There’s a lot of talk about what the world will look like in the future. And understandably, that talk can result in a lot of worry. It can make us feel powerless and hopeless. But the thing is, if we direct our attention to the now – to what we can do in the present moment to care for the Earth – we can revive our sense of power and hope. Taking steps now to support the health of the planet can do wonders for creating a greener future for ourselves, and most importantly, our children. Every move forward helps, even if it seems like something small.
Here are some simple things you can do now to be a steward of the environment.
Consider what you actually "need" for baby. As you might have noticed, babies often attract a lot of stuff. We get stuff at the baby shower, stuff from visitors after baby is born, and stuff when browsing the world wide web while feeding baby at 2am. While many of these things might feel essential in the moment, if you take a step back and honestly assess the baby care items that are truly useful, your list will probably be pretty short.
By doing this “stuff assessment,” committing to only purchasing items that are essential, you’ll be taking an important step in protecting the planet. Because, cutting back on the amount of stuff you buy for your baby (and your family as a whole) will help to limit the amount of plastic, and other harmful items, that will eventually end up in a landfill and contribute to pollution.
You can up your eco-consciousness even more by shopping at secondhand stores, swap and shops for moms, and re-using items from friends and family when buying some of those essential products.
Choose biodegradable and natural products as much as possible. To minimize the build-up of trash on our planet, it’s best to purchase biodegradable and/or compostable products whenever possible. If an item is biodegradable, it means that, given the right conditions, it is able to break down in what should be a relatively short period of time. You can often find biodegradable diapers (like ours at Eco Pea, which break down in as little as 90 days), clothing made from natural fabrics, wooden toys, and other common items that are made by eco-conscious brands.
Learn about ingredients in common products, and choose those that are toxin-free. People are often shocked to discover that many items they use are full of potentially harmful ingredients. Everything from lotions and cosmetics, to our furniture and clothing. But it’s not surprising that many consumers aren’t aware of what their purchases are made of, because the ingredients lists are often filled with long words that seem indecipherable – for example, “fluorotelomer, nonylphenol ethoxylates, and butylated hydroxytoluene.”
To help you start your education on ingredients and what to stay away from, here’s our list of 20 ingredients to avoid. In addition, here’s our guide on how to select toxin-free products. Making empowered choices, means making choices that are likely more supportive of a greener future.
Shop local where possible. Purchasing products from local businesses instead of massive companies, has many benefits. One, shopping local supports your local economy. Two, these products didn’t have to be shipped across the world, to get to you, thus reducing the release of greenhouse gases. And three, local business owners are often more cognizant of the ingredients in their products than companies mass producing goods for a higher profit margin. So, buying local can help your community, the environment, and your health.
Reduce food waste. According to research done by the National Zero Waste Council in 2017, 63% of the food Canadians threw away could have been eaten and the numbers are even higher for the US. This equals about 2.2 million tonnes of wasted edible food. The cost of this wasted food per household was about $1,000 annually.
In addition to being bad for your pocketbook, food waste is bad for the environment, as food thrown into a landfill rots without regenerating back into healthy soil, and becomes a major source of methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.
You can reduce your food waste by examining how much your family actually eats in a week, pre-planning meals, and based on that forethought, only buying the amount of food your family truly needs. In addition, you can start a compost for the food scraps you do need to dispose of, which can be turned in to nutrient rich soil for your gardens or house plants (how cool is that!?).
While these actions are small steps toward a greener future, they can make a big difference as more of us start adopting them. You can be part of this positive change by integrating these eco-conscious practices into your family’s life, while also searching for additional ways to reduce your carbon footprint, and heal the planet. You and your family can be some of the heroes this planet needs.