Families “greening” together

Today, children are increasingly aware of the current environmental situation. Compelled by the optimism of youth, they look to their parents for ways to participate in finding solutions to the challenge that face humanity. A great way for a family to grow closer can be taking on a series of small ‘green’ projects. Here are three ideas for projects for your family that will directly change your ecological footprint.

Change your light bulbs. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), also known as compact fluorescent light bulbs, are designed to replace incandescent lamps and can fit in the existing light fixtures. CFLs use between one fifth and one quarter of the power of an equivalent incandescent lamp. As a family, count how many light bulbs in your home can be switched to compact fluorescent bulbs. At your family’s next visit to your local store, compare the available CFLs. Come to an agreement as to which bulbs are most suitable for your home by considering their cost and energy efficiency. Discuss how much electricity can be saved and if able, find an electric bill to see what the difference will be next month. Talk together about how the money saved from the reduced electric consumption offsets some of the cost of the new bulbs.

Begin composting. Composting is the decaying of food, vegetables, lawn and garden waste and organic material. Instead of adding your food waste to the landfill you can use it to create useful soil. Begin by deciding on the best size and location for your composter. We recommend you get the largest composter your space can manage. Families in apartment buildings can use smaller worm composers that can fit on a balcony. Families with large yards can consider bigger composters. There are many good resources available for details on setting up your compost project such as the Composting Council of Canada. Discuss with your family how composting is truly recycling. Did you know that landfills prevent substances from biodegrading due to a lack of oxygen? Most cities have composters for sale and the city of Vancouver even has a compost hotline.

Replace toxic cleaning products. Examine the cleaning products in your household. Determine which products are the most offensive to the environment. Which are the most likely to be tested on animals? If able, look up information on the manufacturing of the product. Go to your local natural product retailer or the ‘green’ product section of your usual store. What options are available? Look to the past to see what has been used, for example white vinegar and baking soda have been used to clean for generations. Discuss the hidden costs to the planet that are not reflected in the price of the old product such as pollution, animal cruelty and health hazards to the workers who make the product.

By making simple changes you and your family can be proud that you are helping the environment and you may find an added bonus, saving money!

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URBNgreen is committed to education and environmental stewardship. Our objective is share information about what people are doing locally and around the world to create a sustainable future.
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