Inspiring the Next Generation

*******Welcome to the Earth Day Blog Carnival. This post is part of the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction. Each participant has shared their practices and insights of earth friendly, environmentally conscious, eco-living. This carnival is our way to share positive information and inspiration that can create healing for our planet. Please read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. Happy Earth Day!***
Mr White was my high-school science teacher. At that time, he was the most eccentric person I had ever met. He was a vegan, always wore the same clothes, looked like an animated corpse, spent most of our lessons not teaching science but going on rants about anything from Adolf Hitler to composting toilets, and allegedly kept his microwave in his shed. I thought he was brilliant. His science lessons were the highlight of my week.  

I learned a lot from Mr White. He would tell us little moral stories, obviously directed towards the more lazy students in the class. And he would discuss environmental issues like where our rubbish goes and how long plastic takes to decompose. I remember frequently leaving his lessons feeling very worried about our planet and the ecosystems contained within it. Mr White wasn’t an enthusiastic man. He looked like he had given up on humanity, but the fact that he still cared enough about green issues to discuss them in a class of mostly disinterested students must have meant that he still had some hope that things would change for the better.  

Fast forward more than ten years, and now more than ever the things Mr White spoke about resonate with me. I’ve always cared about green issues, but there’s a big difference between caring and actually doing something. Becoming a mother has given me that push; I see the state of our planet and the wanton destruction of nature and I despair. This isn’t the type of world I want for my daughter.  

What we can do, as individuals, is small. But if we all thought that way, nothing would ever change. This world is made up of billions of individuals, and if we all made significant changes to our ways of life, the planet would be a different place! And I can’t be hypocritical enough to talk about green issues without being green myself. If I want others to change, I have to model that change; and most importantly, I have to do my best for my daughter.  

So my partner and I are moving towards a greener, more sustainable lifestyle, slowly. We’re taking baby steps, but it’s better than nothing. Here’s what we’re aiming for, and some things we’re already doing: 

* We use reusable jute shopping bags rather than plastic ones 
* We’re aiming to recycle more of our waste, and buy things with less packaging 
* This spring I’m going to plant some herbs and vegetables 
* We’re starting to use natural cleaners rather than chemicals, i.e. vinegar, lemon juice, bicarbonate of soda 
* I’m going to have a go at making home-made, natural toothpaste. No more fluoride for us! 
* We’ve bought a steam cleaner to clean especially dirty areas, rather than using bleach 
* I walk rather than driving, wherever I can 
* We buy as many of our clothes, books and toys as possible second-hand 
* We cook most of our food from scratch 
* We don’t buy anything we don’t really need, and try to up-cycle where possible 
* I use a menstrual cup
* I no longer buy any make-up, perfumes, deodorants, etc 
* I’m washing my hair less frequently and I’m considering moving over to natural shampoo 
* We’re using coconut oil rather than chemical moisturisers 
* We’re trying to eat less meat and more vegetables 
* We only buy free-range eggs and poultry, and British red-meat 
* We eat fish caught using sustainable methods 
* We’ve moved to paperless billing where possible 
* We only ever have showers and don’t waste water 
* We only buy recycled toilet paper 

These are just for starters. As time goes on it’s our hope to move to a completely sustainable lifestyle. I want to inspire my daughter to be eco-friendly in the same way Mr White inspired me all those years ago. We may not change the way things are, but at least we’ll know we didn’t contribute to the destruction of the planet, and did our best, in our way, to change the world.

Thank you for stopping by the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival!  Please relax and take time to read  these other great eco-living posts:
Earth Day Blog Carnival - Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction

