How Your Family Can Live A Greener Lifestyle Now by Leigh Garofalow of Green 4 U

BonBon Break

How Your Family Can Live A Greener Lifestyle Now

~:: Leigh Garofalow of Green 4 U ::~

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How Your Family Can Live a Greener Lifestyle Now Healthy Living

As Earth Day approaches the year after Hurricane Sandy, unprecedented drought in the Midwest, wildfires in the west and the hottest year on record in many parts of the world parents everywhere are thinking about the changes they need to make to protect the planet. Many people think change is intimidating, it will cost money, will radically change their lifestyle, or it is just too hard.

It is not hard, expensive, or any other reason you can think of to make green choices in your household no matter how old your kids are. Your kids are learning about the environment at school, from their friends and from what they read and they are ready to make changes.


The human brain develops the vast majority of its neurons, and is at its most receptive to learning, between birth and three years of age. (Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000)


Teach your kids about the environment

earth button hrWhen you read to your young children at night read them books that teach them lessons about the environment and sustainability. There are the typical books like The Lorax that teach kids about the environment but do not discount other books that are not specifically environmentally focused you can find lessons in tons of book you read. A good example is the award-winning book Blueberries for Sal, where a child goes blueberry picking at the park with her mom (they even use a stainless steel pail). Older children can also benefit from reading. Older kids can learn environmental lessons from reading as well; The Green Teen: The Eco-Friendly Teen’s Guide to Saving the Planet by Jenn Savedge is a great resource for teens that want to be active in the environmental movement. James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series is a thrilling book with many environmental themes. Even The Hunger Games has environmental themes about consumption.


earth button hrBeyond reading your older kids can watch the news with you and learn about the current events. A truly powerful way to teach your kids about the environment is to take them out to enjoy environment. You can take them to a park or beach clean-up, many of these events are organized and staffed by experts who can explain the facts and background on how our lifestyles affect the planet.


12 percent of the world’s population lives in North America and Western Europe and accounts for 60 percent of private consumption spending. WorldWatch Institute


Consumption is a huge problem that contributes to environmental issues

earth button hrPack your kids lunch and snacks for sporting events in stainless steel containers and use reusable non-plastic water bottles. Kids are on the go all the time, moms and dads are constantly commenting that they feel like they live in their cars and their kid’s calendars are busy than our own. They need snacks and hydration along the way; it is easy to stop for unhealthy food and snacks that come in disposable containers. Planning ahead and bringing what they need will not only save the planet but it will give them healthier options and save you money.


earth button hrWhen making choices for containers avoid plastic, even BPA free plastic. Companies are not disclosing the chemicals that they are using to replace BPA and they could pose just as much (if not more) danger.


Americans throw away 25,000,000 plastic bottles every hour.


Make a change in your household that everyone can help with

earth button hrRecycling properly is a great first step in being a good steward to the planet. Many municipalities recycle, some will pick-up at your house and others will require you to bring it to a recycling center.  Once you know what the rules are in your municipality let the whole family get involved in setting up the system in your house.  Make a list together of what you need to successfully recycle; does everyone need a bin in their bedroom because that is where they read? Do you need the tin can recycling in the kitchen or garage? If the family plans together and implement the plan you are much more likely to actually recycle. Once you see how much you recycle you will have a real understanding of your consumption.


earth button hrCompost is a great way to reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill. There are different ways to compost and you can compost if you live in an apartment or on farm. Here is a great website for resources on composting


Americans consume 31 percent more packaged food than fresh food.


Prepare and eat healthy whole real foods

earth button hrMore whole foods we are all busy, in many families both parents work so meals are hard to prepare and make time for. Convenience foods have become a staple in the American cupboard so the best thing we can do to teach healthy eating is to have fresh food in the house for our kids.


earth button hrEat out less, I love going out to eat but I like it because it is special. My kids like going out to eat to but they know it is a very special occasion and not a given. Public Health and Nutrition looked at American chain restaurant menus and found that 96% had more fat, saturated fat, and sodium. Making healthy food at home is a great way to help the planet, your health, and your budget.


earth button hrCook together: My 1-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter watch me cook all the time. My daughter already understand the importance of cooking real food, when her aunt and uncle came over for dinner recently she took out some measuring cups and told them about something we had made two weeks earlier. No matter what age you can show your kids how to cook and the importance of real food. I still have my first cookbook and my parents would let me make dinner whenever I asked even if it was a basic recipe (and not filling). I credit my parents for giving me that freedom and teaching me how to make food.


So while making all these changes may seem overwhelming remember our children will have to make all these changes in their lifetime and the lessons we teach them on being stewards to planet are just as important to teach them as reading and writing.


Headshot2ABOUT LEIGH: Leigh Garofalow is mother of two children and is a avid environmentalist and activist. She writes Green4u a blog of green living advice for the average person. She also works with other environmentalist on the Mothers for Sustainable Energy Project in New Jersey. In her free time, when she is not writing, working or spending time with her kids she is on Pinterest dreaming of things she would make if she had even more time. Catch up with Leigh on FacebookTwitter @GreenforuInstagram @Greenforu, or Google+


This piece was written by Leigh Garofalow of Green 4U exclusively for Bonbon Break Media, LLC.



photo credit: IronRodArt – Royce Bair (“Star Shooter”) via photopin cc