More and more people are realizing how serious the state of the planet is and are looking into various ways of becoming more sustainable. While it’s well-known that companies are the biggest polluters, you can still play your part in preserving Earth for all generations that are yet to come. Speaking of future generations, if you have kids, you surely want to make sure they have a healthy planet to live on. With that in mind, you can even involve your kids in your eco-friendly practices and teach them how to respect the environment. Here are some family-friendly ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
Conserve energy at home
It’s always a great idea to start your sustainability efforts at home. When it comes to bigger projects, you can consider switching to renewable energy sources to power your home. However, as this is not something you will involve your kids in, there are also some smaller things you can do. For example, teach your little ones how to conserve energy. Start by telling them to turn off the lights when they exit a room. Then, they should also know to unplug the devices and appliances they are not using as they can use energy even when turned off. Moreover, if you’re thinking about getting them a personal computer, keep in mind that laptops use less energy than desktop models.
Don’t waste water
Besides electricity, you also want to conserve water. It’s estimated that more than 785 million people didn’t have access to at least basic water services in 2017. Taking that into account, it seems like a shame to waste water just because you can. Teach your kids about the importance of conserving water by telling them to turn off the water when brushing their teeth. If they’re still learning how to brush their own teeth, it’s important to instill this practice on time. In case your little ones are not so little anymore, collecting greywater is something they can start doing. Show them the various ways you can use this water around the house, such as for toilet flushing and crop irrigation.
Invest in reusable containers and utensils
Your goal should also be to produce less waste. One way to do that is by investing in reusable items. For example, you want to get everyone in the household a reusable water bottle that can be refilled and taken with you wherever you go. Furthermore, you should also avoid other single-use plastic like utensils and food containers. There are now quality utensils that you can take on your picnics if you don’t want to bring along your silverware. Also, whenever possible, bring your own tote bags and reusable containers when shopping to cut down on the waste that will go to landfills or end up in the ocean.
Eat local and seasonal foods
When buying food, you want to look for items that are produced locally and that are in season. That means that you are cutting down on your carbon footprint by not having your food travel across the world to reach the shelves and your table. Moreover, as it spends less time on the road, local produce is much more nutritious as it’s picked when ripe. Frequent farmers’ markets and teach your kids how to read labels so that they know which items to choose when they go on a grocery run on their own.
Teach your kids to garden
An activity you can do with your kids is gardening. No matter if you’re an expert or a beginner, this is a hobby you can take up together. Not only will you be spending more quality time together but you will also be producing some food for your family. Regardless of whether you live in a small apartment or have a huge backyard, you can always find a few types of veggies that you can grow on your own. Just do some research to see which varieties work best in the conditions you can provide them with and get quality tools that will make everything easier.
Be sustainable when shopping for clothes
It’s not just food that you should buy in a sustainable way. We often tend to buy cheap pieces of clothing that get worn out too quickly and we have to toss them out. Instead, you should look for durable clothes from sustainable manufacturers as these should last you for a long time. What is more, as fast fashion is sometimes the only option, you want to be mindful of how you treat your clothes. Washing them according to the label so that they last longer is essential. Additionally, second-hand stores are also a great option when you need clothes.
Donate what you don’t need
Another practice you want to instill in your kids is donating the items that they don’t need. For instance, regularly go through the clothes you have. If you notice that some pieces haven’t been worn in a long while, you should consider donating them. There are always people in need of clothes that will surely value this kindness. Furthermore, everything from books to furniture can find a new home.
Go on family bikes rides
When it comes to spending time together while staying in shape, cycling is a great activity you should consider taking up as a family. It is not only a great way to get around town but you can also explore your surroundings in this way. To stay safe, you need to equip your little ones with quality kids bikes, helmets, and pads. Of course, you should first take some time and teach them how to ride as well as follow traffic rules. Whether you stick to city roads or venture off into nature is up to you and your affinities.
Spend plenty of time outdoors
Other than cycling in nature, you can do various other activities in the great outdoors. For instance, pack a bag and prepare for a picnic in a local park. Go explore the nearby forest or climb a hill that is close by. Simply spend time in your yard surrounded by greenery. There are so many ways you can connect to nature and show your kids why it’s so important to protect it.
Introduce kids to books about the environment
Something else you can do to show your kids the importance of preserving the planet is introduce them to books about the environment. There is a wide variety of children’s books that handle this topic such as Miss Maple’s Seeds, One Plastic Bag, Follow the Moon Home, The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle, and The Lonely Polar Bear. If you’re looking for some books to read or want something to recommend to your teenagers, you can also consider Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells, and Tentacle by Rita Indiana. On the other hand, you can also look for nature documentaries if you prefer watching TV together.
If you’re looking to lower your carbon footprint as a family, you’ll be glad to know that there are various ways you can do that. From teaching your kids about the environment and spending more time in nature to cutting down on your water and energy use, there are always things you can do to help the planet.