Why Look At Parenting Ideas For Sustainable Living
The term ‘sustainable living” is certainly a catchphrase at the moment. With climate change being over-shadowed only by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to look at ways that we can “reduce, re-use and recycle”.
Most families are eager to make environmentally-friendly choices. The problem is that they often either don’t know how, or, they find that going down an alternative path is much more expensive.
What we have to understand is that our children today are the leaders of tomorrow. Especially in the war against climate change. It is important that we lead by example to show our children how to live more sustainably.
We have to start to look at the world that we are living in now. What will our planet look like for our children’s children, or their children if we don’t start to change the way we are living?
Sustainable living requires parents to get creative. We need to come up with our best parenting ideas to teach children that the choices we make now will impact the way our planet functions in the future.
What Is Sustainable Living
The idea of sustainable living is to try and lead a life that has minimal impact on the environment. What this means is that you live your life to reduce the use of natural resources. Living sustainably is reducing your personal environmental damage.
It can mean not buying or using products that aren’t made sustainably. Or, it can mean changing how you do things so that you are actually putting back into the natural resource pot. By this I mean the thousands of people who are growing their own vegetables, keeping chickens and using recycled products.
Thank goodness, there has even been a mass movement to increase the numbers of beehives around the world. This came about because of a massive death of bees. Bees are essential to pollenate all our food-producing plants.
Without bees, we would have no food!
Is Sustainable Living A New Idea?
You might think climate change and environmental impact are relatively new terms. But you would be wrong.
If you look back to the “hippie” era of the 60s there was a whole generation pushing back against their parents’ ideas. This generation wanted to get back in touch with nature and slow down the rush of using machines for everything.
They also wanted to stop the “use once and throw away” society they lived in and get back to a more sustainable living lifestyle.
One of the earliest pioneers in the sustainable living movement was an iconic folk singer who was born in 1919. Pete Seeger wrote many famous songs and re-emerged in the 60s as an environmental activist.
“If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production.” – Pete Seeger
Sustainable Living – Our Best Parenting Ideas
We have put together our best parenting ideas on how to live sustainably as a family plus to reduce our footprint. It was also important to us to put some money back in your pocket at the same time!
Isn’t that the best parenting idea you have heard in a long time??
Buy Kids Clothes Used
Recycling isn’t just for garbage day, it’s for back-to-school shopping and every other day. There are so many budget-friendly options that will help the environment.
Our number one best parenting idea to save money and make life more sustainable is to not buy all your kids’ clothes new.
Take a look at used clothing shops online, at thrift stores, garage sales, and even start a hand-me-down cycle. This could include your family, group of friends, or school community to pass on quality clothes that are in good shape.
A top parenting idea here is to find a friend or two with children just slightly older than yours. You will have a continual supply of pre-loved clothing to pre-teen years as your friends child is a size or two above yours. This is sustainable living at its best – and the way it used to be.
Sustainable living means that even replacing a few staple items with gently used ones will make a huge difference.
Simply put, when you reycle something it will save on the energy used and pollution created during the making, packaging, and delivery of said item.
Even as parents there are many ways to buy second-hand clothing. Either on-line or at markets, the best idea is to look for quality, durable staples as this makes for a versatile wardrobe with less pieces.
Think how much this will put back in your wallet!!!
Buy In Bulk
Back when our parents were young, this was how things were. Most people lived on the land and only went into to “town” occasionally.
The simple truth was that they grew most of what they used, and whatever they had to buy, they bought in bulk.
One of the greatest parenting ideas we have seen recently is the return of bulk-buying. You have to love the impact this is having on our environment and appreciate the sustainable living virtues it instills in families.
How this works is that friends or neighbours get together and form a co-operative of sorts where they bulk buy staples and share between the members.
The purchasing member will use their own bulk containers and each member then brings their container to take their portion. Think about how much packaging you save doing your shopping this way.
You have all seen the images of the mountains of plastic waste floating in our oceans and those of the sea creatures who have died wrapped in debris.
To save our wildlife by reducing things that we throw away. And to teach that to our children. That has to be one of the best parenting ideas recently brought up that shows our kids what sustainable living means.
Re-Use Your Containers
Many countries have banned the single-use plastic bag. Even Bali got on board with the idea last year!
Research has shown that plastic water bottles, plastic bags, plastic straws and coffee cups are the worst offenders when it comes to land fill.
In Australia recently a national TV program War On Waste, echoed our sustainable living parenting ideas. The shows main focus was education and how to replace these “throw-away” items.
There are many re-usable shopping bags on the market, from calico to hessian, and hundreds of alternatives to the take-a-way coffee cup. An entire market has emerged around re-usable water bottles.
Through ingenious parenting ideas, we have seen bamboo and steel straws enter the market which in time will reduce plastic straws and make a huge impact on our ability to live sustainably.
Taking the car is expensive. Not only is there the cost of fuel, there is maintenance costs – service, repair, tyres and on it goes.
Here’s a great parenting idea that not only means living sustainably, it also means you will save a ton of money!!!
Drag your runners out of the back of the closet, lace them up and lets get walking!!! Our parents walked A LOT more than we do.
In the 50’s and 60’s families only owned 1 car! Shocking I know!! Traditionally, Dad would drive to work and the kids would either walk to school or catch the bus.
If Mum needed to go into town to buy supplies or run errands, she usually had to walk – case in point of why they bought in bulk.
Think about it:
You save money by only having one car. Registration, insurance, parking, maintenance costs and fuel for 1 car only!
Your fitness will improve and you will be healthier because you will be walking much more. So will your children!
Even if you take the bus, you are still living more sustainably. Because you are using less fossil fuels, you improve the quality of the air we all breathe.
Wearing out a pair of runners is way cheaper than wearing out your tyres.
Can you think of a better way to show some initiative as a parent and teach your children this amazing idea of sustainable living?
Look For Alternative Products
In researching this article, we found some fantastic products. Sure, some may require a greater outlay at first, but are much better for the environment and budget over time.
Reusable produce bags and plastic wrap alternatives are available for purchase online and in a lot of stores.
Some great parenting ideas for sustainable living involve washable cloths that can be used in place of paper towels, and cloth napkins in place of paper ones.
Invest in some solid lunch containers and fun, funky reusable coffee mugs and water bottles that last years instead of hours.
While some people may be a little reluctant about this change, this one sustainable living tip is a great idea. By purchasing a reusable menstrual cup (Diva cup) I no longer have to purchase tampons/pads each month and nothing is going into a landfill.
Get creative and trade out one reusable product for a disposable one each month and see how it feels!
How are you reducing your family’s environmental footprint?
We have many great articles to help you on your parenting journey. We hope you enjoy them!
You could also check out our article; Tips For Parents: Spring Cleaning, Recycling, and Charity.
Sara is a freelance writer, award winning parenting blogger, and public relations specialist from Toronto, Canada. She is mother to fraternal girl/boy twins, loves music, hiking, and offbeat pop culture.