For years scientific experts have been warning us about the need to protect our environment. Some of us have heeded those warnings; others need a reminder. Keep in mind that the most effective form of teaching is example.
Don’t know where to begin? Here are some ideas to jumpstart your family on the road to safeguarding the environment.
Teach your children that water is a valuable resource that must not be wasted. Recycle water whenever possible, i.e. water saved from washing fruits and vegetables can be reused to water plants. Make sure your family has the tap turned off while brushing their teeth. Investigate and install water saving showerheads, dual flush toilet systems and a rainwater tank.
Get your family in the habit of turning off lighting and electrical equipment such as televisions, VCRs/DVDs, Gaming Consoles, Laptops and CD players when not in use. That means fully off. Don’t leave the light on dim or the standby button on the VCR; if you do you are wasting power. Use low voltage bulbs wherever possible. Let nature dry your washing.
Whenever possible, use rechargeable batteries. As above, remind family members to turn off battery-powered items when not in use.
Keep Home Clean:
Have the whole family participate in maintaining a tidy home. A home free from mould, mildew, dust and tobacco smoke will provide a healthy family environment. When cleaning avoid toxic cleansers and solvents, aim for biodegradable. To help combat indoor air pollution, regularly ventilate fresh air into your home and clean air filters to the heating and cooling systems.
Encourage family members to recycle whenever possible. Aside from recycling plastic, glass, cans and paper, and reusing packing material, think of other creative ways to recycle. Some examples are donating magazines to hospitals, schools or retirement communities, and finding out if your local primary school could use your old egg cartons or paper towel tubes.
Ensure that any sprays used are environmentally friendly, i.e. will not affect the ozone layer. Consider roll-on deodorants as an alternative. Dispose of condoms, sanitary napkins, tampons and cotton buds (tips) in a responsible way.
Leftover medications should not be dumped into the rubbish bin or tipped down the sink. Take them to your local pharmacy for responsible disposal.
The Kitchen Sink:
Be mindful of what is tipped down the sink; ultimately it ends up in our waterways. Leftover cooking oil, fat drained from our meat or poultry and even milk should be captured in a container, solidified where possible and disposed of in the garbage.
Establish A Compost Bin:
Teach all family members to recycle garden and household waste by utilizing the compost bin. Grass clippings, tea bags, coffee grounds, vegetable scraps, egg shells and spent flowers, are just some of the appropriate waste that can go into a compost bin. The organic compost you create will naturally improve the health of your garden.
Avoid Using Chemical Pesticides:
Use natural products to treat garden pests and you will be protecting not only your children and pets but the environment as well.
Encourage Mother Nature:
Sow plants that are disease-resistant and plants that repel pests. Also, use plants that encourage birds and useful insects, such as ladybirds (ladybugs) into your garden. Select plants that are naturally at home in the soil and climate in which you live. This will reduce the amount of time and intervention that you will need to successfully integrate plants into your garden.
Consider plants that work well together; this will reduce your need for fertilizer in some cases and in others, insect repellents.
When purchasing outdoor furniture, make sure the wood used is from plantation timbers or recycled PET products. Make your children aware of legal and illegal harvesting of wood.
Plant A Tree:
Tree planting is a lovely way to mark occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and other milestones. Nurture this tradition and you’ll not only be honouring your family, but the environment as well.
If you accept the plastic bags from your grocery store, get in the habit of reusing them. Better still, bring along your own fabric or string bags the next time you shop. Use less: establish a family culture that frowns upon the use of plastic bags.
When shopping, enlighten children to the environmental benefits of products that have less packaging and are contained in recyclable containers.
If you’re in the market for a new appliance, make it a family affair at your appliance store, as you all checkout the energy efficient ratings of the appliance in question.
Teach your children the importance of buying earth-friendly, biodegradable cleaning products.
Shop From Home:
Save petrol (gasoline) and reduce air pollution by shopping from home through online Internet shops and mail order catalogs. A shopping idea the whole family can agree on.
OUT AND ABOUT
Walk or take public transport whenever possible. If you must drive, drive smarter: that is, carpool with others to save petrol and reduce pollution. Combine as many messages as possible into the one trip. Shop from home through online Internet shops and mail order catalogues.
Support Green Businesses:
Businesses that safeguard the earth through ecological means deserve our custom.
A Place for Litter:
Put your litter in a bin: don’t drop it. When it comes to protecting our environment, we all have a job to do. Remember, your future grandchildren are depending on you.