Thursday, February 19, 2009

Building a Support System for Your Green Lifestyle

A Green Lifestyle:

If You Build It, They Will Come

Making the choice to live greener is more than taking your reusable bags to the grocery store and changing your light bulbs out to CFLs. That's a good start, but it won't bring you and us the results we need to clean up the Earth. I can't write the whole book today, but I can give you a few more tips on how to move forward with your efforts.

Most importantly, building a lifestyle of living more green will set the stage for new habits and simpler living. You have to start small and gradually add new habits, in order to reap the benefits and see success along the way. I've seen a few people jump in too quickly, making major lifestyle changes that suddenly they found they could not handle. Take it slowly and build gradually. As with any change (diet, stopping smoking, etc.) it always pays off to take baby steps toward your big goal. Here's some suggestions for getting the ball rolling:

  • Realize that anything your children are involved in, you will be involved in. Choose wisely.

  • When offering possible activities to your children, include those that build on good Eco habits, like Girl Scouts, for example.

  • Encourage your children's efforts in any area that will save the Earth. Their successes will build their confidence and therefore, their interest in similar activities.

  • Engage your kids in Spring cleaning with you, assigning each tasks that are age appropriate. An older child can locate recycling facilities by using Freecycle, Craig's List, Terracycle and Earth911; while a younger child can sort items: clothing, toys, electronics, etc. Each can contribute in their own way.

  • Plan vacations and outings around an Earth Friendly theme, involving children in the research, planning and decision making.

  • Label containers for broken or spent items that must be taken to recycling facilities, and use these as sorting locations throughout the year. Items like fluorescent light bulbs, batteries, electronics, small appliances, unusable paint, dangerous chemicals, expired medications (out of children's reach) all can be recycled and should not be disposed of in landfills.

  • Have a Spring cleaning day in each child's room. Afterwards, hold a brainstorming session on new ways each discarded item might be used. How much landfill space did you save?

  • Encourage science projects that involve Earth science. So much about caring for the Earth can be learned by testing of various components of our planet. Things like water, air, soil and produce can all be tested for toxins and other environmental hazards. How did they get there?

How did the toxins get into the vegetables? There's a subject for another post. I'll be back with that later.

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