be extremely damaging in a number of ways. It can cause us to forget the environmental damage caused by landfill waste and our culpability when we contribute to it. According to Bea Johnson, author of Zero Waste Home, we should shrug off our ambivalence to single use plastics and non recyclable packaging and adopt the 5 Rs…
- Refuse- Every day we’re given an opportunity to say no to the non recyclable and disposable products that are slowly ruining our planet. Every day we refuse them, we send a message that we are no longer prepared to continue damaging our world by buying or using them.
- Reuse- Never recycle when you can reuse, repurpose and repair your items.
- Reduce- Reduce the amount of stuff that we buy. Ask yourself “Do I really need this?” before making a purchase. The less we impulse spend, the less waste ends up in landfill.
- Rot- Buy biodegradable products that decompose naturally and use them as compost to fertilize your garden.
- Recycle- When you can’t do any of the above, recycle. Recycling should be considered a last resort. Remember that not everything we submit for recycling actually gets recycled.
Flushing and forgetting
It’s extremely tempting to think of our toilet as the portal to another universe, where everything that gets flushed down automatically disappears from existence. But the truth is that a “flush it and forget about it” mentality can lead us to flush products that can be harmful to our local sewer systems and the environment as a whole. Wet wipes (convenient though they most certainly are) are one of the worst offenders here. They have a habit of congregating together and attracting the fats from household food waste to form “fatbergs”, little icebergs of matter that can create a health threat as well as an environmental hazard.
If we all do our part now, our children will inherit a better world from us… And isn’t that what life’s all about?
Remember life doesn't have to be perfect to love where you are!