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Category Archives: Eco Living

4 Easy Steps to Raising Earth Conscious Kids

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The environmental impact of raising a child in a western country is like 10 times greater than raising a child in a developing nation (I’m not entirely sure on that statistic, but you know what I mean). Our kids eat more, they have more stuff, own more clothes, they waste more and travel more than kids ever have before. I personally know many people who have made the choice not to have children mainly because they feel guilty about the carbon footprint their offspring leave behind.

I’ve realized that teaching children to care for the environment goes beyond telling them to switch off the lights when they leave the room or taking shorter showers. It goes beyond using cloth nappies and toilet training early. It’s about creating long-term environmentally conscious citizens of the planet. Its about every one of us contributing to a solution.

1. Teach children about consumerism.

It’s nice to buy second hand toys and clothes, but tell kids why you’re doing it. Yes, you save money, but you’re also recycling! And, when you buy something new, where will it be in a week? A month? A year? Where did the thing you’re buying come from? Do you really need it? Was it made ethically or not? Who made it and in which country was it manufactured in? There’s some great topics of conversation here. What you’re doing in the long run is educating little conscious consumers by bringing up these questions. You don’t need to overwhelm kids and guilt trip them every time they want sometime. But, it’s good to raise their awareness.

2. Eat less meat and grow a veggie patch and buy local.

Kids are naturally curious about their food. The meat (and dairy) industry is estimated to contribute about 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Believe it or not, scientists say that the meat and dairy industry contributes more to global green house gasses than the automobile industry! Plus, there is a lot of waste produced by farming animals. Even people who reduced their consumption of meat, significantly reduced their carbon footprint. Eating vegetarian food is really easy these days. Our family is vegetarian and it’s really no biggie. Also, kids LOVE growing food. It’s not about being able to grow enough food to make it worthwhile, it’s more about planting the seed of consumer awareness. Even a small veggie patch can produce a lot of food. And, I’ve grown a lot on just my balcony. Or, see if your town has a community garden. Kids who play and work outside have a greater respect for the planet too.

3. Take up less ‘space’.

We’re a 5 person family and we live in a 2 bedroom apartment in a town. By living where we do, we take up less space and leave more space for wildlife and nature. We have less paved surface areas (like driveways) because we share our living space (our building) with 9 other families. I know not everyone is jumping up and down to squash their family into a small apartment, and many people already have their homes, but how much space do human beings really need? The dream always seem to be a bigger house. But, do we need a bigger house to fit everything? Or, maybe do we just need to get rid of some stuff we already have and we would fit comfortably in the space we’re already using.

4. Cultivate a sense of sharing and belongingness.

When my kids ask me for the last bite of my food, that I was looking forward to eating, I usually give it to them. Why? Because I want them to feel like ‘what’s mine is yours’. When they’re about to finish the last cookie, they’ve learned to first ask everyone if it’s ok if they have the last one, and if not, they break it into pieces to share. Of course, it doesn’t always happen as beautifully as that, but that’s general idea. When we see a piece of trash on the beach, we pick it up. If there’s a community service clean-up project we can get involved with, we sign up. If we see someone who needs help, we stop to see what we can do.

Sharing and belonging are what every human being craves in this world. We all want connection and understanding. We all want to know that we are all sharing the same responsibilities. Caring for the environment starts with that feeling of belonging to the whole world and to all the people who live here! If kids are raised with a sense of connection and belonging, there’s no way they can grow up to trash the planet.

7 Reasons Why I Won’t Be Celebrating Earth Day Until 2027

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I started writing this informative Earth Day post on how it’s easy to teach your kids to be eco friendly. It’s easy, I was writing, all you have to do are a few simple things to help reduce you and your children’s carbon foot print!

Eat less meat, turn the tap off… teach your children about consumerism.

Then, this morning, my 4 1/2 year old asked me for *the* fluffy dress from H&M. We saw *the* fluffy orange dress about 8 months ago, and she still remembers it. I told her, “But, you already have like 10 fluffy dresses… your dress-up drawer doesn’t even close! Why do you need another one?!” I took down the globe and I explained to her about the consumer chain of production. Where do the raw materials come from? Who makes the dress? How does it get to Australia? I took about 3 minutes to explain it, and she listened attentively. Then, she replied, “I still want the dress.”

What a joke. So, here’s seven reasons why I won’t be celebrating Earth Day until my son, who is a baby, is at least 10 years old.

