I’m all about convenience. As a working mom, the last thing I need is more work.
But I also want to help save the planet. I’ve seen the look on my kids’ faces as they beg to “go outside” so they can bask in the sunshine and enjoy the fresh air (or in their words, ride bikes and rollerskate). Watching them enjoy our world has reminded me that we’ve been entrusted with its care from the very beginning. Raising kids also motivates me to think about how my actions are impacting the well-being of the planet for future generations.
When you think about what it takes to protect the environment, it can seem overwhelming. But the truth is you can make a significant impact on the planet without drastically changing your overall lifestyle.
These simple swaps in your daily life will make a huge difference without a lot of time or money. They’ll also give your kids a great model for sustainable living that they can carry on for years to come. Making the environment a “family value” is a great way to encourage your family to work together and make a difference as a team.
Use this handy Carbon Footprint Calculator from the EPA to see how you’re doing so far and get some practical tips to improve!
10 Super Simple Ways to Help Save the Planet
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1. Buy local.
This is one of my favorite ways to support the environment. There are SO many benefits to buying local produce, meat, eggs & dairy products (or even just some of these).
A few key benefits:
- Reduces emissions from transport trucks, because your food is only traveling a few miles instead of a few thousand to get to you.
- Cuts down on plastic packaging, since not as much is needed for local travel or an in-person purchase.
- Supports local (and often small) businesses in your very own community!
- Gives You the Ability to choose farmers who are using good growing practices, limiting or eliminating pesticides, and practicing the humane treatment of animals.
- Educates your kids on where food comes from and why it matters.
- Tastes delicious. Have I mentioned how good locally sourced ice cream is?
How do I buy local?
A simple google search or asking friends on social media is a great place to start! Look for local farmers’ markets in season, CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) programs, local farms, and grocery stores or markets that offer locally sourced options. It’s okay to start small! Choose one item, like eggs, and find a place to get them locally. You can even buy a month’s worth at a time! I promise you’ll be hooked in no time.
2. Convert to paperless bills.
Most banks, credit card companies, and other organizations now offer “paperless” options. Taking a few minutes to go online and click “paperless” or give them a call will not only make for a healthier planet, but it will cut down on clutter in your own home! If you’re worried about missing something, you can always set up automated payments or alerts via text or email to make sure you pay bills on time.
3. Go meatless once a week.
Did you know that one of the best things you can do to cut down on emissions and waste is to eat less meat? Meatless Monday (or whichever day you want) is a simple strategy that’s good for your family’s health AND the environment.
Here’s one of our favorite meatless recipes (even my 2-year old loves it): Peanut Bowls.
4. Plant a tree.
One of the most beneficial things you can do for the planet is to plant trees. Whether that’s on your own property, where you work, or by supporting organizations who are doing it around the world, it’s powerful. Trees work to filter the air, cut pollution, create oxygen for us to breathe, help prevent flooding, provide homes for wildlife and so much more!
Planting a tree as a family is also a great way to create memories, learn about the environment or honor lost loved ones.
5. Skip the straw (or bring your own).
According to the EPA, straws are one of the “most littered plastic items,” causing them to end up all sorts of places they shouldn’t be and harming sea creatures and wildlife. Just say “no thanks” the next time you’re asked if you want a straw. If you just can’t do without one, try these instead. A straw cleaner makes them easy to keep clean and they even go in the dishwasher!
6. Buy a reusable water bottle (and if you love good-tasting water, a Berkey too).
There was a time when people scoffed at the idea of paying for water. Now, around the world, 1 million plastic bottles of water are purchased PER MINUTE. That blows my mind.
Switching to a reusable water bottle is a small swap that can make a big difference.
If you’re like me and you hate the taste of tap water, I cannot recommend the Berkey water filter enough! I put off buying one for a long time because the upfront investment felt high. But the quality of water it puts out is incredible.
We live in a 100-year-old home and I can’t vouch for the pipes or the quality of the tap water itself. With the Berkey, I love knowing my family is drinking water that is free from heavy metals, pesticides, viruses, bacteria, and tons of other harmful contaminants. The Berkey not only filters out 99.99% of contaminants, but it even makes our coffee taste great (a huge deal for me). It’s SO worth the initial investment and will actually save you a ton of money in the long run vs. buying bottled water.
7. Clean your dryer lint trap (and vent) regularly.
It may not seem like much, but cleaning out your dryer lint trap each time you use it and regularly cleaning the vent itself will help your dryer use significantly less energy. It also helps prevent house fires.
8. Buy secondhand clothing.
This is another one of my favorite ways to help the planet! Did you know that the fashion industry produces almost 20% of waste water around the globe? Not to mention that people are buying way more clothing than ever before and keeping it for only a fraction of the time they used to. If you want to start making a difference environmentally AND in helping combat slave labor, consider changing up the way you buy clothes.
There are so many great resources now to make it easy!
7 Places to Find Cute Used Clothing for Kids or Adults on Any Budget:
- Thrift stores
- Resale shops
- Online buy/sell/trade groups
- Facebook Marketplace
- Websites like thredup.com
- Clothing swaps with friends
9. Bring a reusable bag to the grocery store.
Plastic bags, since most of them can’t be recycled, are a huge contributor to the global waste issue and a real threat to marine life in particular. Buying a couple of cute bags like these and keeping them in your trunk between grocery store trips is an easy way to cut down on trash.
10. Turn the water off while you brush your teeth.
Little habits like this seem so simple but make a big impact. A typical faucet running wastes about 2 gallons of water per minute. Just one person in your family turning the water off during tooth brushing can save over 1,000 gallons of water per year.
Generations to Come
Taking care of the earth is a form of stewardship. Just because you can’t do everything, doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference. Even making small swaps like these above will have a snowball effect in the right direction. Not only are you protecting the planet, but you are raising your kids to do the same and thus creating a domino effect that will continue to benefit the environment for generations to come.
Like this post? You may also enjoy…
- Are We Raising Producers or Consumers?
- 5 Ways to Increase Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence
- 33 of the Best Experience Gifts for Kids & Families