It is sometimes suggested that having children, and caring for the environment don’t go hand in hand, as the world is already overpopulated. Each person puts a strain upon on the earth’s resources simply by existing.
This is not a notion that I agree with. While the above thought process does have some logic in it – extra people means fewer resources – I think that for us to not have children – assuming we want them, of course – could also be dangerous. We are raising the next generation, and it is so important that are raised in awareness of the environment. In doing so, we may be able to raise a generation of people who put the environment first, without thinking about it twice.
While we are still new to eco-parenting, we have always been quite environmentally aware, and went into parenting with a firm idea of how we wanted to do things. The following five tips are just a few, straight forward suggestions for those that might be interested in joining us in our journey. You might even just pick one from the list to get you started, or it might give you ideas of other things you can do. Remember, the smallest change can help to make a difference!
- Buy/borrow secondhand – The road to having a baby comes with quite a large shopping list. Everyone has different ideas of what they will want or need, and that’s fine, but it doesn’t change the fact that will be some things that you will need. Whether it’s the basic things a baby will need, to the more luxurious items that aren’t a necessity but are fun. I think there is a little bit of pressure to buy brand new, especially for your first baby, however this shouldn’t be the case. Firstly, and most importantly, there are many second hand items out there that are like new, and they will be much cheaper than buying brand new. Secondly, the baby will have no idea if you bought new or second hand, so if for some reason (and I want to stress that is no reason that should feel this way) you do have any guilt about not buying something brand new, don’t. Buying every single thing brand new can be very wasteful. So, every time you think you need something new, think first. Can you borrow it? Have you looked on eBay, Facebook market place or the charity shops? Consider those avenues first. There are other options too.*
- Limit toys – You might wonder how this helps the environment, I did once. Think of it this way though – every toy, be it wooden or plastic, uses some form of resource. A lot of them come wrapped in plastic too. Limiting what we can buy avoids a lot of unwanted plastic, and other damage to the earth (plastic toys especially are harmful to make, and release harmful particles and chemicals). As an example of this, come Christmas, we firstly set each other spend limit to buy the children a few small gifts that the other doesn’t know about (our toddler is only just starting to get excited about Christmas, so this was to ensure we weren’t just wrapping up presents that we both new about for no one to be particularly excited, but this will have to change as they get older) and then we buy one main present between us, and a few stocking fillers. That’s it. We don’t often buy toys through the year – we do occasionally and of course we do for birthdays. It’s better for their development and it’s better for the earth. We also write a list for other people so they don’t go overboard.
- Avoid plastic – This one might seem a bit obvious but plastic is so ingrained in our day to day lives that I sometimes think we don’t always see it. From food wrappers to toothbrushes, we practically live in plastic. We can make quite simple swaps to the likes of wooden toys, bamboo toothbrushes and cloth nappies and wipes to avoid these plastics.
- Get outdoors – I think most kids like to be outdoors and we all know that fresh air does us a world of good, but how does it help the environment? Other than teaching our children to appreciate nature, even half an hour out of the house is half an hour less gas, electricity and water used for heating, TV, lights, and such things.
- Shop Ethical – High ethical standards and sustainability often go hand in hand. If you do need to buy something new, I would highly recommend looking at an ethical shop first, to see if it’s available there. You might not always be able to get big furniture items, but the likes of toys, toiletries, nappies and confectionery, among other things, will more than likely be available in them!
And that’s it!
I am always trying to find ways to be more ethical, and sustainable so I try to share as many tips on my social media pages as possible, but I also send out exclusive tips in my newsletter, which you can sign up for, for free below.
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I would love to hear about your sustainable parenting tips too!
*There are certain things that you should be very careful with when buying second hand. Cots and car seats are the main ones, and while we did buy those second hand, they were in immaculate condition, and the cot had barely been used. Always do your research first.