Last night, I thought about how I’ve been respecting the earth lately. Truthfully, I was not impressed.
I have always had more eco-friendly ‘leanings’. Anyone who is remotely tuned in to the state of the environment is too. Here’s a debriefer, if you need to review: http://www.greenfacts.org/en/digests/state-of-the-environment.htm
Foodwise? I was a vegetarian bordering on a vegan in my university years, and a pescatarian up until the birth of my second child. And now? It’s a real mix I tell you!! No red meat for me, however.
For transportation? Rode my bike wherever I went, took the subway, carpooled my rowing crew (I sure do miss that crew!).
Clothing? Bought my clothes at Kensington Market in high school (the trendy place downtown to shop for used items). Reduced, reused, recycled when possible.
Fast forward to my child-bearing and child-rearing years and what has happened? Of course I’ve maintained my passion for eco-friendly living. But there have been really significant compromises. We’ve done the cloth diapers, the infant pottying, the hand-me down clothing, the eating local and organic. I’m currently doing my best to stick with non-toxic cleaning agents for the home and environmentally friendly moisturizers, cleansers, deodorants, and shampoos for us. The most eco-friendly of the ecoshampoos do leave some product residue, but all-in-all I’m willing to make a few sacrifices for the sake of the earth. David Suzuki Foundation’s Queen of Green has these helpful tips on green cleaning products if you’re interested in adopting a few: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/queen-of-green/
Of all this, I am pleased.
Now to the disheartening part. We’ve also done disposable wipes and diapers (for the times when we’ve run out of clean cloth diapers because we fell off the cleaning schedule), the school drop off and pick ups for the kids in a car that ‘resembles’ an SUV, the cool outings that you can only get to by burning that liquid gold to keep the kids entertained, or show them ‘nature’ not seen elsewhere. The countless dinners wasted on picky, picky eaters. More water consumption with additional laundry loads. Disposable cups, plates, utensils, at a park or big party venue with frosted cupcakes and instant pizza delivery. Over-packaged baby mum mums and granola bars. Over-processed foods for immediate consumption when the family is just plain hungry already, three kids are melting down, and there are mountains of chores still left to do before dinner.
The truth is, having kids makes being eco-friendly exponentially more challenging. Even if you are not a parent, the life we all live right now is a fast-paced and overburdened one. If I were going to be the person I need to be to really do my part, I would definitely need to do some prep work after the kids have gone to bed, in addition to what I already do to keep afloat for the next day. ‘Cause otherwise, we’ll just be heading to that terrible Golden Arches drive-through again on our mad rush to the next XYZ class. But the truth is, we are all just plain tired. Tired!! And cranky. Yesterday was especially an evening to forget. And that does not bode well for helping out our planet these days. But that doesn’t mean we can’t keep trying.
Teaching the next generation to respect their environment is no longer enough. We really have to be part of the solution so that they can inherit a world full of promise. So today, I am challenging myself (and anyone else out there who thinks they’re up for it) to take on a day (or even two or more!) where you consider what you’ve done to help out your ‘mother’. Mother Earth that is. A day to walk rather than drive. A day to eat local, organic, a little less of the foods that burden our sacred lands. A day to use less water. Less electricity. Do we really need ALL this ‘power’? A day to pause on how we can teach our children to really love this planet we’ve been given and walk the talk. Will we one day rise up to the challenge and really be the stewards that the planet needs to survive? Here’s hoping.
For more on how your diet affects the earth, you can find some enlightening resources here:
How transportation affects the environment:
Another blog about eco-friendly parenting: