This is a guest post that I wrote for a UK blogger, Insomniac Mummy. I realized that I haven’t shared it with my own readers. Enjoy!
Here in the States, the idea of being a “Green Mummy” conjures up ideas of learning how to be a colorful corpse. I assure you that’s not what this article is about. What we’re talking about here is a course of small positive actions that us Moms, Mums, Mammas or Mummies (call us what you like), can take to have a positive influence on our environment, our earth, our home. It means learning that a few small conscious choices can make worlds of difference as well as a difference in our world. So we’ll discuss a few simple things that any mum can do to slowly go green. Heck, maybe you already do some of these things, if so, we’ll discuss how we can take it a little further.
1) Clean Green. It’s easy to learn how to use a few simple household products to clean your home. More than likely you already have the ingredients to clean green in your home right now. Peroxide and vinegar are very safe and effective household cleaners. For my household basic cleaning, I have one spray bottle of vinegar (any kind will do- cheap distilled white vinegar is fine) and one spray bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide. I spray one, on the counter, sink, toilet (whatever you are cleaning) then the other then wipe down. Don’t mix the combination in advance, they need to remain in separate containers for effectiveness. This combination of simple, green cleaners has been proven to even kill E-coli and Salmonella. Vinegar is very effective for cleaning soap scum, grease, and it inhibits mold and the growth of bacteria. Hydrogen Peroxide is an excellent disinfectant. To take it one step further, find and use green and earth friendly laundry detergents such as Soapnuts.
2) Compost. Does composting make you think of steaming piles of stinky rubbish? It doesn’t have to be that way. There are simple ways of turning your kitchen scraps into an organic rich soil. We currently use a barrel with small holes drilled in it to allow air to circulate, with a lid on the top. We simply toss in our kitchen scraps and roll it around every now and again. Composting can be very simple, there is no need to make it complicated. A simple wire enclosure in your yard can work perfectly for tossing grass clippings, old leaves and kitchen scraps. To take it one step further, you may want to read Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Applehof. Learn about using worms to compost your scraps. If you live in a place where you don’t have a yard then vermicomposting may be for you. Using earthworms to turn your paper and kitchen scraps is a fun and easy way to go green. Kids love it, my daughter counted the worms as her pets!
3) Go paperless. Do you use rolls of paper towels wiping up after your kids? It’s easy to do, they sure make a lot of messes! One simple change you can make to reduce your amount of paper waste is to switch to cloth. You can easily gather a selection of rags and cloth napkins for household messes. Check at Thrift stores for cloth napkins and old fabric scraps. Cloth diapers work great to clean up too. Make cloth napkins accessible at meal times and keep old rags handy. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to break the paper habit. Simply toss them in with your laundry and wash. To take it one step further, stop using chemical-filled disposable diapers, switch to cloth! There are so many easy to use, affordable and fun choices out there.
4) Garden. Growing your own vegetables is a perfect way to teach children about where our food comes from. Many children grow up only seeing fresh vegetables at the market, never seeing them grow on a plant. Once a child takes part in growing some of their own food they are more apt to make better nutrition choices and try new veggies that come their way. What a wonderful way to connect with the earth and our children at the same time. Start small, grow sprouts at first. They are easily growing and ready to eat in a few days. Kids love this! To take it one step further, start growing your own veggies or visit a farm nearby to see where your food comes from.
5) Breastfeed. While this is not an option for all Mums, breastfeeding is really green. There is no waste from packaging, no fuel is wasted in the transport of raw materials, and there is no detergent and water needed for cleaning bottles. To take it one step further, consider your water bottle choices. Choose stainless steel reusable water bottles, and refill before you leave the house.
So whether you consider yourself a green mummy or not, making a few small changes can have a large impact. Involve your family in your choices, teach them the reasons you are making changes. As David Brower said, “We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday.