I am far from a raging environmentalist, but I like green things as much as anyone. I also kind of like living on this earth, raising a healthy kid, and knowing she can enjoy that healthy life on a beautiful and healthy planet (maybe even live on what's currently the coast without having to build an underwater city). Oh, and I like to save money. FunnyWriterMommy and I joke that our life mottos are: (1) Above all else, I'm lazy; and (2) Second only to lazy, I'm cheap.
So I don't think it's because we're those dirty West Coast hippies now that I have occasionally found myself placing organic vegetables into my reusable fabric grocery bag while babywearing my cloth-diaper-clad toddler. Sometimes it's to avoid filling the landfills with packaging I didn't even want in the first place. Sometimes it's to keep the budget alive--organic baby food is occasionally cheaper on sale than regular anyway. But mostly, I think, it's the mommy thing.
Something happens to us when kids come into our lives. We worry about things we never would have cared about before, like whether our plastic bottles and saran wrap are poisoning us and how to avoid food hormones so our daughters don't start puberty before they start kindergarten. We see parking lots where there used to be fields and wonder where will be left for her kids to play.
Actually the biggest thing bothering me about how we're treating the environment right now is plastic. Plastic, plastic, everywhere! Not just for things we need but for so many unnecessary things like excessive packaging that we immediately throw away and so many things we make or treat as disposable. Our consumption is so recklessly out of control. And do you know what most plastic is made from? Petroleum! You know, the non-renewable resource which also happens to be our main source of energy (and global conflict)? We are using finite, increasingly expensive resource to make things we will throw away, and then we use more petroleum to transport these things across the country and around the world so we can pay to own them for a short period of time before we transport them to a big pile in the ground or ocean where they can sit for thousands of years. Oh yeah, I'm sure that system will work indefinitely.
And so in a few small ways we try to reduce our use and maybe do something a little bit healthier for our girl in the process:
- home-mashed rather than pre-jarred baby foods--saves packaging, food transportation costs, and money on my grocery bill. It's easy enough and way cheaper for me to cook a whole bag of frozen green beans or a bunch of sweet potatoes, throw them in the blender, and pour it into ice cube trays. One cube equals 2 tablespoons; 6 mix-n-match cubes a day and she's had her veggie servings. I will say it's harder to achieve good results with meat. And no matter who makes it, there is just nothing appetizing about pureed meat!
- avoid, hand wash, and don't microwave plastics--probably the BPA in plastics thing will never be definitively proven dangerous, but in case those Canadians are proven right, we try to minimize the risk and extend the life of our plastics anyway. I did buy one stainless steel Thermos sippy cup, since my plastic ones were leaky anyway, and it's nice. If we were starting from scratch maybe I'd avoid the plastics, I don't know. (What say ye?)
- fabric grocery bags--I keep a few tote bags in the car to grab when I go in the store. No danger of the bottom busting out, and our local store has started giving $.05 off per reusable bag used.
- organic milk--Anna's whole milk is the only thing I make an effort to buy organic, simply because of all the hormones. This is what our doctor said she does for her kid about the same age.
- the biggie and best for us . . . CLOTH DIAPERS!--It was disposables giving us fits last week. I love love love using cloth diapers, and I could go on and on about why and how. And in a follow-up post, I will!
How about you? Do make an extra effort to do certain things for your kids' health or to reduce your environmental impact? Anything "crunchy" that works for you?