As a parent, you’re obviously concerned with ensuring that your child’s future is as bright as it can possibly be. It’s for this reason that, in recent years, we’ve seen the rise of the green parenting movement. Climate change is a very real threat, so as part of our responsibilities to our children, many of us are actively seeking eco-friendly ways to bring up our kids.
The problem is, in today’s world, even new-born babies have huge carbon footprints. It’s not their fault. Rather, the fault lies in all the products and materials that are necessary to see babies and children through those critical early years. Nappies, baby wipes, prams, lotions, car seats – all of these things are completely necessary, yet they all cost the earth in more ways than one.
Luckily, there are always alternatives. Here are four great green parenting tips to reduce the carbon footprint of early childhood.
- Get Nappy Happy – Reusable and washable nappies are not really practical for overnight use, so few parents are able to get by without using disposable nappies. However, because they do not generally biodegrade at landfill, disposable nappies are terrible for the environment. For a greener alternative, look for nappies that have been manufactured in an ethical and sustainable way. The Bambo range of eco-friendly nappies and pull-ups are the only brand of nappies to have been accredited with the Nordic Swan Eco Label, indicating that their total environmental impact throughout their entire lifecycle has been considered and carefully managed.
- Lose The Baby Wipes – Baby wipes, like disposable nappies, often end up in landfills. Soft cotton fabric cut into squares works equally as well, giving you a reusable, washable baby wipe. But if you cannot do entirely without wipes, you can at least endeavour to reduce your use. For example, if a simple, quick swipe is all that’s required, half a wipe will do the job.
- Something Old, Something New – Reduce, re-use, recycle – these are three concepts that apply to every aspect of a greener lifestyle, and parenting is no exception. Whether it’s a car seat, a pram, a cot, a swing, or a sling, consider buying second hand, or even borrowing items from other parents. If you’re careful about the quality of the items you source for re-use, you can save money whilst drastically reducing your carbon footprint.
- Be The Change You Want To See – Your children are the next generation of citizens, consumers, and activists. As a parent, you are uniquely positioned to instil the sort of sensible, ethical behaviour that will last them a lifetime. If you teach them to love nature, to recycle their waste, and to switch lights and appliances off when they’re not in use, they’ll grow up into the sort of green-minded, responsible people that take such behaviour for granted.
A love of nature and a determination to preserve the world we live in is perhaps the best gift you can give your child. Green parenting is responsible parenting, and it’s equally as important to encourage good behaviour in your children as it is to make responsible decisions of your own.