We all want to take care of our home planet. Especially given the fact that the media is constantly working to convince us that if we have any climate-change optimism, it’s misplaced.
But, it’s important to remember that even if your family is not in a position to become a major player on the conservation front, you can still implement changes that will benefit the planet as a whole. In our own homes there are areas that can be adjusted for maximum greenness.
To raise kids who love the planet, you need only to show them how to asses your home with a eco-friendly eye, and include them in any eco-related changes you make.
Watch the Water
One of the largest areas of waste you’ll likely face is the water. Because there is so much plumbing happening in the bathroom, it is a prime area for leaks to happen, and by extension, massive water waste.
To prevent a wasteful bathroom, show your kids how to assess the sink, tub/shower, and toilet to verify that there isn’t leakage happening. A leak can waste 3,000 gallons of water each year.
Teach them through your own example to only use water when you need to and that when you spot a leak you take the steps necessary to remedy the situation. If you don’t have experience fixing plumbing issues consider the long-term benefit of hiring a professional not just to the planet, but to your wallet as well.
Pay Attention to Doors and Windows
The doors and windows in the house are obviously different from the rest of your home in that they are portals to the outside. Ensuring you heat and cool your home as efficiently as possible, is directly connected to whether or not you’re making the most of the air already within your home.
If your home is inefficient in the winter, warm air will be able to escape, and in the summer it will come in. There are certain things you can check for on a seasonal basis with your kids to make sure your doors are doing their job:
Are there gaps? Show your kids where to look for gaps where the door meets the frame, a gap is a clear sign that some repairs are in order.
Does it need to be cleaned? If dirt and debris have collected in gaskets and/or seals, they will eventually tear holes rendering the gaskets and seals ineffective. The same theory applies to the threshold at the bottom of the door, which is continually sweeping dirt and debris back and forth.
Is the seal tight? Make it entertaining: grab a sheet of paper and in every section of the door, have your child shut a piece of paper in the door and then attempt to pull the paper out. If the paper comes out, the seal isn’t tight enough.
Many of the same techniques used on doors can be used on windows as well. Check for gaps and for a solid seal. Additionally, remember that if you can control the amount of direct sunlight coming into your home, you can control a large amount of the heat as well. If the sun is making it hard to stay cool, consider utilising blinds or drapes.
Minimize Appliance Waste
Obviously, appliances are a major source of energy usage, but never fear, there are methods you can utilise to cut down on energy usage.
The basic principle to consistently follow is that you want the appliance to work as little and as infrequently as possible. So encourage your children to turn off the appliances and devices they use, when they aren’t in use.
Some believe that the stand-by mode of certain appliances that allows them to keep the clock feature lit at all times uses as much energy overall as when the appliance performs it’s actual function.
Similarly, you can promote a lifestyle within your home where if you’re going to be away, you unplug the devices that don’t need to be using energy. Even appliances not specifically designed with efficiency in mind often have low-power modes. You can show your children how to recognise the settings on the dishwasher/washer/drier that will require the least amount of energy use.
You and Your Children Can Be World-Changers
If you want to be working towards an end-goal wherein we all get to enjoy a healthier planet, then you should do just that. At times, those who want to make a difference get too wrapped up in what they know they can’t do.
None of us has the ability to singlehandedly remove all the masses of plastic from the ocean. We can’t change the need for vehicles that help us get where we’re going and do the work that needs to be done. The list of what we can’t do, at least in the near future, is extensive.
But that should never keep us from seeing what we can do; that shouldn’t alter what we teach our children to value. Even if you think they are too young to understand, their abilities will likely surprise you.
All the things that we can affect shouldn’t be neglected. Big things are often really just the sum of small things, after all. So even if you’ve only got a few small ways you can contribute, go do them, and know you are making a difference.