June 19, 2012 by Kimberly Beauchamp, ND
Even the coolest tween will be able to find something hip from these tips for going green.
Designate one day per week for vegetarian-only fare. It doesn’t have to be a Monday.
Industrial farming practices are the second largest contributor to greenhouse gases, not to mention their devastating effects on local habitats and the animals that live under these conditions during their lifetime.
Tip: Put your tween in charge of menu planning for veggie day. Do the shopping together (walk to the store if you can) and then let them have at it in the kitchen, if you dare.
Food miles—or how far your food had to travel to make it to your plate—are an important consideration when shopping for groceries. By sourcing your food closer to home, you can reduce the amount of non-renewable resources used to transport your sustenance.
Tip: Have your tween map out your local farmers’ markets. Make a date to explore some of them together. You can even join a CSA (community supported agriculture) and get the whole family in on growing your food.
Want more? Raise your own chickens for farm fresh eggs in your back yard.
This one shouldn’t be hard to convince your tween to do. Organically grown foods are more popular than ever, and with good reason. They are raised without synthetic pesticides and hormones, they’re better for the environment, and they taste great, too!
Tip: Spend your organic dollar on the Dirty Dozen, those fruits and vegetables that are most contaminated with pesticides.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
There’s really no reason to leave the light on when you walk out of a room. Or to leave on the computer, TV, or any other appliance that may be sucking energy uselessly.
Encourage your tween to turn off lights and fans, and shut down their computer when not in use. You can even go one step further and have them unplug their devices when they’re done using them. Energy continues to flow into appliances and other electronics when they’re plugged in, even if they’re not turned on.
Tip: If you’re feeling really generous, offer to give your kids some of the money you save on electricity by having them turn off and unplug their devices!
Make Water Count
Seventeen million barrels of oil are used to make plastic bottles every year, most of which end up in landfills.
With all the cool, reusable water bottles on the market, there’s hardly ever a reason to use disposable ones.
Tip: Don’t get stuck in a pinch without water. Keep your car stocked with fresh, filtered water stored in reusable bottles ready for thirsty kids to guzzle.
More than one million plastic bags are used around the world every minute. Many of these end up in our oceans and other waterways, causing injury to wildlife and contributing to toxin build-up in the environment.
One way you can reduce the amount of plastic coming into your home is to have kids take along reusable snack bags.
Tip: If your tween is handy with a needle and thread, they can fashion their own re-snack bags.
Kids love crafts and tweens are no exception. With a little ingenuity, your children can turn just about any recyclable into treasure.
Tip: Have a separate spot for your more interesting recyclables to be stored until they can be transformed into art.
Make Recycling Easy
Nobody likes to tangle with paper bags that split and spill when stuffed with recyclables.
Getting your tween to recycle can be as simple as investing in a couple of stackable recycling bins. Once the bins are full, it’s easy to pick them up by the carrying handles and empty them into outdoor recycling containers.
Tip: Make sure your tween’s old cell phone makes it to the proper recycling center.