  • You are a Child of the Earth – Using the Earth as their classroom, Patti from Canadian Unschool teaches her 4 children their spiritual connection to the Earth and she accepts that loving the Earth can get really, really messy.
  • Cutting Out Paper – Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she went from curiosity and concern to actually cutting out the use of paper towels in her household. She is proud to be “greener” as each Earth Day passes.
  • The World is Brown – Debra Ann Elliot of Words are Timeless believes in keeping the Earth green, but because so many people inhabit the Earth it is turning brown because people aren’t doing their part by reducing, reusing, and recycling.
  • 7 Child And Eco Friendly Activities To Honor The Earth (Plus Some Environmental Books For Kids) – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her favorite books that help children become more aware of the importance of respecting and caring for Mother Earth. In addition, she hosts a guest post outlining seven child and eco friendly activities to honor the earth.
  • 5 Ways We Teach Our Children To Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle – Valarie at Momma In Progress shares a few tips for encouraging young children to care for the earth.
  • Little Changes – Big Results – Meegs at A New Day talks about how sometimes it’s the little decisions and changes that can lead us to find big results, and how she’s baby-stepping her way to a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.
  • Inspiring the Next Generation – aNonyMous at at Radical Ramblings hopes to inspire her daughter to live a green and sustainable lifestyle, in the same way she was inspired by her high-school science teacher, and talks about the changes her family are making towards this vision.
  • Eco-Friendly Cleansers: Safe For the Environment, Healthy For Every Body – Rebekah at Liberated Family writes about safe and natural alternatives to toxic, household cleaning products..
  • Lightening My Footprint with Cloth Nappies (Diapers) – Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares the biggest eco-choice she has made so far, and why she is so passionate about it.
  • Clutter Free for a Cause – At Living Peacefully with Children Mandy’s penchant for decluttering and simple living cuts down on consumerism, taking less of a tole on the Earth.
  • Eco-Parenting: Homemade Bug Spray – Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares a homemade bug spray recipe that helps her family to enjoy the natural world while taking precautions against bug bites.
  • Let the Scales Fall From My Eyes…Just Not Too Quickly – Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about the discomfort of no longer being able to live in denial over how her choices affect the world around her.
  • Fostering Love of Earth – Justine at The Lone Home Ranger instills a love of nature in her daughters by embarking on their first backyard vegetable garden together.
  • Being in Nature – Carrie at Love Notes Mama knows that just being in nature is more than enough.
  • 5 Ways to Pass Down Environmental Values to Your Children – Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares how easy it can be to instill environmental values in your children.
  • Viva Portlandia – Amy at Anktangle writes about the place she lives and loves in: Portland. She describes the ways this green city makes it easy for her family to take care of our earth, and also the steps she’s taking to further lessen her family’s environmental impact.
  • Conspicuous Conservationism – Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction examines the phenomenon of eco-conscious behavior as a status symbol.
  • Time for Radical Sustainability – Terri at Child of the Nature Isle ponders how she can model a truly sustainable lifestyle for her children and raise them in a way their environmental consciousness is as natural as breathing!

A big thank you to all of the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival participants!


Filed under Activism, Green Living, Philosophy

13 responses to “Inspiring the Next Generation

  1. Way to go! I’m living green too. I dug up my back lawn and planted a miniature food forest. It’s like a jungle and I often find my kids gathering leaves and playing games with flowers and sticks.

  2. That science teacher sounds fab as does your list of green ways of living. If everyone did these things then the world would change not just because the actions in themselves but the companies that profit from destruction would cease to exist also. I wish your family well in all your eco-living ways and I’m sure you will inspire your daughter and many others.

    Thank-you for joining the Earth Day Blog Carnival.

    • He was pretty cool. He was really impressed with myself and my friends too when we pretty much all got straight A* in science, which was pretty amazing considering how little actual science teaching he did around all his rants! Ha ha. I wish all teachers were like that; actually inspiring and motivating kids, rather than just sticking blandly to the subject. I remember more of what he taught me than any other teachers in my school life.

      Yeh, not giving money to corporations is as much of a motivation as anything else. My hope one day is to be able to avoid buying from corporations totally, but unfortunately for the minute the weekly supermarket shop is a necessity on a restricted budget with so much pet food to buy too. Maybe one day… but for the minute we’re doing our best and taking baby steps.

  3. What a great story! I had a very similar high school biology teacher who’s information about vaccines (though it seemed hardly paid attention to at the time) inspired majorly the research and decisions I’ve made since becoming a parent. As hard as life can be for teachers at times, I hope they have some idea of what they’ve given us in things like this!

    Our situation is also similar – I love how you say caring isn’t the same as doing – we finally got that push after having our daughter as well and it’s become quite a journey. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • It’s amazing the impact those few really great teachers have on you isn’t it. All the rest fade to grey, but those odd ones really stick with you.

      Thanks for reading. :)

  4. Liberated Family

    Your words and changes are so inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  5. The mentors we have as children can have such an incredible impact, even years down the road! It sounds like you all are taking some excellent steps on the path to conserving and appreciating our resources. If only everyone would decide to to a couple of these things—we all could make a huge difference.

  6. This is a great list of eco-conscious actions, Im already doing a few myself, but you have inspired me to do a few more, such as not buying any more make-up… what do you use instead? For special occasions etc? It always seems to be the science teachers who are rather eccentric doesn’t it? :D

    • To be honest, I haven’t been to any special occasions in a long time. Ha ha. So it’s not a bridge I’ve had to cross. But I’ve never been a big fan of make-up, and rarely wore it before now. My make-up bag is a small pencil case with about ten things in it, most of which are so old they should probably be thrown away. I guess I’ll have to get used to not wearing it anywhere. *shrug*
      Yeh it is always the science teachers. :)

  7. GREAT list! I love reading lists like these, personal snapshots of one family’s efforts at more sustainable homemaking. So inspiring and helpful!

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