Back in the day, and when I say "in the day", I mean before having children (lol).... protecting the environment was something that I thought I was doing when I recycled our empty pop cans. Sure, recycling is important, but in among the busy life of a young professional, I did not give it much more thought than that.
It was only after having my first baby that I realized just how much trash we were creating. Living on a small reserve in Manitoba while my husband was busy at work as a police officer, I spent my days as a new mother feeding my young son, changing his diapers, napping and cuddling with him, and GATHERING UP THE TRASH. I kid you not, we created two bags of garbage a day. It bothered me, but as I went back to work only a couple of months after my son was born, I again, did not have much time to give it some serious thought.... because as you know...
....developing a green lifestyle takes time, research, and a lot of effort! This is a problem...
After we moved up to northern manitoba and we decided that I would be a SAHM following the birth of my second child, I decided it was time to take my position as mother seriously. And one of those things was NOT protecting the environment. HAHA! Sorry, did I get you excited there?? The thing that I did take seriously, however, was our pocket book. It was time to learn how to save money!!
I went to work researching how we could save money while we struggled to pay our bills and adjust to life as a single family income. One of the first articles I read was how we could save thousands of dollars by cloth diapering. This, I thought, was something I could do. So after a discussion with my husband and consulting numerous online forums and *gasp* finding out that I actually had a network of friends already cloth diapering their babies, we decided to take the leap and start cloth diapering. It was a wonderful experience, and I could write article after article about it, but what I want to focus on is one amazing thing.
Literally, overnight, we cut our garbage in half. It was both exciting and satisfying to see our waste reduced so drastically.
But it didn't end there. Of course, as most of you cloth diapering mothers know, it was only the beginning of learning how to live a greener lifestyle. We used cloth wipes for everything from wiping bums to wiping noses (not at the same time lol). We began to reuse and refurbish items around the house, recycled everything we could, and started to eat locally grown and organic foods (as much as possible of course!). Adopting a greener lifestyle had became important to us, and even though we still have a lot of work to do to ensure that our family does their part, I was proud of the progress we had made!
As parents, we spend a lot of time teaching our children to mind their manners, correct their behavior, and so on.... and I believe it is equally important to teach them basic science principles about our Earth and how each facet of our environment is connected.
Just as it is a priority to nurture our children's mind, body and spirit, so should we nurture their responsibility to protect our planet.
This is not something that you will read in any parenting books, but with the state of emergency our environment is currently under, I believe that teaching these basic principles will help to make living a greener lifestyle NORMAL for our next generation, and not something that requires so much effort and research to understand.
Little Green Blog wrote a great article about some tips on teaching your children about the environment. Check it out here!
Let us know what you think and please share some ideas on how we can teach our children to love and protect our environment.