Share your green parenting tips – Metro US

Share your green parenting tips

Another Earth Day has come and gone. Well, we hope it hasn’t gone in spirit.

We’ve been on hiatus and it kind of feels like we slept through Earth Day this year, although the reality is that we’ve barely slept at all. We deliberately try to maintain some personal distance in these articles for objectivity, but the inspiration for this article (and the reason for the hiatus and sleepless nights) is highly personal. We’ve just welcomed our first child, a beautiful daughter, and we actually celebrated our Earth Day trying to fit an eight-pound infant into a 15-pound cloth diaper.

Looking into those big eyes peering out at us over the waistband of her diaper, we realized two things: 1) The cloth diaper would need a breathing hole; and 2) Earth Day and all that it represents suddenly means much more. It’s easier to be blasé about future generations when they are not wearing your genes.

The irony, and I think other new parents may appreciate this, is that while we view a clean and healthy environment as her birthright, meeting her immediate needs can have the opposite effect, at least in the short term. Given that the breathing hole idea has not panned out, we are using disposables until her neck, at least, protrudes from the cloth diaper. Our trash output for the past three weeks has been on par with the previous three months, and it is with a sense of shame that we haul it to the curb on trash days.

The other thing we’ve learned about babies is they like to be warm. We’re a bit notorious for keeping the house cold all winter and hot in the summer. Somehow, we can’t get her to buy in. She just doesn’t understand when we tell her to stop whining and put on a sweater.

And babies mean laundry. Lots of laundry, which will only pick up once the disposable diapers can be disposed of. We now get why adult laundry soap comes in small bottles and baby laundry soap comes in huge bottles. It will be a banner day when she outweighs her laundry soap.

Of course, having a baby also means less travelling, less eating out, less watching TV and working on the computer (really, I’m not just playing games). So maybe it balances out, but we’d really like to be doing better for her world.

Anyway, the point of this article is not to complain, because although we are now zombies, there are no happier zombies anywhere. The purpose is to invite you to share some of your green parenting tips. It would be a big help to us, and we would love to share some ideas in a future column.

So tell us, what changes have you made to your lifestyle since having kids that cut down on energy use, laundry, trash output, etc. We’d love to know so we can stop hiding our trash in our neighbours’ bins (just kidding, Gil­mores).

– Sophia Dore is an environmental scientist with Conestoga-Rovers & Associates. Andrew Laursen is an assistant professor at Ryerson University; earthtones.metro@gmail.com.

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