We all want what's best for our
children -- and that includes protecting the world
they live in and the earth that they are growing
up in. However, not all of us are able to give
up our gasoline-powered cars or install solar
panels in our home. Not yet anyway... As busy
moms, we need green living to be as viable as
possible. And guess what? It is! It really only
takes small changes and little bits of effort
to make a difference. At Greenmom, we aim to provide
moms and families with tools and means for making
these gradual changes. And believe us -- if we
can do it, so can you! Here are some really easy
steps that you can take right now towards a more
sustainable everyday life and future:
Goodbye yellow incandescents!
If you walk down our street at night, ours will
be the home with glowing white-light-lit windows.
We replaced all our incandescent bulbs with Energy
Star compact fluorescent bulbs that we bought
at Home Depot. They last longer (up to 10x longer!),
use up to 75% less electricity, are brighter,
emit less heat, and greatly reduce greenhouse
gases. Best of all, all you need to do is make
the trip to Home Depot or The Superstore and buy
the light bulbs! After you count the number of
bulbs that you need first, of course. And just
in case you're wondering what difference your
switching to CFLs will really make in this world,
Natural Resources Canada reports that "...if
every household in Canada (is) to replace only
one incandescent bulb per household with ENERGY
STAR-qualified CFLs, Canadians could save more
than $73 million in energy costs each year."
Click here for more information on CFLs from the
Ministry of Energy
Walk, bike, hike or TTC
it with your kids! Until we can buy a
hybrid vehicle that is big enough for our family,
we continue to drive around in a gasoline-powered
vehicle. However, weather-permitting, we try to
walk, bike, hike or TTC. Given that we adults
need 10,000 steps a day for optimum health while
our kids need 12,000 (6-12 year old girls) to
15,000 (6-12 year old boys), walking does more
for us than get us from Point A to B. Make it
an adventure or walk/bike towards a fun destination!
By the time my daughter was 2 1/2, she had memorized
all the subway stops on the Yonge line. Taking
the train or the bus also allows for some quiet
(avoid rush hour!) and quality time for us to
talk with our kids too.
Say "NO, THANKS"
to plastic bags! Bring your own canvas
or cloth grocery bags or invest in the $0.99 bags
that some ecologically-aware stores offer. Costco
sells ginormous bags for $5.00...you get a free
work-out too trying to haul the full bags back
home! For a while there, I honestly tried to give
recycling the plastic bags a try - but they were
just coming in faster than I could use them for
garbage, packing up shoes, lunches and whatnot...
Take it a step further and say "NO, THANK
YOU" to plastic bags from any shop -- most
of us moms tote around bags big enough to hold
our children anyway so we might as well stuff
it with our shopping. Better yet, invest in some
compact “parachute bags” – foldable/rollable
nylon bags that you can keep in your purse. We
call them “parachute bags” because
when they unfold, they can hold not only our shopping,
but my daughter’s coat, hat, mitts, scarf,
and stainless steel water bottle as well.
Happily, our Ontario government
supports this initiative: "The provincial
government wants Ontarians to cut in half the
number of plastic shopping bags they use over
the next five years. Ontario is one of many jurisdictions
around the world trying to curb the growing number
of plastic bags, which are made from petroleum
products and take hundreds of years to break down."
(Kerry Gillespie, The Star, May 9, 2007)
Pack bagless snacks and
lunches and BYOW (Bring Your Own Water)!
Use re-usable containers instead of plastic wrap,
aluminum foil, parchment paper and Ziploc bags.
Aside from eliminating waste and litter, sandwiches
stay un-squished and so do pre-cut fruits and
veggies. Best to use lead-free containers and
safe plastics (#2, #4 and #5) too! Forego plastic
bottled water for your own gourmet home-tap water
in reusable water containers – we love our
stainless steel water bottles because they are
not only indestructible (great for kids!) but
they also never make our water taste funky.
Just a spoonful of dish
detergent makes magic with vinegar and water!
Cleaning has never been a passion of
mine and before I discovered the non-toxic joys
of using natural cleaners, I had a great excuse
to clean sparingly. Try these earth-friendly and