If I'm being honest I haven't spent much time thinking about sustainability. It has always seemed overwhelming for this time in my life with homeschooling and the two little kids. When I was approached to read Sustainability Made Simple: Small Changes For Big Impact by Rosaly Byrd and Lauren DeMates - I was intrigued. I liked the title because it sounded like it was written for someone like me. Someone who needed the work done for them as far as explaining Sustainability and the importance. I was right! The first half of the book really is all information. From explanation to examples of why we need to think about sustainability.
The next part of the book is the gold. That second half is full of practical ways to apply lifestyle changes. Things you can do right now. Most are fairly easy to apply. The thing is if we all did a few of these things we would be helping. I just watched an episode of My Name is Earl a few weeks ago. The Episode - I Robbed a Stoner Bling - has Earl on a mission to repay a guy they stole from. This guy now lives on a commune where they practice sustainability and live off the land. (Think no tv, no running water.) Earl learns all about how his behavior is causing global issues and he panics. Until his guru explains it is the little things we do that can make a big difference. I like that. Because I would be like Earl was, freaking out if I had to take the whole weight of the issue on my own shoulders but by just implementing small changes it isn't so heavy.
Sustainability Made Simple provides kid-friendly, practical pointers for families interested in adopting a greener, more sustainable lifestyle. Raising an environmentally friendly family is a win-win for everyone — going green contributes to your family’s health, your pocketbook and the overall well being of the planet. Better yet, reducing your family’s environmental footprint doesn’t require “going off the grid” or making drastic changes that take time and money. Saving the world starts at home and the best part is that doing good can be a fun, family affair!
From chores around the house to throwing a party, Sustainability Made Simple: Small Changes for Big Impact (Rowman & Littlefield) reveals fresh, actionable steps anyone can make at home, school, work, and on the road to reduce their environmental footprint like:
* How to make meal choices that are good for you AND the environment
* Get your hands dirty — plant a veggie garden, flowers that attract butterflies and bees, and herb gardens too
* How to throw a party or host a holiday dinner that is a terrific celebration AND planet-friendly
* Simple tips for making your kitchen a more sustainable-friendly area of your home
* Sound advice on how to take sustainability “on the road” while on vacation, shopping or running errands and taking the kids to soccer practice
With an emphasis on science, facts and practicality, environmental experts and co-authors Rosaly Bird and Lauren DeMates introduce readers to the concept of sustainability and humanity’s growing impact on the environment, and translate science-based evidence into easy-to-understand language to show how these big issues are linked to daily life and how working towards sustainability is an opportunity to do things better.
7 Tips to For Growing a Green Family
Summer is here and we are loving the green that we see around us! It’s also a perfect time to bring new, sustainable habits into our daily lives that we can stick with all year long. Check out the following 7 practical pointers for going green.
- Bring air purifying plants into your home. Improve the air quality in your home by introducing plants that act as air filters, absorbing the harmful gases and toxins from furniture, paints, and plastics. Peace lilies, golden pothos, and Boston ferns are only a few examples of the many plants that can help remove benzene and formaldehyde from the air in your home.
- Look for local, seasonal foods. Eating local and seasonally means you are likely to avoid the food miles and greenhouse gas emissions associated with foods that aren’t in season and travel a long way to get to your table. In addition, seasonal foods can be less expensive and taste better. Because it is picked only when it’s naturally ripe, seasonal produce retains all of the nutrients and flavor that is lost when food is harvested prematurely. If you are feeling ambitious and have space, you can even start your own vegetable garden for the most localized produce possible.
- Start a compost (or look for compost programs in your neighborhood). Don’t let your fruit and veggie scraps go to waste in the landfill, where they will ultimately contribute to climate change by emitting methane. Instead, start a compost in your yard or look for programs in your community that collect organic material for composting. Compost is a natural fertilizer and can be added to your garden or potted plants.
- Swap or donate clothes. Swapping clothes that your kids have grown out of with other parents is a great way to share and/or get “new” clothes without actually purchasing anything. If you can’t think of anyone to swap with, then donating old clothes is another great option. Swapping or donating clothes helps with spring cleaning and extends the life of each item.
- Use non-toxic products. If you are taking on some serious spring cleaning, make sure you are using non-toxic cleaning materials because chemical-based supplies contribute to water pollution and can be harmful to your health. Websites and apps such as GoodGuide and EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning help to find safe and gentle cleaning products. You can also make your own with baking soda, white vinegar, and lemon.
- Clean out your air filters. This spring is expected to be warm as we continue to break records for global temperature records. For many of us, this means turning on air conditioning and (ideally) cleaning out or replacing the air filters. Air filters that have not been cleaned or replaced in a while can mean that free-flowing air is being blocked, making the system work harder to push air out. Clean filters will not only prevent unnecessary energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, but will also save you money on your electricity bill.
- Plastic-free picnics. Spring is synonymous with picnics. To minimize your negative impact on the environment during these outings, swap out plastic single-use containers and utensils for reusable non-plastic items. It can be easy to rely on single-use plastic items such as water bottles, cutlery, plates, and cups, but it creates a lot of waste that will most likely end up in a landfill (or even in the ocean)! Look for glass jars and cloth bags to carry and contain your goodies and bring silverware from home to cut down on the waste you create.
Rosaly and Laurèn are co-authors and founders of The Sustainability Co-Op blog, which strives to understand and communicate the interconnectedness between global and local societal needs and environmental concerns.
WIN WIN WIN
One lucky reader will win a copy of Sustainability Made Simple and a large reusable Baggu tote.
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