I have always known that there are things that I can do to conserve natural resources. With three small children, it is not easy to look outside of my family’s health and needs to keep track of what the world may require. Recently, though, I have begun to feel the weight of personal responsibility. I can’t open a magazine or look at my computer without finding an article about how to “Green” my home or my life. So call it inspiration or just call it about time, I have finally begun to compile a list of ways that I can contribute to the preservation of our earth.
1. Recycling is a tremendous way to reduce the amount of trash being sent to the landfills everyday. Many new, clean, usable products are “reborn” when items are recycled. Many communities have curbside recycling programs. For those communities that do not come to you for your recyclables, there is usually a station somewhere in the area.
2. Unplugging all unnecessary appliances such as cell phone chargers, alarm clocks in guest bedrooms, and lamps in seldom-used rooms is a simple way to save energy. Filling your dishwasher before turning it on or washing a full load of laundry are also ways we can conserve. Imagine if every household in the world used their dishwashers just 5 times a week instead of 7. Training children to turn off lights when they leave the room is a great practice.
3. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (cfl) can save up to $30 over the life of the bulb because they use 70% to 80% less energy. They cost more initially, but will more than pay for themselves over the next few years.
4. Reducing packaging is a tremendous way to have an impact on the amount of trash that is sent to the landfills. Juice boxes are convenient, but they are single-serving, disposable containers. Instead buy a large bottle of juice and pour servings into washable, reusable cups or bottles. Remember when we used to drink tap water? Water filters that can easily be installed on the kitchen faucet are a great way to cut back on the amount of water bottles consumed.
5. Hanging your clothes outside on a simple line to dry in dry weather will not only make your clothes, sheets, and towels smell fresh, but will also aid in saving money on your utility bill. Hang a line in your attic or basement for use in cold or inclement weather.
6. Store inexpensive, sturdy canvas bags in your vehicle. This will remind you to use them when shopping or running errands instead of accepting the plastic versions.
7. Paper plates are a very tempting way to serve lunch or dinner, but all of those plates usually just go straight in the trash. Buy some melamine plates or bowls for lightweight, casual dining. For napkins, consider purchasing some inexpensive cloth napkins to wash and reuse with each meal. Instead of reaching for a paper towel created by the chopping down of virgin forests, hang a dishtowel somewhere near the sink. Train your children to use it to dry clean hands.
8. Seeking out products and methods of cleaning that contain natural, non-toxic, biodegradable ingredients is another great way for moms to do our part. So much can be done with baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice. Petroleum-based cleaners support the disappearance of natural resources and destruction of precious land and water environments.
It is tempting to imagine that one person cannot make a difference, but if we demonstrate ways to lessen our impact on nature to our families and friends, then we are training future caretakers. We are creating conscientious adults who will understand their duties to the earth and to each other.
What’s one thing you and your family can implement this year to help our environment and celebrate Earth Day?