  1. My kids stand in front of the open fridge for at least 18 minutes a day.
    You think I haven’t told them to close the fridge a hundred times? No, that’s right, because I’ve told them a thousand times.
  2. They take showers with both the hot and cold water running full blast.
    I’ve explained it before, yes, the water pressure is great when you do that… but who’s going to pay for the hot water?! ME AND MOTHER EARRRRTTTTHHHH!!!!
  3. Children are reckless consumers. 
    They want Elsa dresses, even though they already have at least 7. They want the sheet of ten stickers that are in a package the size of a cereal box because it looks big! They want the crappy plastic crap thing that I tell them will be in the garbage in a month… just because they want it. There’s no reasoning with maniacs.
  4. Going to the shops = Buying SOMETHING
    They don’t care what it is, but they have to buy something. ANYTHING! You cannot leave empty handed (of course we do most of the time). And heaven forbid the other one gets something and they don’t. I know you’re sitting there thinking that it’s my fault because I trained them to be this way. But, I promise, pinky swear, I’ve done everything I could to make them conscious consumers. But, it’s this force deep within them… THEY NEED SOMETHING! My 7 year old is sort of starting to get it… sort of…
  5. They waste food.
    Babies and toddlers especially. The baby literally throws food on the floor… at least when I forget to pick it up, he gets it later when he’s commando crawling around. Let’s not forget when they beg to put extra soy sauce on their food, then won’t finish their plate. I try to salvage the food and eat it myself, while my taste buds are burning from excess salt, trying to ignore the fact that they’ve made the food completely inedible. I’m doing it for you, Mother Earth *fist bump*. The thermos I found from last week, full of food and the leftovers I had to throw away because I forgot to put them away at night while I was wrangling kids to bed… I’m sorry Mother Earth.
  6. Disposables, Cloth and Laundry
    I thought having an extra child would mean that the amount of clothing I wash would only go up by 1/3. But, actually, the amount of washing I do has quadrupled. Scientists haven’t figured this one out yet. And even though I actually take my babies to the toilet (it’s called elimination communication), I still have to do a load of cloth nappies, plus all the other dirty, slobbery, food laden, baby vomit drenched clothes and sheets, every day. When I get tired of washing cloth nappies, I have the stash of disposables… which gets thrown away and stays underground for the next 5,000 years. Toilet training them early helps, yes… but I still couldn’t look my boss in the eyes, when she once told me that she decided not to have kids because of their environmental impact…
  7. The Boogie Man
    My kids leave the lights on in the other room at night because *IF* they have to go into that room, they need the lights to be on well and truly before they get there. If those lights are not on because I turned them off, and I happen to be reclining down in a comfortable position, I then have to get up off my carcass and turn the lights on for them… So, I let them leave the lights on (some of them).

P.S. The paper my daughter is holding is a picture of Donald Trump’s head photoshopped onto the head of an eagle who is pooping poo emojis over a famous Australian beach. My Read the rest of this entry

Dear Cotton, Oh Where Did You Go?!

When will the open shoulder sleeves go out of fashion? Soon please.

It’s summer. It’s Australia. It’s hot. After a big wardrobe cull last year and spending the better part of the year either pregnant or post partum, my wardrobe has been depleted, so I dragged the kids to the shops and began searching for a few cotton shirts to replenish what had been stretched out, puked on or torn.

I know that with a baby in the house, there’s no point in buying anything nice. Kmart, Target, Big W…. that was my scope at first. I mean, you can almost always find your basic cotton shirts there, right? And, with three kids in tow, I wanted to do a quick in and out, but I soon realised that I wasn’t going to easily find what I was looking for. Everything I found was either made from polyester, polyester/cotton blend or viscose. Hmmm… no thanks. I mean, in summer?! Read the rest of this entry

Stop Everything. Some People Don’t Rinse the Soap Off Their Dishes!?

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For years I ignored it. It just couldn’t be. In the staff room, after lunch, those soapy dishes left in the drying rack… I mean, surely, someone was going to come along and rinse them, right? The soapy residue taste when I ate a friend’s house… well, I must have been imagining it.

Head.in.the.sand.

When I moved to Australia seven years ago, everything was new anyways, so what was a little soap on the dishes?

When you witness something that’s borderline sketchy…. what do you do?

I dared not speak up. Read the rest of this entry

How to Naturally Clean a Carpet Without a Steam Cleaner

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When you’re on a single income and you don’t have the money to buy or rent a steam cleaner, it’s pretty much up to elbow grease to get your carpet clean. Seriously, you must get down and dirty. You’re gonna have to get on your hands and knees and scrub. You’ll get sweaty. You’ll feel sore the next day. You’ll get a workout! But, your carpet will be clean.

*This post is only for getting general dirt and light stains off a carpet Read the rest of this entry

Is Your Bra Toxic? Five Easy Tips for Healthy Boobies

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Don’t worry, this is not an invitation for a bra bonfire party (although we can have one if you want, our boobs might be happier that way). Read the rest of this entry

The Toxic Truth About What’s in Your Child’s Clothing (And Easy Things You Can Do About it)

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My kids have never worn ‘pajamas‘. Let me tell you why. Read the rest of this entry

Certified Organic Babywearing Fabric and Baby Slings: Colimacon & Cie Review and Giveaway!

 

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C’est la meilleur! (It’s the best!)

When I first started making my own Do-It-Yourself baby ring slings and baby wraps, I bought fabric from the local fabric shop. While the fabric was ok to get me started, when I still had an itty bitty baby, it was actually not as cheap as I had intended, and was not very good once my baby started getting heavier.  The thought also crossed my mind several times that the fabric from the fabric shop was ‘made in China‘, so was probably not ethically sourced and could potentially contain chemicals and heavy metals from the processing practices! I wanted to find something of better quality that was still affordable, and this is when (insert angels singing) I found Colimacon & Cie! Read the rest of this entry

What You Ought to Know About Your Kid’s Bath Toys

Innocent looking bath toys? Thank again!

Innocent looking bath toys? Think again!

I’m a science teacher… I know that if you take a swab of anything (even a relatively clean surface) and grow a culture of it, you’re going to get some pretty gnarly stuff sprouting in a petri dish. I’m not a germ-a-phobe… but I have to say, my  kid’s bath toys have been suspicious to me for a long time, so I did a little research and found out why. Read the rest of this entry

Why I Wouldn’t Go on the Paleo Diet in a Million Years

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Imagine powered by Katesurf’s Sharpie marker

For a while, I felt left out… out of the loop… But, I just couldn’t buy into the whole Paleo diet, and now I know why.   Read the rest of this entry