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How to be more environmentally friendly as a family

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Environmental awareness will be taught to your children at various stages of their schooling and it’s something that they may become interested in getting involved with. It is also something that everyone can play a part in, no matter how small and because it is about future generations the role of the family is important. How can your family be more environmentally friendly?

Environmentalists are concerned about two things, climate change and our dependence on fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal. If you take a couple of minutes to sit back and consider how much of our world activities are dependant on oil such as transporting food, domestic heating and the construction of machinery it’s quite frightening to imagine a future when the supplies are no longer there.

One of the dangers of the threats of global warming is of becoming overwhelmed and despondent. There are countless stories each week of decreasing species, declining forests and threats to our natural resources of clean water and air. It is important to monitor the amount and quality of information that your family is exposed to so that you remain informed to an extent that is manageable and constructive.

Save our planet

Where to start with being environmentally friendly?

A good start is to consider how you can foster strong relationships for your children with the natural world. Many young people do not have regular access to woods and fields anymore and there is a risk of developing a disconnection to the rest of life. If you are unable to get your kids into nature very often there are other ways that you can bring awareness into their lives.

Certain television programmes cover these issues in thoughtful and imaginative ways, Sesame Street and Yo Gabba Gabba are two shows aimed at young children that have incorporated green themes in their messages.

As kids get older there are plenty of shows on the discovery channel that support children to sustain their feeling of connection to the natural world and other animals, a relationship that is often very present in the young and that can fade with age. Programmes like Man versus Wild explore issues of wilderness living and surviving in the wild and this provides a great antidote to city life and celebrity culture!

For older children, little beats David Attenborough for both the information and inspiration of the natural world.

Practicalities

On a practical level there are loads of steps that you can take to do your bit to reduce carbon emissions. Limit your use of plastic bags and plastic altogether; carrier bags are often made from a plastic that can take hundreds of years to break down into the soil. Buy a funky recycled re-usable bag instead. Return to a lifestyle of DIY! Roll up your sleeves and get baking, making repairing and fixing. We have created a throwaway culture where landfill is increasing. Show your children how to repair things and give them the opportunity to feel the satisfaction of understanding how something works and how to fix a problem. Discover the thrill of charity shopping! Instead of buying a dress that several others will also be wearing this year, get an original and unique item for a quarter of the price. Buy and sell on eBay and have a garage sale outside of your house!

o bike to work environmentally friendly

Look into alternative products for some of the biggest culprits of toxic waste and items that take forever to break down. Think about nappies, sanitary towels and toiletries and research alternatives, these will be good for your bodies and good for the earth.  Think about your travel and use public transport where possible; invest in rail cards to save money and know that as a family you are reducing your dependence on fuel. Get your kids out on their bikes and teach them road sense and basic bike maintenance skills. Lots of cities are offering free bike maintenance classes which again can be an empowering and fun activity.

Have discussions around the dinner table about creative ideas to save energy, think about changing to greener energy suppliers, have showers instead of baths and grow your own food! Even a window box with some herbs is a contribution and can be a delight of a hobby to share in with young children. Educate your children about the real cost of having the latest gadgets and fashions, the amount of oil that is used in their production and transportation and model environmental awareness in your own decisions and choices. Think about how much meat your family eats and consider whether you want to continue to support the huge farming operations that have to take place in order to grow food for cattle.

Most of all make your projects fun, focus on one thing a time and increase your levels of Green over time!

June watering garden

 

 

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About Jenny Smith

About Jenny Smith

Jenny Smith is a freelance writer and facilitator specialising in mental health, well-being and ecotherapy. She writes for National Mind and The Working Parent and facilitates training in the Work that Reconnects and Ecotherapy. She is inspired by nature, gardening, love and non-duality teachings

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