Earthwise - Green Living / From the Editor

Earth Concious – Modeling Good Practice and Getting Kids to Help

Modeling Good Practice and Getting Kids to Help

If we want our children to be individuals who are conscious about the Earth and know how to conserve its resources, we must set the example ourselves. As a parent, you have the best chance of reaching your child with this message, since you are the one who will likely spend more time with them in their childhood than any other person. There are so many things to do though and so many things to consider. Where should you start?

Being Earth Conscious in the Bathroom

The bathroom is the room that almost everyone thinks of when someone mentions conserving the Earth’s resources at home. Because of all the water (and electricity) that is used within it, it is a great place to think of first. Being conscious about the amount of water you use in the bathroom comes in many forms. Have a shower instead of a bath, as this saves large amounts of water. If you are going to have a bath, try to save it for a special treat instead of having one every day. When you do finally have one, don’t fill it to the top. Instead, fill it up halfway and only add more water if you need it.

There are other ways to save water around the bathroom as well. When you brush your teeth, turn the water off every time. Don’t leave it running and then assume all will be well since it is only for a short time. Every little bit of conservation helps. If every person would hold to this one simple water-saving habit, it would save a great amount of water over time in each and every home. Don’t flush the toilet needlessly, and don’t use the toilet to flush things like tissue paper that you only blew your nose into… use the garbage instead.

When you are choosing body products such as makeup and shampoo, stick to products from companies that are kind to the Earth when creating them. Buy large bottles of shampoo and conditioner when necessary, instead of small containers that use more plastic in the long run. Keep in mind that products that are friendly to the Earth are also often more friendly to our own health, so avoid lotions, toothpastes and other products that are filled with chemicals. Buy those that have ingredients that promote health instead of destroying it.

Use your towels more than once instead of washing them every time you use them. You can use the same towel for several days as long as you let it dry completely in between uses. As an alternative, you can keep two towels per person and rotate, so that you use the first towel for your daily shower, the second one for the next, the first one for the third day, and so on.

Being Earth Conscious in the Living Area

Are you like many families who have a huge collection of electronics in the living room? And are you aware that when items such as television and stereos are plugged in, they are using energy – even when the power is off? Plug your cords into a power strip and turn it off when not in use.

Put blackout blinds on your windows that will keep out the heat in the summer, and hold the heat in when needed in the winter. When you are in the living room enjoy your time there, but when you leave the room, turn off all lights and entertainment. There is no need to keep every room in the house waiting for your return. By simply turning lights off when exiting the living room and every other room in your home, you can cut down your electricity bill substantially.

Being Earth Conscious in the Kitchen

Be earth conscious in your kitchen. A lot of unnecessary water and electricity is used in this room alone. Let us begin with our dishes. Almost every new dishwasher has an energy saver cycle, so use it. Own enough dishes so that you are able to wait until the dishwasher is full before running it, instead of running the dishwasher every time you run out of plates or cutlery. When washing dishes by hand, or rinsing, run a certain amount of water in the sink, and then turn on the tap only when actively rinsing a dish. Stop unnecessary water use.

Fill up your garbage bags before taking out the trash. If you find you are taking out half-filled garbage bags, then buy smaller ones so that you are not needlessly wasting plastic every time. Be thoughtful about the number of items you are throwing out.

Recycle containers and all else as much as possible. If you feel like you are throwing out a needless amount of waste, reconsider the brands of food you are buying. And instead of throwing away scraps of fruits and vegetables, consider attempting to compost your leftovers for the garden. Your old scraps can turn any garden into a rich and healthy environment with not much effort on your part.

Choose to centre your diet around whole foods and plenty of produce. Avoid packaged foods. This accomplishes two things. First of all, you will not waste packaging. Second, it is better for your body and health. Talk about these things out loud while in the grocery store with your children, asking questions about whether certain brands use recyclable packages, and whether there is a better alternative. By making these conversations a normal, day-to-day part of your children’s lives, it will prepare them to think about and make decisions about the same things when they have homes of their own.

Don’t use lights just because they are there. Do you really need to keep the light on in the oven while cooking food? Save it for a quick peek when you believe the food may be done. Cut out things that are not needed, nor fulfilling any purpose. When you are eating, keep the light above your table on but dim the rest. This sets a cozy atmosphere and saves a small amount of energy.

When you make muffins and other baking, turn off the oven a few minutes before the time is up, and simply leave them to finish cooking in the oven with the heat that is left. As you experiment, you will find more and more ways that work for you and that get the job done even when saving electricity.

Then there is food. So many of us wish to keep our cupboards and fridges full just in case of an emergency. But how often do we really need to have everything on hand at once? When you go grocery shopping, try buying just a few fruits and vegetables instead of every type in the store. And buy fewer of each kind. Instead of a bag full of apples, buy only two. This will prevent extras from rotting, which wastes money as well as food that could have been given to someone who truly needed it.

Appliances in the kitchen are another culprit. These energy-sucking devices can all be unplugged when not in use. This prevents a small but continual drain of energy from each one. Even toasters and coffee makers will use energy when they are plugged in, regardless of whether the power switch is set to “on” or “off.” When you are at a time in life that you need to purchase a fridge and freezer, buy an energy efficient model. This can save your energy bill substantially over time.

Being Earth Conscious in the Laundry Room

Start things off by purchasing a front loading, energy-efficient washer and dryer. Fill them up with clothing when using them, instead of wasting an entire cycle for a few items. Mix your loads so that you can put as many items in as you can fit.

When it comes to laundry detergent, choose an environmentally responsible kind. The detergent you use ends up in our water supply, so choose wisely. Avoid chemicals and choose a natural, non-toxic type. If your climate or the size of your home allows it, hang your laundry to dry when possible instead of using the dryer.

 

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