Ten Ways to Go Green When You’re Feeling Green: Guest Post

Jun 29

Project Spectrum‘s June color is green, but that word evokes so much more than the myriad shades of blue and yellow mixed together. Going green, green living…the terms we use to express environmental concern and action inevitably use green. To explore this aspect of green, I’ve asked Andrew Odom of Tiny r(E)volution to share his thoughts about sustainability as it concerns him and his wife as they prepare for the birth of their daughter.

When we decided to have a baby, it was like walking into a black hole; a tunnel that revealed no light at the end. We knew our job would be to protect and to care for our little one, but as we found out more and more about the world we lived in it became more evident to us that almost everything is said to cause threat to the pregnancy! We had to make an active choice a few weeks in to just stop panicking and let it all roll. We knew we wanted to keep our experience as eco-friendly as possible. We knew we wanted our baby to understand our commitment to the Earth and our love for the environment. And to our surprise what we found out is that raising an eco-friendly baby can be pretty easy on the nerves and the wallet!

Breastfeeding. I have heard multiple times that the best way to raise a natural child is to begin naturally and what is more natural than breastfeeding? It is absolutely the best way to start off your baby nutritionally, but it’s also better for the environment and your budget. I wish I could capture an image of all the cans of formula and bottles that won’t have to be purchased for your baby. So not only are you feeding your baby the best you can you are also helping the earth and saving a bit of cash. Rumor has it that breastfeeding is also a great way to burn an extra 400-600 calories a day.

Go toxin-free. Babies make messes. There is no debating that. In fact, they are walking (or should I say, crawling) mess storms. There is always a clean up on aisle 2 in the home of a baby. We learned about the harmful toxins in cleaning products at the very beginning of pregnancy. Standards cleaners can contain toxins that are linked to miscarriage, birth defects, and other pregnancy-related woes. And grabbing a “green” cleaner is really no better. Eco-friendly doesn’t always means pregnant-friendly or baby-friendly. I suggest opting for nontoxic alternatives to cleaning agents. Basic ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, castile soap – even just warm water – can tackle most household cleanups. If you want to know about your household products you can look here!

Organic Cloth Diapers. No matter what diapering system you go for cloth diapers offer yet another way to help save our earth by keeping a bunch of disposable diapers and wipes out of the landfills. Cloth diapering only takes a few times to get the hang of, and you’ll be glad you did because it saves on non-compostable products as well as non-refundable dollar bills!

86 the nursery. Who says every baby needs a nursery? The people who make cribs? It is almost crazy to think about. You spend 60% of what you used to call your bed time tending to a baby. So why not just find a way (co-sleeping or a small pack ‘n play) for them to be in your bedroom. It will give you piece of mind while giving them their own piece of the world!

Can your food. There is no reason that because the main garden season is over that your baby can’t enjoy fresh food. If you garden and have leftover fruits and veggies and take good care to can and preserve them, you can begin your little one (after breastfeeding) on a diet of low-sugar, no preservative, organic foods.

Hand-Me-Downs. I live by a saying. If it’s free, it’s for me. While we are not hoarders and don’t accept things just because they are free, hand-me-down clothes have been a real blessing in our lives already. Most kids grow so fast they hardly wear their clothes, let alone wear them out. Because we are older parents, most of our friends have already had theirs and have the wardrobes to show it. They offer and we accept. It is the ultimate reuse and a great way to get the most out of your friends’ investment and your own.

Water your kids. As with all things that grow, children need water. Why introduce them to sugary soft drinks or artificial fruit juices. Other than breast milk, let them explore good, clean, water. I encourage you, of course, to know the source of your water as well as to be wise about filtering but if you find a reusable drinking container, and good water, your tike can stay hydrated, happy, and healthy.

Simple toys. Most children don’t know they need expensive toys and plastic parts until you teach them that they do. Be cautious of the media messages they ingest as well as the toys you introduce them to. Limit the overall number of toys you buy. Instead, rotate in safe common household objects or invest in quality, hand-made toys. A little imagination from your little one will go a long way!

Air Dry Laundry. Nothing says summer like clothes on the line. Of course, this tip is easier to do if you live in a dry climate. But by doing so you will not only will you reduce your electricity bill by not running the dryer as much, but you’ll also avoid having the dryer heat up your house during warmer months. When you do run the dryer, run it at night when rates are lower and the outside temperature is cooler. And why do I even speak of laundry? Refer to #2 and #3.

And #10? #10 is all about you. It is all about today. What are you going to do today to paint your current pregnancy or new parenthood green?

————————————

Bigger does not always mean better. Progress does not always mean forgetting our roots in order to forge a new future. Blogger, photojournalist, and hobby farmer Andrew Odom has spent much of the last few years rediscovering the lost art of living, growing, and being truly happy. Visit him online, find him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

10 comments

  1. Molly Margosian /

    As a mommy of two, I feel that I have some knowledge and experience in the “do’s and don’ts” of child rearing. After reading this blog, I tend to agree with the 86 the Nursery – because it’s true, Mommy and Daddy aren’t sleeping for a while. We found that it was important for our first one to have his own space after the first month or so. It taught him independence and less co-dependence on us. Then (just 11 months later) when the 2nd baby was born, that was a whole new ball game!

    • So what did you do after the first month when the baby found his own space? Did y’all build a nursery? Add a pack ‘n play? Get a bassinet?

  2. Nancy /

    Good stuff, Drew! Of course, I’m a champion for breastfeeding, so anything that adds to the argument of why one should breastfeed is awesome.
    I’m glad you mentioned the use of non-toxic cleaning products. I was very particular about how I cleaned during my pregnancies and find it just as important not to litter my house with toxic fumes now that I have precious lungs to look after.
    And…YAY for water! I have a particular disdain for juice. My kids get all the fruit juice they need from the fruit they eat. I do allow them to have it when we are in a situation where it is readily available to them (e.g. play-date, birthday party), but it is still limited. I do not buy it for them, either.

    • Thank you for reading Nancy and being an advocate for breastfeeding. We think it is such an important part of a young life!

  3. You know what this post does? It makes me want to go have a baby so I can raise a child in a green way. (No worries, though. At the moment, I’ll do anything I can to avoid having a child for awhile.) I’m incredibly excited that there are so many easy, earth-friendly options for babies. At this point, I can’t imagining wanting to offer my child soft drinks, sugar-loaded fruit juices, or tons of processed food – especially so early in life! Thank you for reminding us.

    • You are so welcome Laura. And I am sure that when you have a baby you’ll come up with even more ways to raise a sustainable and earth-friendly ‘lil guy! (or gal)

  4. Emily /

    Still on the fence about cloth diapers, but I would never feed my baby formula. Baby food definitely creates a lot of waste and expense. I know many moms who would literally blend up veggies, dinner, anything that could be turned to mush. I hope I’ll have the time to take that one, when I have kids.

    • Yeah, well, cloth diapers take discipline. HAHAHAHA. We are going with gDiapers which are a lovely hybrid of cloth and disposable depending on the circumstances you find yourself in. You should check them out!

  5. What a great post. I wish I would have had your insights to have read while I was pregnant.

    • Thank you so much Jennifer. I am sure I missed quite a bit of insight. But hey, it’s never too late to switch your kids now teaching them more sustainable ways of life. I challenge you!